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Making the decision, is it worth it???

Krazed_Medic

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Well, hello folks. I am starting this thread in order to hopefully get some much needed insight. I suppose that I am really here to vent. This whole process is really frustrating to me because I feel I'm at a cross-roads right now. I've gone through undergrad, while working full time and attending classes full time. I've taken the MCAT twice now, and really need to take it again to improve my less than stellar score. The problem that I am facing at the current time is, do I even want to go to medical school? Up until about two months ago, I was all about med school. Now, I have no clue. I'm 30 years old, married with no children at this time. I have a really good career going for me as a paramedic, but would really like something different. Way back when, I wanted to be a firefighter, but that was before EMS came my way. I totally love the medical field. Anyways, I was starting to apply for the entering class this fall, but have had to step back and re-evaluate my financial situation. I've had to put off even applying for another year in order to meet some financial obligations. I don't feel that it would be wise to enter medical school with the financial obligations looming over my head. So, lately I been wondering, is it really worth it to go to medical school? I mean, at the end of the day, I will be in debt at least $150,000 entering internship/residency. Now, granted, once out of residency I will hopefully be making pretty good bank! I've always leaned towards Emergency Medicine. BUT, the problem that I have found, the more money I make...the more debt I seem to obtain. That just comes from not having the discipline to keep from obtaining items. I fear that even making a couple hundred grand a year would not be worth all the trouble. Ya know, 4 years of making it off of student loans and the wife's salary. THe other alternative is, go to nursing school and obtain RN. Now, that is the problem, because I really don't want to be an RN, not that being an RN is a bad thing. On the same note, I'm tired of being a paramedic and dealing with the crap that I deal with.

I make pretty good money where I am at now, but just not that happy with what I am doing. I guess I have a lot of soul searching to do before I really get in it deep. I would sure hate to get two years of med school out of the way and figure out that it's not what I want to do. Has anybody been in this situation? Probably a stupid question, I know.

I guess it would boil down to family time. As I said, I don't have children now, but plan to someday. I want to have time for a family. I will be there for my children and wife when they need me to be there and I know that in med school I will have to study. I just don't want it getting into family time.

I didn't think that this would become such a long post, but it does feel good to get it off of my chest. It's hard to discuss it with people who don't understand what you are going through. Maybe somebody can give me some insight to the situation and tell me if going to medical school really worth it. And, by the way, NO, I am not wanting to be a doctor for the money if that is what some of you are thinking. :cool:
 

FlStudent

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Being a paramedic is definitely not the easy life, that is for sure.

You have a lot of variables up in the air, it is a very difficult situation, so I guess its ok to feel frustrated/nervous. And the future financial/emotional burdens of being a long-term student are quite difficult. I think their are better people than me to discuss this here though.

You mentioned RN, but have you thought about Physician's Assistant (PA)? You can see patients yourself, write out prescriptions yourself, you just need to confirm some things with the attending physician, and it is a 2-3 yr schooling with no residency I believe, with good bank. I believe it is right above RN in the very hierarchical medical field. There are a more and more articles with MDs venting their anger b/c PAs are getting a lot of freedom, some are like, then what is the point of med school? Just passing some info.

Are you only interested in MD or are you interested/knowledgable about DO? I think the student population at DO schools are probably more diverse with more people that decided to change careers. But if you don't believe in it or don't like it, that's up to you.

You talk about family time: family time doesn't just suffer through 1st two yrs of med school, it suffers through residency as well, so all told, that is like 7 years starting from when you actually get in and start med school. This decision should also be decided with the help of your family; they are the ones that really know you and really know if you will be happy or miserable a few years down the road with whatever decision.

The last chapter of the book, Med School Confidential, deals with family and non-trad people who are married while in med school, or who support a family and troubles they faced. It might give you a better idea of life in med school.

I hope others post and can offer some better advice! There is just too many things going on for me to give an opinion on the whole thing.
 

