I've been lurking on this site for awhile now - seeking advice for my situation, but I'm at the point where I really need to reach out.
I will be 30 in Oct & I am a high school science teacher. I've been married to an amazing, supportive husband for 5 yrs & we have an 8mo old son. I've always wanted to go to med school; & that was the plan, but I fell in love with teaching. There has always been the "regret" of not pursuing the dream, so I recently looked into a post-Bacc (since undergrad GPA wasn't ideal). I was reassured that I was an excellent candidate for the program, but I ran into the following concerns:
- I would have to move to another city; causing my husband to commute 1.5 to & from work everyday (he said he would do it, but I'd feel really guilty)
- Daycare for the baby is a huge concern; we don't have family to support us, so based on looking at the posts maybe a nanny is the answer
- I'd like to have another child in the next 2 yrs, to keep the age difference manageable. This would mean I would be pregnant during the post-Bacc program.
It seems like most people have supportive families to help raise children when both parents work & have demanding jobs. A lot of doctors on this site, when asked would they go through all of the sacrifices again, reply with adamant No's. I'd like to work in Pediatrics, or EM. I'm not worried about the debt, it's the time away from my child/future children that worries me.
I also have a friend in another Prof doctorate program who told me I was crazy for even hesitating to apply to the post-Bacc, since they practically recruited me. I also neglected to mention the program has a direct linkage with the med school.
I know I'm all over the place, & I haven't really articulated my actual questions. I'm comfortable teaching, living in my current city, going to my church, & sending my son to an amazing daycare. With support of my husband, but no one else - is it worth uprooting my family & our current lifestyle to sacrifice for my dream?
Well the thing is, if you don't go to med school, it will probably be in the back of your head forever. It's good that you already have a child and are not worried about having to work that into med school, which is the subject of many fights for me and my husband.
For me the first year of med school was pure hell, I was miserable. Anatomy, neuro, physiology, my brain doesn't work like that. Second year, was great even though there is pressure to study. In second year, you will learn what you need to know for being a doctor and what is on the boards, with Pharm, Micro, Path. During my first and second years, I forgot why on earth I wanted to be a doctor. Now nearing the end of third year, I know why again. It's not all glamour of course, but I am happy. Most months I really enjoy it, (excluding general surgery) even though I went through hell to get here. I still want a baby and can't have one until I start bringing in some income. I think of that less now and am proud of myself more. I also uprooted myself and my husband for med school. I miss my family! All in all, it's worth it. But it is hard (for the first year only for me, second year, I studied more in college than second year of med school) and you really can't know until you've been there. It definitely changes you. For example, my whole life I loved to read but now I hate reading or anything that requires an attention span. Just some advice for someone who has been there..
Hmmm, honestly, I don't know. I guess, from reading your post, I wonder if it is worth it. I am a few years older than you, and I will be attending med school this summer, so I understand some of your concerns, but then I am single with no kids. I guess, the best way to think about it is what will your life really be like when you are practicing medicine and how will that affect your family? Will that lifestyle be better or worse to your current one?
Are there any 4-year universities nearby where you can take courses? I did not do a formal post-bacc, but I did take courses at a local university and they all counted as post-bacc courses.
In my situation, I always thought I'd be married with at least one child by now. I decided that although I may sacrifice my chance to have a family, I'm willing to go this path because it's not happening right now anyway . Who knows, maybe I'll meet someone in school.
However, I'm not sure how my choice would have been affected if I already had a family.
Thanks so much for your responses. I can't ever know or imagine what my lifestyle will be like once I'm in, but I do know the type of commitment my husband is ready to provide for our family. With so many people saying, it's not worth it: compensation, debt, time away from family, etc... I still can't help but acknowledge the volumes of people who admit "I've always had this dream," or "a feeling of what if" - and this is coming from people who have tried to walk away from the field by choosing something less demanding (based on time-commitment) like nursing, PA, pharm, counseling, social work, etc.
Is being a doctor truly a "calling"? Teachers have a bad rep as far as I'm concerned in that we are not respected because people think anyone can be a teacher. I teach high school biology in the inner city of a rough urban neighborhood. I believe I was called to be here, and I have been given a gift as an excellent educator. I train other teachers, give presentation to grad students in education, and serve as head of several key committees at school... but I do believe my time is up. I've served the community, and I feel like it's time to live for me.
Do other doctors feel "obligated," and like it is truly a calling - or is that a bunch of crap once you're knee deep in paperwork? I'm not naive in thinking that I will love all parts of practicing medicine; I've had other jobs before to know that I don't love all parts at all times (especially teaching) - but what keeps you doctors hanging in there at the end of the day? I feel like I'm settling by being a teacher. As I stated before, I am comfortable: decent lifestyle, okay salary, vacations with my husband and son...I'm not sure I can give all of that up just yet.
For those of you who were indecisive about starting medical school, residency, etc. and balancing a family: WHAT 'A-HA' MOMENT TURNED IT AROUND FOR YOU? WHAT EXPERIENCE (shadowing, talking to a mentor, etc.) GAVE YOU THE CONFIDENCE TO SAY, "I CAN DO THIS"?
Thanks again. I think I just need a mentor.. someone to talk to - who will keep it 100% real. I've spoken to so many female physicians who are either bitter and angry about their decisions, or too clueless to recognize that they were on the verge of losing it! lol. Feel free to PM me, or reply to the thread.. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there looking for an answer
I spent time shadowing, working in a research lab, and working as a dental assistant. I had considered doing PA but decided I couldn't stand the limitations. I want to be able to run my own practice or work under someone as my life accommodates it. Or maybe I want to do research and clinical practice combined. PAs have a lot of flexibility with their jobs, but I have the personality that wants to obsessively dig at a subject until I know all there is to know about it.
Another thing to consider is that medical schools also need good educators! Perhaps with an MD and your teaching experience you'd be a good candidate to stay at a teaching hospital.
Definitely shadow, though. Find a few specialties to follow, and see how your ideas line up with the actual job. I can tell you that I was 100% convinced I'd do family practice until I did some shadowing. Some of these jobs are just not what they seem from the outside. I have required clinic time as a first-year medical student, and it is remarkable how different a day can be in different clinics.
I would say it's important to know what do you want out of your life. If being a physician will make you happy then you should strive to become one. This is what I thought---If I am not happy /contented doing what I am doing for the rest of my life, if it's a compromise then it will also affect what I can give to my kids and spouse. Its a give and take, your kids might get lesser time when you start the journey and yes it is going to be very tough on your spouse too but then who knows in the future when you are done your kids might actually gain from your experiences knowledge/see you as a model and be happier because their mom is happy, doing what she wanted to!
This is how I finally realized I wanted to be one. I thought to myself becoming a Dr. or not becoming one is a different question. First I will just focus towards getting prereq's and then see how I score in MCAT and finally apply to Med schools , if everything looks OK.Once I get acceptance I will decide at that point --Can I let it go because of everything else going in my life or just the thought of letting it go tears me apart? Only when you come so near to something you know whether you really want it or not!
So I started this journey with this thought but mid way in this journey when I scored my first/only B in the prerequisites and drove home crying, I knew I wanted it BAD!