Is it possible to become a surgeon after military service?

Lion&theLamb55

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Aug 28, 2015
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    I'm sure this question has been posted before but I have a few questions to go along with this that I'd like directly answered. I've wanted to go to medical school since I was in 7th grade to become a surgeon. Unfortunately, I didn't really have the support system to back my dream (my parents told me to "do what I'm good at" aka become an artist) and I didn't have the grades. I joined the Marine Corps and settled on my second dream which was to be an aviation mechanic. I loved it, but I still have this part of me that wants to be a surgeon. My family has told me that it would be impossible for me to become a surgeon now because of the 4 years I spent on active duty with no schooling during that time (aside from my MOS), not to mention that it would be counterproductive since I decided not to reenlist because I had a kid and I didn't want to put him through my being deployed. Ultimately, I am stuck between nursing and becoming a surgeon because of my family convincing me that the amount of time I would be required to put in to become a surgeon would basically make me nonexistent in his life, and impossible for me to have any more kids. So my questions summed up would be:
    Is it even possible for me to become a surgeon with my educational history?
    Is it possible given military service and lack of college education prior?
    Would nursing be a better option for someone who is currently starting a family?
     
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    deleted480308

      1. yes, you can do it if you just start getting great grades and trudge on through it.....don't rush so fast that your grades suffer. You need A's.
      2. military service is a plus, lack of prior education isn't a disqualifyer.....just a delay-er
      3. depends on what you want in life.....if your major consideration is time with family (as a father in med school myself) I would tell you to go nursing/PA. Med school was harder than I thought it would be. If you start to weigh financial independence for a spouse later on in life with time for kids, then medicine starts to make a little more sense. I just know my personality and I wouldn't want to be anything but the best trained in the room which left me choosing medicine.

      age?
       
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      Marine2MD

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        1. Definitely able to do it. I started my Marine Corps career with a GPA that wasn't above a 1.0 (didn't withdraw from my 7 courses before I left to bootcamp). Just show that huge upward trend and how those 4 years changed you ambition and drive for medical school. Get all As.
        2. Military service can be a plus, it gave you life experience. You can still get your education.
        3. This depends on you and your family. I got a great support system, wife and kids are all about me pursuing my dream and only gave me a little grief about getting out when I was close to retirement (mainly about having more kids and having to put that on hold for at least a few years).

        My mentor is a former 03XX grunt, spent 8 years in before he got out, went to get his biochem degree, med school, and is now a practicing surgeon. Definitely possible, question is whether you have the drive and are willing to work for it.
         
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        QofQuimica

        Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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          It is certainly possible for you to become a surgeon, either in or out of the military. The time you spent out of school is irrelevant as long as you have completed the necessary prereqs and you can achieve a good academic record (including MCAT score) prior to applying. You will need a college degree, and you can major in anything you like. You will also need to spend some time getting clinical experience, either through work, shadowing, or volunteering. Most applicants do some combo of the three.

          Whether medicine is the right choice for you and your family is another question entirely. As others have already noted, your support system is crucial. You didn't mention your spouse; are you a single parent? If so, I would caution you to really think twice about medical school (and then think about it a third time). It's hard enough doing this even under the best of circumstances; to try to do it as a single parent of a young child with no spousal or family support would set you up for a significant chance of failure. If you are married, then you and your spouse (and your son, if he's old enough to understand) need to have an honest, heart-to-heart discussion about what it will take for you to achieve your dream of being a surgeon, and come to an agreement regarding whether all of you are ready and willing to accept the necessary sacrifices. If your spouse is not on board, again, I would caution you to think twice. The stress of medical training can and does break some families apart even when both spouses agreed to go forward beforehand.
           