beephlatPT

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To the OP,
I totally feel your pain. I am a physical therapist and i'm in the middle of finishing pre-reqs and upper level sciences for applying to med school. I too am kinda running into a financial mountain of things that need to be tended to in the here and now. Also, matters for me have been complicated by the onset of a bit of post traumatic stress syndrome as I got robbed last semester by two guys with a gun to my head, right in the middle of midterms time. I finished the semester with a 3.9 while working fulltime and all but it, coupled with financial resposiblities has taken its toll on me. My advice to you is to just figure out what is the longest that you're willing to put school off. Obviously you have a wife to consider so the 2 of you should have a very candid/open discussion about it. For me, I've been dead red set on trying to get into med school for the '09 year when I'm 31 years old. However, I realize that i'm doing myself a disservice by trying to juggle financial issues, school and working. For me, the best thing to do is to withdraw this semester, take a leave of absence from my current location (Orlando, FL), and go somewhere that I can gain some mental clarity (and possibly counseling for the PTSD). Now obviously that's my situation and is unique from yours but the bottom line is that I had to sit down and figure out what needs to happen to get back on track mentally. Now fortunately as a physical therapist I can do nationwide contract work for good $$ and paid housing and a per diem so that will hopefully help ease the $$ situation. Is med school worth it? Only you can answer that. I think it is, even though that opinion could change after stepping back from the situation to evaluate everything as objectively as possible. I plan on taking off the rest of the year and start fresh next spring, with bills paid and I'm gonna apply for fin aid and go fulltime and work only on the weekends. Talk to the wife!! Good luck with everything. shoot me a pm if you have any ??s or wanna vent. Its a tough journey when you're a bit older and don't have as much margin for error as you do when you're 20 or 21.
End of Rant.
 
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Krisss17

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I'd like to make two comments to the OP.

First, I know that it may not seem this way as many med students are tradtional students while you will be a nontraditional, but I have to say (with my being 42 and not planning on entering Med School until I'm about 44/45) that you are still young...don't feel that you have to push yourself now when you aren't sure...

Second, financially speaking, you do need to get a handle on your spending, because it is true that even when you make more money, if you don't have a good financial plan, your debt will probably also increase.

Only you can say whether or not you want to continue on to medical school.

Krisss17
 

Law2Doc

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Now, granted, once out of residency I will hopefully be making pretty good bank! ...I fear that even making a couple hundred grand a year would not be worth all the trouble.

I apologize if I'm misreading your post. But to be blunt, based on the above two sentences I think you may want to rethink this option. Salaries are not what they once were, and it is conceivable they will go lower still. And most med students don't end up in the high pay specialties. So you need to focus on why you really want to be a physician. If your above two sentences still loom large, then perhaps another path makes more sense, because you will be spending about a decade earning little or no money, and there is no guarantee that you will end up with "pretty good bank" at the end if you find yourself ending up in primary care and salaries continue their downward trend. You only go into medicine if your goal is to practice, not to be rich.

And your lifestyle concern is a good one -- and one without a good answer -- folks manage a family and a medical career but there is always a certain amount of compromise and juggling.
 

ShyRem

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You're the only one who can decide if "it's worth it".

We're all facing mounds of debt (and if you're one of those who isn't... help a sister out!), or not. Some of us have families and are robbing Peter to pay Paul regarding time with studying and family. Some of us are single. Some of us WISH we were single.. some of us wish we were married. Some wish they had children. Some want children. Some worry about money in the future, some don't. We can sit here and tell you that we chose medicine (or not). We can tell you how hard or easy it has been for us. We can bitch and gripe and moan about the didactic work, we can exult over the clinical work (or vice versa). But.... we're not you. And only you can make the final decision.

Take your time. Take a step back. Do some non-field work in a clinic or hospital or physician's office. And take some time to figure it out before you get into mounds of debt. 'Cuz I'm telling you... there are darn few folks about this time in MSI year that aren't wondering why they gave up so much for a dream that seems forever away from having a happy ending.
 

mitawa

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And overall it boils down to you, your motivations, and what makes you feel fulfilled. Age and marital status are just bumps in the road of life. Remember you and your children will be older someday, and I'd like to live without regret that I did not fulfill my true heart's desire b/c I was concerns over temporary difficulties. However that is only if being a doctor is your true heart's desire. I was a fire medic and researcher for a number of years, and in the end I felt that my true calling was as a doctor. So my energies are focused on what give me satisfaction! You have to know yourself and your long-term goals in life, then decide what path is best suited to you! :confused: Good luck!!:thumbup:
 

Byronsgoat

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I totally love the medical field. Anyways, I was starting to apply for the entering class this fall, but have had to step back and re-evaluate my financial situation. I've had to put off even applying for another year in order to meet some financial obligations. I don't feel that it would be wise to enter medical school with the financial obligations looming over my head. So, lately I been wondering, is it really worth it to go to medical school?
If money is an issue - start a budget, get your finances in order, and focus on the task at hand.

Is it worth it? Most people truly don't know until it's all over; there is no way to relate to the experience without actually doing it. But if think you truly will love it, it likely will be worth the effort.

