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34 y/o and thinking about med school a lot, BUT...

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by serverl35s, Sep 13, 2017 at 9:01 AM.

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  1. serverl35s


    Hi, everyone. I'm new here, and I wish to get some insight.

    I'm now on my 5th year of my second career as a tech professional. Before this, I worked a customer service desk job for numerous years after college. Tech has been great to me -- I currently work for one of the biggest tech companies in the world, earning a solid six-figure salary with a lot of room to grow. It used to excite me because of the financial benefits, but I've been feeling depressed lately, realizing that I really don't care that much about the problems I'm supposed to solve here, and I don't do anything important for the world. I'm not making an impact.

    I've always thought about doing big things, like pursuing an MD in order to make a huge impact on other people. I've always found excuses not to do it, though -- primarily around finances, student loans, life stuff. I am married, no children. My husband makes a lot more than I do, which I think is great, but there's still that feeling that I'm going to take away a huge chunk of our household income if I decide to quit and go back to school. Also, I'm 34. I feel like I'm way too old to change careers yet again.

    Studies-wise, I have a BA in sociology, 3.6 cumulative GPA. I do understand I am going to need at least a year to get all pre-reqs done if I go at it full-time. Then I have to prep for the MCAT, spend at least 4 years in med school, and so on and so forth.

    If you started med school in your 30s -- I admire you! But how did it feel? Were you working? Did it suck? Was it awesome? Scary? How did you make it work? What were your biggest challenges? Tell me everything!
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  3. Shinken

    Shinken Family Medicine 10+ Year Member

    Jul 1, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Thank you.

    Too broad a question.

    Both my wife and I had to quit our jobs so I could go to med school. My wife tried to work while I was in med school, but all the money she made went to day care, so we decided it would make more sense for her to stay home and care for our kids instead. You won't have this issue, obviously.

    At times. Since it was my idea to go to med school, I was the one that tried to make the most sacrifices in terms of time and sleep.



    My wife is too good for me. She's a real Wonder Woman (but without the demeaning outfit). Lots of sacrifice in terms of time and money.

    The sudden, drastic change in lifestyle, particularly with children. At least there was light at the end of the tunnel, which helped us tough it out. It's easy living like a poor family knowing that it will only last four years.
    serverl35s likes this.
  4. Ad2b

    Ad2b 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2014
    I'm 53. Former Partner Big 4, Accenture was my client going public and also for SOX attest. :eek: Take that for whatever it's worth (not much cuz it was free!)

    It's almost a full 2 years for pre-reqs unless you have already completed some of them (gen chem, biology, organic chem, biochem, physics) + MCAT prep. That last dirty dog is really dirty; never underestimate anything with a CAT in it!
    serverl35s likes this.
  5. vm26

    vm26 Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2002
    West coast
    I started at age 30 and it was a bit rough. Quantity of information and pacing is intense and a shock to the system. Really thought about quitting 1st couple weeks in. Things got a little bit easier but I overall I still found it fairly intense and time/energy consuming particularly 1st two years and studying for Step 1. (Disclaimer: I was about average in terms of intelligence and test taking ability for my class. Knowing that I wanted to get into a competitive specialty I really pushed hard to do well so this likely contributed to my experience and perception). Quality of living situation and social life (dating, friends, and family) both took a major hit. Numerous times I couldn't go out late for someone's B-day celebration or had to study over the weekend and miss out on beautiful autumn/spring days. On the upside, obviously learned a lot, persevered through some major challenges, and developed some close relationships with classmates and co-residents. I will skip my experience with training. Now as an attending I am enjoying my career and feel like I have a great work/life balance (but had to move around the country to get this). So overall there are pro's/cons (some listed below) that I think one should consider.

    1. Life-long learning with potential of obtaining a career that is particularly fulfilling for you (emotionally, intellectually, financially, and from a stress perspective).
    2. Job stability to a certain degree.
    3. Potential to meet many interesting people from all walks of life (classmates, professors, co-residents, patients, support staff etc)

    1. Tremendous investment in terms of time and effort (blood, sweat, and tears) which may negatively affect your personal relationships to various degrees. You will be giving up a piece of yourself.
    2. Financial investment (cost of attendance and lost income). This may or may not be a sound long-term investment depending on your specific circumstances and on the future of healthcare.
    3. Uncertain future of healthcare, particularly how it affects working as a physician. It is difficult to predict how things will be 10 years from now.
  6. murfettie

    murfettie 7+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
    I think whether you have children is a huge factor. If you are single and in your 30s, it's pretty much fine. Once you throw kids into the mix - it get pretty dicey.
    serverl35s and Ad2b like this.
  7. AnotherLawyer

    AnotherLawyer Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2014
    Depending on your spouse and finances, children can hugely complicate things or not make much of a difference at all. For example, if you're a dual wage earning family who has the kids in day care/school and you can comfortably live on one spouse's income, then the second spouse going to med school isn't going to be complicated by kids. On the other hand, if you're the only earner and your spouse home schools, then you better be independently wealthy or good at stretching your student loan dollars.

    This is all to say that kids are just one more piece of the puzzle and everyone's circumstances are different.
    serverl35s and Ad2b like this.
  8. futuremdforme

    futuremdforme 2+ Year Member

    May 12, 2013
    Your husband earns a good income now, but will he be able to if you get into med school away from where you live?

    The fact that this would be your 3rd career is a red flag to me, in that perhaps you are not realistic in what you can get out work. In the end, medicine is a job and you may feel disillusioned with it too. Is there any way you can explore new opportunities within your existing career, or lateral moves to an area that is more fulfilling? (work at a startup aiming for social justice, etc)?
  9. Blanky


    Mar 12, 2017
    I think it may be wise to do some shadowing and try to remember it is a job and not like what people see on TV. Make sure you really want to do it and then start the pre-reqs.
    serverl35s likes this.
  10. serverl35s


    The first career I had after college really wasn't much of a career at all. It was an office job I took because I needed a job, and I ended up overstaying. I can definitely explore other options in my current career, but I can't help but look elsewhere as well.

    My husband is also in tech, and he will be fine salary-wise anywhere he goes, for the most part.
  11. serverl35s


    Great idea. Thanks.
  12. serverl35s


    Thanks for this. What made you actually do it? Was it something you always wanted to do? How did you deal with the finances?
  13. serverl35s


    Thanks for your input. I'm glad you found a Wonder Woman! I have a very supportive spouse myself, but I do need to think this through.
  14. vm26

    vm26 Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2002
    West coast
    Had been working as a PT for a few years and while I enjoyed the work, it became somewhat mundane and I couldn't see myself doing this type of work into my 60's. Also I wanted to increase my income potential. Finally I think there is a tendency to want to maximize one's potential. In healthcare this is becoming a physician. I did not have any student loans before med school. I took out about 170K in subsidized loans at around 3.1% to cover my state med school. I was single and did not have any children at that time.

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