Will it be terribly devestating to take a year off?

I already took a semester off when the baby was born, and the last trimester I was on bed rest so had to drop all but my one online class the semester before.

However, my babysitter just informed me at the begining of this week she is closing her doors and any place I have looked wants at the very least 100 more per week. That’s a ton of money for us as we were struggeling to pay what we were before. It gets worse when I realize that even at that cost, most places do not have before/after school care so I’m still stuck with no one for my school aged children. I have placed ads everywhere, to no avail, and the idea of paying more is causing quite a few arguments in my home especially when considering taking out more student loans to fund it.

I’m feeling stuck against a wall right now, and am facing the cold realization I may just be calling the registrar soon to inform him I won’t be returning this semester (which slows orgo down for a year with the way they cycle here).

If I take this year off to figure out childcare and make more money to fund things will it end up ruining my chances? I’m afraid it’s going to look like I keep stopping and starting and be a mark against me with adcom. I’m also afraid of being out of school that long and how hard it will be to get back in the swing of things, but unless I find something affordable by August 25th, I’m up a creek without a paddle.

Whatever you do, don’t register then drop or withdrawl. Ideally, in a perfect world, you can get things figured out and continue with your classes.

Susan, you need to take a deep breath and recognize that the stars aren’t aligned right now. IMHO you are far better off taking the time off now. Your economic foundation is shaky, in a shaky economy, and from things you wrote during the spring semester it was clear that you were conflicted at times about the dueling roles of student and mother. If I remember right, you struggled, your kids were sick all the time (at least partly due to more time in daycare, I’m sure), and despite your heroic efforts, you weren’t happy with your grades in the end. I honestly feel like your babysitting dilemma could be a gift in disguise because it is forcing you to pause and marshall your resources for the future.

Honestly, I think that you should not worry about whether it looks “flaky” to stop and start. If you struggle to keep going despite the current odds, you are likely to have more “okay but not stellar” grades to explain, and an awful lot of stress. Better to wait until your performance can speak for itself, without explanation!

My perspective on this: I do not regret for one minute the time I was home with my little kids. In fact, I am sorta glad that I didn’t recognize my ambition for medicine until later, because I avoided all the conflict . As much as I love my job as a doctor, if I had to choose between Mom and M.D. —> Mom would win.

So, remember: med school isn’t going anywhere. Take a deep breath and realize that this is just a bump in the road. It’s still stretching out in front of you… it’ll still be there.


Rule 1: Take a breath.

Rule 2: Trust your gut.

Sounds like your gut is telling you there are going to be problems in trying to do this all.


Rule 4: Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Rule 5: Do Not Risk Bad Grades By Taking Too Much

This includes classes, work, and childcare

I have stopped and started since about 2001, but because of this, my GPA is a 3.8 right now. My pre-health advisor told me specifically that I should only take one or two classes when I take the hard ones (OChem, etc.) because it’s much better to go slowly than to make grades that are “meh”. So take the time off, or maybe take one class. I am sure you’ll be fine if your GPA speaks for itself.

I’m going to call my advisor on monday and see if there are any distance classes I can take this semester so I don’t lose my financial aid, but that may still help me toward the MCAT. Perhaps a math or two or a social science (not MCAT related but humanities are always good to have). I’m not sure. I just know it looks impossible at this point from a financial/childcare standpoint.

Also, I know some universities here in the midwest offer a type of child care service. Usually the child care majors with actuall child care professionals are the ones doing the “child care” it may be worth looking into for financial and academic reasons?

  • LC2Doc Said:
I'm going to call my advisor on monday and see if there are any distance classes I can take this semester so I don't lose my financial aid, but that may still help me toward the MCAT. Perhaps a math or two or a social science (not MCAT related but humanities are always good to have). I'm not sure.

The distance learning idea sounds good and I appreciate your concern about losing your financial aid.

  • In reply to:
I just know it looks impossible at this point from a financial/childcare standpoint.

Susan, I've added the emphasis to your comment because you sound like you are feeling that if you can't force everything to line up now, you might as well give up. I don't see it that way at all, but I do think that THIS moment in time doesn't sound like it will work for you. You've got to get to where you feel better about your family's financial security; that will make everything seem more do-able.

Are you familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Remember that security is a basic need and if that is not met, it will be difficult to achieve much else. I hope your advisor can help you figure out what is available to you now, while helping you feel more secure.