If money remains an issue and you are unwilling to budget and reduce your spending, then your lack of discipline has defeated your love for medicine. Good luck.
 

ntmed

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I applied to medical at age 38. I'm now in my second year of residency and currently applying for fellowships. I have no regrets about my decision to change careers and go to medical school. But there were definitely a number of significant sacrifices I had to make, as is true for anyone who goes to medical school. And the farther I get into it, the more I realize the breadth of those sacrifices. However, for me, there is nothing else I'd rather be doing in life -- to the exclusion of everything else. The privilege of helping people in the most unique way, the challenges life-long learning, and the opportunity to answer important research questions all make medicine the greatest field to be in. If you feel this way too, then you should have no regrets.
 

OncoCaP

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Sounds like you are running away from more than you are running toward. Find something you like and do what is necessary to get there. You know, life isn't always easy. If it is, great; appreciate the good times. However, you're not going to make it through life unscathed, so make sure you're at least running toward something that you like. Don't let the finances discourage you. If medicine is what you want to do, then it will be totally worth it. If you're not sure, keep looking at other options as well. Good luck and keep us posted. Your thoughts are totally normal. :luck:
 

billydoc

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It's not worth it.

I know it's an individual thing. But I thought you were happier now that you swithed to EM? Though "happier" is not equal to "worth it". I understand. So Panda, you would have rather kept your engineering job, and always wonder what it would've been like if you went to medicine? I'm also going through the torture of trying it again (did carib med school a while back) or just deversify my current options. But I'm already in health field. So yeah I'm "helping ppl" already ;) BTW I didn't mean to highjack the thread from the OP. Just having the same concerns.

Thanks
 
I know it's an individual thing. But I thought you were happier now that you swithed to EM? Though "happier" is not equal to "worth it". I understand. So Panda, you would have rather kept your engineering job, and always wonder what it would've been like if you went to medicine? I'm also going through the torture of trying it again (did carib med school a while back) or just deversify my current options. But I'm already in health field. So yeah I'm "helping ppl" already ;) BTW I didn't mean to highjack the thread from the OP. Just having the same concerns.

Thanks

No, I mean that if by some act of magic or quantum physics I could have known eight years ago what I know now I would never have gone to medical school. I wondered, I found out, and now I can say with certainty that working at a normal job has some real advantages over medicine. I like my job a lot but if I didn't have the prospect of a very nice income to look forward to in two years I would have been gravely disappointed.
 

gcepdx

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Krisss17:
I'm in a similar sitution as you in terms of age. I'm 41, working on an MS in Poli Sci which will take a year. Then I need two years of most of my basic sciences before I even apply. So with volunteering and all on top of that, I'll be applying at 44 or 45. But it's something I've always wanted to do, so it's worth it to me.
In terms of budgeting, I also agree. My ex is 37 and in private practice now, but she never got her spending under control, owed $240K by the end of DO school, and will be paying the loans off until she's 65 just because she won't bite the bullet and economize.
 

billydoc

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To me it's not worth the effort if I can't get into a medical school in the USA. Why go through all of this when you can't become a physician? If you get in, then to me it's totally worth it.

Well...it's yes and no. I had all of my prereqs already but from a while back. Also, at that time ROSS did not require MCAT. So I thought I'd shave about 2 years on applying process. And I did. Only later on it didn't work out for me, I got sick and had to withdraw. Now I'm really thinking wether I want to do it at all? To tell you the truth, I'm already quite sick of the clinical (or at least the inpatient aspect anyway). I have my nursing for over 16 yeras, and not only bedside. I also had an Acupuncure private practice (now just doing a couple of days a week...studying and all). May be it's really a bad idea to "put all eggs in one basket"? I'm very ashamed to be an absolute ignoramus in financial, business and other non-medical fields. I've always wanted to be a doc, and that itch never went away. But the thought of "getting there" only to find out "it wasn't worth it" is dauntng. But then again...how would one know without going all the way?

Haaaahh, decisions, decisions :eek: :scared:
 

oldpro

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To me it's not worth the effort if I can't get into a medical school in the USA. Why go through all of this when you can't become a physician? If you get in, then to me it's totally worth it.

What kind of statement are you saying?

I'm a Caribbean student already have a deal for a prematch in FP. These things are possible you just have to work for them. Being a Physician has much more to do with the individual than something so superficial as what school, Yes it's way better to go to a US school but that is not the only path,
:luck:


To the OP yes it's worth it if you have the passion for medicine, to do this for money alone you will be very unhappy, if you have the passion yes it pays off in money too in the end. I was an RN for the last 19 years.
 
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