What to do? What to do?

Hi, everyone. I lurk here often, post occasionally. I have been seriously considering pre-med since my return to school a year ago. I’m now 34 and a single mom and determined as all heck. I have a 3.95 gpa. Just finished this semester with an A in Physiology and an A in a nursing class. I’m technically a nursing major (I don’t have a Bachelor’s yet). I thought my dream of medicine had to be let go. That is, of course, until I started researching it and then found this website.

Now, I know it’s possible. I’m a working single mom and it’s tough and will only get tougher, but I know I will regret it if I don’t just try. I’m like most of here, too, fiercely driven. I have an impossible time getting anything out of my head once I have decided to do it. There’s the kicker. Can’t just leave well enough alone, can I?

So, now I’m pondering switching to a Bio major. I think I’m half crazy for even thinking of doing this. If only I had more focus in my 20’s and actually got my Bachelor’s in SOMETHING I could just focus on the premed prerequisites, but no. Oh well. So is life. I’ve dealt with worse.

I have made up my mind to focus on the premed classes; swapping higher level chem for the “nursing” chem, for example. However, I am at a crossroads. I have gen chem scheduled in Fall, and also a Bio class (I have anatomy and physiology done for nursing-8 credits w/ lab total, but I need the “premed” Bio now and of course, if I switch to a BIO major), but damn if I can figure out a way to still work. The classes are spaced out just so that I cannot cram 30 hours of work into the week with the times the office is open and when my daughter is in daycare. 30hrs is the min. I can work to get my benefits that I still want. I think realistically it would be best of me to work no more than 25 hours taking these two courses, but I don’t if I can convince work to allow it, and I don’t know if I’m ready to sacrifice the $, insurance(my daughter can get on my ex’s insurance if need be, though), 401k and vacay time I’ve earned.

Clearly, I’m bored at work and OBSESSED with this premed thing. My grades are there, my confidence, too. Now, how to make it all work?

As for a major? My heart is not in nursing; never was and never will be. Why take a seat in nursing school from someone who really wants to be there? I just feel like I’d be living a lie, majoring in nursing yet obviously taking premed classes. It could actually hurt me on both sides of the coin. However, I must be realistic, too. I can do spectacularly and still not get in to med school (gasp!) or decide I no longer want to (VERY Doubtful!) or circumstances may really change, then what? I need a “fall back” plan. I don’t think nursing is a fall back plan both because it is insulting to the nursing profession and because I don’t want to work the rest of my life in a setting where I have to work with doctors and not be one! I couldn’t personally take that It’s really just a personal thing. Nursing is a noble profession; it’s just not for me.I think I’d be A-Ok in some Biology endeavor (but what, I don’t know!)and I still will long for med school, but am I positively crazy to switch to a BIO major at 34!??!! I have a major uphill battle if I do, but potentially more opportunities to do what I want and perhaps more satisfaction, not to mention maybe a better chance at med school if I keep up the grades and do well on the MCAT.

Now, the next step is even harder, because I think I may have made up my mind in my heart, if you will. How do I live, work, go to school, be a mom, follow my dream? I think everyone here has asked the same kinds of questions many times, semester after semester. I have been doing it thus far, but now classes are requiring more of my time on campus and it’s harder to schedule with work. I have some financial aid and I’m trying for any schloarships I can find time for that I qualify for, but I feel stuck and almost a little depressed and daunted by it all. I just want someone to tell me exactly what to do and if only I had a crystal ball!

I am using this platform to purge these feelings so thanks for anyone who put up with this spewing and, of course, any thoughts or advice are welcome! Thanks for “listening” at any rate!

I am also now seriously considering pooling some $ together for a ticket to Vegas for the conference. I’d probably have to fly in Friday and out on a Saturday red eye, but it may just be worth a few hundred bucks to do so!