Mary you’re right and although my “at this point” only referred to this semester, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having those fears that they would never line up. But those are my personal demons I tredge through and work to overcome as they rear their ugly heads.

I never realized how difficult it was lining up childcare, and how unaffordable it is. Yet it’s not unreasonable to expect what is being charged around here. Why should someone watch my children for less than minimum wage? Yet, that’s all I make sooooo…yeah.

I think I have this fear right now things won’t happen until the kids are all in school full time. Which does not make me happy, but I can’t focus on that. For now I have to take it one semester at a time. Perhaps I can take a night course when the husband comes home. I’m not sure. I just know that orgo and genetics are only offered at one time and if you don’t take it at that time you don’t take it until the following year. Product of small colleges I suppose. I have to wait until Monday to talk to my advisor, and I’m very poor with waiting. LOL

You are right regarding Maslow. I’ve pushed that hierarchy with many friends in the past, and somehow I’ve totally forgotten to apply it to myself.

There’s not much I can do today. So I’ll just breathe and see what I can come up with tomorrow. Perhaps if I strengthen my math skills this semester and next, I can tackle both physics and orgo at the same time. Or maybe I’m waiting a year to apply. I’m not sure. I spent way too much time this past week trying to solve my childcare dilema and it’s simply not solvable for the moment.

Well, here’s to figuring things out. Wish me luck. I very much appreciate your thoughts Mary. Thank you.



I think that you can look at this year as an opportunity to reset and put yourself in a better position financially. See what you can take via distance learning, enjoy the bonus time with your children and start next fall with a fresh perspective and less stressed. Truly, in the grand scheme of things, 1 year is a very short amount of time. Does it make a difference if you graduate from med school at 42 or 43? Not really! But you babies will only be little for a short time. (I’ll most likely be taking next year off because we will be moving to Crete, Greece for 1 year.) My initial thought was “oh God, I can’t stop now…” the next thought was “What is a year?” Not much when I realize I get an uninterrupted year with my 2 kids, and I’ll be less likely to feel guilt over missing their little years. I wish you the best of luck in settling things and I’m quite sure you will be much less stressed and better focused next fall and REALLY ready to tackle Orgo like a champ! Remember “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swiiiming, swiimming,” (Dori on finding Nemo)

Trying to complete premed/medical school with young kids is an incredibly difficult thing to balance with or withour finincial conerns, IMHO. So give yourself some credit for even wanting to achieve what is pretty difficult for most.

With each passing day, it’s becoming clear to me that waiting until my kid gets close to or even finishes high school may be the best option for me, so don’t feel bad if you have to delay your goals by a few years.

And not to diss another site, but the premed/med student site popular amomg Moms presents IMHO, a VERY unrealistic view of what most working Moms face because many of them don’t have the money concern most folks have.

So to answer your question, it may be devastating for you to take a year off but I seriously doubt you’ll ever regret it. Take your time!!!

  • LC2Doc Said:
I'm also afraid of being out of school that long and how hard it will be to get back in the swing of things...

^^^ This perhaps does not need to be.

Just throwing ideas out here. Maybe you could set aside a couple hours each day to conduct self-study and stay connected, even if not in an official program. Self-study can keep you engaged -- if you motivate yourself. And undoubtedly it'll help you ahead when you return to a formal academic program. And since giving advice is so easy, I'll say -- never give up. Good luck.

Susan - I’m sorry I missed this post and your previous one about finances while I was on vacation. Sounds like a rough time you are going through.

I just wanted to toss a few comments out there. . .

Take the year off. Definitely. Step back and look at your situation and what you are trying to accomplish with med school. If your own family is suffering by pursuing this dream, is it still what you want? I feel like you and your husband might need to step ‘outside the box’ for a while and figure out what the heck you are doing. You are two college-educated people with two kids, and you are living at the poverty level? I know you say your degree is useless, but there have to be some ways you can creatively make some money. Could you monetize a blog about lacatation and other new mom issues? I’m not sure what your husband does, but my husband supported me through college with a high school education and no training. He drove a lumber truck P/T and operated a dye-cutting machine F/T. I didn’t work at all, and we paid for daycare. I’m not trying to be condescending, but I think you are stuck with tunnel vision on med school and really need to consider some options to get yourselves back on your feet first. It is admirable that you are trying to do this, particularly considering that you’re willing to work at McDonalds to make it happen, but I feel like you might be sticking with a bad plan arbitrarily. My husband and I once owned a business that we either needed to dump MORE money into (after ~$150,000) or sell. We sold after 2.5 yrs of ownership. Sometimes you are throwing good money after bad. It’s okay to let go. Maybe med school will be a better choice for you in 1 or 2 years, but you shouldn’t feel like it’s your only choice and that you have failed in any way if it doesn’t happen right now. Right now, focus on the finances, because wherever those are lacking, bad luck, bad health, and bad decisions seem to magically appear : )

Whatever you do, I wish you luck.