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          Lion&theLamb55

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          Aug 28, 2015
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            1. yes, you can do it if you just start getting great grades and trudge on through it.....don't rush so fast that your grades suffer. You need A's.
            2. military service is a plus, lack of prior education isn't a disqualifyer.....just a delay-er
            3. depends on what you want in life.....if your major consideration is time with family (as a father in med school myself) I would tell you to go nursing/PA. Med school was harder than I thought it would be. If you start to weigh financial independence for a spouse later on in life with time for kids, then medicine starts to make a little more sense. I just know my personality and I wouldn't want to be anything but the best trained in the room which left me choosing medicine.

            age?
            I'll be 23 in October. Family is a big thing for me and my family has convinced me that I should choose a different profession all together but my heart is pretty set. I had already planned on medical school once I completed my contract. Before my son, my families negativity never bothered me. Now that I've had my son and want to have more kids my worry would be the amount of study time/school work.
            Thank you. It's nice to finally hear something positive.
             

            Lion&theLamb55

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            Aug 28, 2015
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              It is certainly possible for you to become a surgeon, either in or out of the military. The time you spent out of school is irrelevant as long as you have completed the necessary prereqs and you can achieve a good academic record (including MCAT score) prior to applying. You will need a college degree, and you can major in anything you like. You will also need to spend some time getting clinical experience, either through work, shadowing, or volunteering. Most applicants do some combo of the three.

              Whether medicine is the right choice for you and your family is another question entirely. As others have already noted, your support system is crucial. You didn't mention your spouse; are you a single parent? If so, I would caution you to really think twice about medical school (and then think about it a third time). It's hard enough doing this even under the best of circumstances; to try to do it as a single parent of a young child with no spousal or family support would set you up for a significant chance of failure. If you are married, then you and your spouse (and your son, if he's old enough to understand) need to have an honest, heart-to-heart discussion about what it will take for you to achieve your dream of being a surgeon, and come to an agreement regarding whether all of you are ready and willing to accept the necessary sacrifices. If your spouse is not on board, again, I would caution you to think twice. The stress of medical training can and does break some families apart even when both spouses agreed to go forward beforehand.
              I am currently engaged. He has told me to do what I think will make me happiest. My parents are skeptical but I know if I decide to do it, even if they don't necessarily agree with my decision, they will be supportive in the end. My support system is not very large to say the least but I do have one.
               

              QofQuimica

              Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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                I am currently engaged. He has told me to do what I think will make me happiest. My parents are skeptical but I know if I decide to do it, even if they don't necessarily agree with my decision, they will be supportive in the end. My support system is not very large to say the least but I do have one.
                You are young and have plenty of time to make this decision. I would advise the two of you to take things slow. Getting married is a big change in your lives; give yourselves (including your son) some time to adjust to becoming a family before you go embarking on the next major life-changing event. It will take you some years to prepare for a possible med school application anyway. Along with taking classes, start by getting some clinical experience, and try to talk to as many surgeons as possible. Pay attention to how they balance their lives, particularly the women. It is not an easy path to take, and you will need to be ok with the idea that you will not be the primary caretaker of your son during many parts of your training, particularly while you're a resident. If you decide that the life of a surgeon is not compatible with how you want your family life to be, that doesn't mean you can't still go to medical school. There are other specialties that are much more family friendly than surgery is.
                 
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                deleted480308

                  You are young and have plenty of time to make this decision. I would advise the two of you to take things slow. Getting married is a big change in your lives; give yourselves (including your son) some time to adjust to becoming a family before you go embarking on the next major life-changing event. It will take you some years to prepare for a possible med school application anyway. Along with taking classes, start by getting some clinical experience, and try to talk to as many surgeons as possible. Pay attention to how they balance their lives, particularly the women. It is not an easy path to take, and you will need to be ok with the idea that you will not be the primary caretaker of your son during many parts of your training, particularly while you're a resident. If you decide that the life of a surgeon is not compatible with how you want your family life to be, that doesn't mean you can't still go to medical school. There are other specialties that are much more family friendly than surgery is.
                  i would 100% agree to not start med school in your first year of marriage....take some time and enjoy each other
                   
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