Shannon in Wisconsin

Hi Shannon, welcome. You are at a good place. You have made up your mind to attend medical school, and you have a great GPA thus far. You are not alone; many members here are juggling school, work and parenthood. Some are single parent as well. Concerning insurance coverage, you might be able to purchase private coverage.

Many 4 year schools also offer lower cost insurance packages, definitely something to consider to cover yourself since you can put your daughter on your ex’s. You might also find that basic catastrophic insurance with a large deductible through a major provider is a lot cheaper than you might believe it would be.

First step I think would be a serious sit-down with your boss/HR to determine what the feasibility is. I’m loathe to suggest single classes, you’ll be in school forever! Personally, I’m lucky enough to have an insanely flexible schedule (I essentially set it myself) so I can manage 14 CR HR plus a job, as long as I don’t mind giving up sleep I know not everyone has that chance, but I know I’d personally go insane only doing one or two classes a semester.

As for switching to a BIO major at 34…pretty sure that puts you in the lower age range on these boards, so don’t expect anything but encouragement from us on that one!

Thanks for all the encouragement! The insurance is actually the least of my worries. I pay about $50 a week for a plan with an $11,000 deductible so I’m no giving up that much there. My daughter can go on the ex’s insurance and if my income drops, she can probably get secondary coverage with state Medicaid. I may actually be eligible for that, too, if income drops. Otherwise, I have looked into other options and am not super concerned there.

Having to rely on loans scares me. I wanted to save that for med school, but I may have to do what I have to do now. As a single mom (with loads of non financial support from family, ex, etc.) I understand sometimes the world is not designed for me and I may have to make more sacrifices than others. The married nursing students I have known in classes are wonderful people, but drive me nuts for what they are able to do. Truthfully, I’m envious. They drop off the kids in the a.m. and then spend all day at school themselves. I hope they know how lucky they are! I am up at the crack of dawn, drop off my girl at daycare, go to work, leave for class (spend more time driving there sometimes than in lecture!), rush back to work, pick up my girl, do our thing, then study or what not after she goes to bed. I’m doing it and it doing it well. That is a big reason I’m so motivated to get this premed thing going already.

NightGod, I think you are right. I think it is time to have a sit down with the boss. Work has been so flexible with me thus far and I am so grateful for that. I think they see how I’m managing this all and doing really well in school that they may sense this is coming. My job can be demanding, too, and I think that my coworkers and boss are in denial about my eventually leaving. Sometimes I think they take advantage of the fact that I don’t have a second financial source in the form of a husband so they know they can milk me to a point. They know I’m planning a career in another area altogether, but they likely figure it will take me many more years, one class at a time. That is driving me crazy, though. Two classes a semester makes the journey seem that much longer. I can do Bio and Chem only in Fall and be satisfied with that though I’ll be anxious to take on more.

Thanks again for the thoughts and encouragement. Looks like come December, when I turn 35, I’ll be on the Bio major path for sure.

I know my path, my mind is made up, now it all just needs to fall into place!

Hello there and welcome to OPM. The first thing you need to hear is our mantra: “this is a marathon and not a sprint” With that in mind, there is no reason to rush anything.

If you can go to school only part time to ensure that you not only take the classes that you need and be able to support your family, but that you do well in those classes and give them the time that they deserve. Judging from your post, there is no reason to think that this would be an issue for you.

The best advice I can give you is to sit down and plan things out. Even if it with your ex to help with your child’s expenses, insurance, etc.

Look into any information you can about scholarships for working mothers. What a lot of OPMs fail to realize is that there are scholarships and grants and no interest loans out there if you look for them. Most of the time, there is no age restriction. You just need to play with keywords when doing a search and do your due diligence when looking into the scholarship/grant.

And even if you think there is a slim chance that you will even be awarded it, apply anyway. What is the worse that can happen? Nothing. Then you are no better off than you were before. But be careful about scams. THERE IS NO REASON THAT YOU NEED TO PAY TO GET A LIST OF SCHOLARSHIPS OR TO APPLY TO THEM.

Good luck and hopefully we can see you at the conference.