O.k. here are my options regarding this semester.

Taking the entire semester off I’ll admit is rather daunting just because my loans come out of deferment. However, that is worst case scenareo I suppose. And although I need genetics for some of the classes offered next spring, I could take physio, and micro and a few others that semester, then delve into orgo and/or physics the following year.

I called my advisor (who also teaches my genetics class) and he said he would not consider independent study (I offered to find a way to come in for labs). No health sciences are offered at night. There are no distance classes. I asked about any classes that may help prep for the MCAT or boost my portfolio so I could retain my financial aid and he didn’t know of anything. However, in talking we did discover a statistics class (if it is still open of course) which, although not necessary, I’ve seen a few Osteo schools had in their lists of preferred extras you take. He also offered the option of doing an internship if I could find a doctor to allow me to intern with them. It would be 3 hours in the office for each credit hour I took and I would need to take a minimum of 3 credits.

This still puts me in a quandry regarding childcare in that I would need to rework my work schedule, but it may be a little more doable? I’m not sure. I’m putting it out to the wise ones here, if you think attempting the internship/stats (or even a 6 credit internship at 18 hours per week) would be doable.

I also was thinking last night and realized that the woman who filled in for my dcp when she had to escort her own children somewhere or she had too many children and the state mandates she needs an extra adult present, is probably out of a job with her closing her doors. I’m tempted to track her down today to find out how much money she made weekly with her to see if I can match that.

That would be my ideal I believe, but at least there are options now right? What are your thoughts on this? I know this is deeply personal information, I probably should leave off the internet, but you guys are probably the few who understand the balancing act I’m enduring.

Have you looked into state or federal grants or subsidies for childcare? I know they’re out there, and I think you can qualify if you’re a student.

Good luck and hang in there!

Tyche, I did look into them. There is a 6-9 month waiting list due to funding here. I’m working my way up job wise slowly though, so I may make just a wee bit too much money by the time that comes around lol. We shall see. That would be a good problem to have though.

Craziest thing happened today, though. My DCP called and said she had a few students leave and if I was still looking she has openings. Then just a few hours later another woman calls saying she saw my ad looking for childcare (where I listed exactly what I could afford to pay so there would be no negotiating) and stated she was interested as well. I’m going to interview her I suppose and see what comes of it. I have been stressing over this for weeks now and a week before classes start things start looking like they will work out now that I’ve gone and made a blubbering fool of myself on the internet. Let’s just hope I didn’t make myself look like a flakey student to my advisor.

Perhaps I should thank my friend who insisted she was praying to St. Jude because he was the saint of the impossible? I don’t know. I never kept up with the saints lol.

I’m glad things are starting to look up! I’ll keep my fingers crossed and also add a few prayers to St. Jude of my own for you.

Interestingly, St. Jude is also the patron saint of hospitals.

Hmmm, I’m not religious, but this Jude fellow seems rather up my alley.

Just an idea of steps you can take to prepare for med school if you are forced to take a semester or two out of school. For concerns about your student loan falling out of diferment, you might check into forebearance/ hardship policy to postpone payments for the time that you are not at school. Also, i donot know how far you are with your prerequisite, but you may check the public libray for the series of tape ’ The Deviant world of Science’. I believe there is a series on organic chemistry, biology, general chemistry. You might also find some on college algebra and trigonometry. These tapes are good prep for the premed classes. Maybe you can even squeeze in a few hours of volunteer experience, therfore when you start classes again, this part of the process will already be completed. Sometimes when there is diruption in our plan, we need to find activities to keep us focus on the goal. I truely understand how you must be feeling at this point. I found myself in a similar situation, when i relocated to a new state last year. I was forced to postpone enrolment for one year to wait for in state resident status for tuition purpose.


You don’t have to comment, but out of pure curiousity, was your husband not a minister?

On topic- Do what you feel is best, college will probably still be there…I wish you nothing but the best. But like one poster mentioned, stay in focus if your not taking classes…