Need advice! Moms who've been accepted to med school AWAY from family

Mar 27, 2020
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So I'd like some advice from any moms out there who have been accepted, or are currently in med school that is another state than your family. Did you/will you take your family with you? Here's my situation: I am divorced and we currently split time 50/50 with my son. In a perfect world, I'd love to get accepted to a med school in the same state at least as my son but I am of course going to be applying very broadly to increase my chances of getting accepted to a school. I am very worried about the very real fact that I may have to leave this state and my son to go somewhere else to med school. It it honestly probably the biggest factor in me deciding if I want to start this journey or not. I am, and always have been passionate about medicine. I am currently an RN and have been for about 5 years. Becoming a physician has always been my dream but for certain reasons I did not follow that dream earlier in life. I feel like I keep getting called back to it though and there are many posts and threads on SDN that have been very encouraging about making the leap. I'm just torn between choosing to pursue my dream career or being there for my son as he grows up. I want him to see as he grows up, a mom who had the courage to follow her dreams and make them become a reality but on the other hand, I'm scared he will just grow up resenting me for not being around much as he grew up. I know no one can have the answer for that or tell the future. This is just a very real concern for me and it would be great to hear some advice or encouragement from any other moms who have dealt with this kind of choice. Sorry for the long post!
 
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DadIsFat

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Feb 23, 2018
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Hi @RNtoMD86 - I’m a mom starting at my state school in August. My husband has a position in our current city that he really likes and we are happy with our local schools. For those reasons we decided that I would only apply to my local state school. Although it was not the smartest thing to do application wise (but I am grateful it worked out well), we decided it was the best choice for our family. Certainly we may have to move later, but maybe not. If I had not gotten in this cycle, I would have strengthened my application and reapplied to just the same school.

Have you considered waiting until your son is older/college age? That is always a possibility as well. Medical school is not going anywhere. Best wishes!
 
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I refused to move away from my family, and only applied to a school that they were all ok with moving near (obviously, I'm not divorced and you have a unique situation there). For the record, my youngest child is in middle school, which makes my decisions down the road a little easier. Only you can decide if moving away from your son is worth it to you...didn't I read in another post that you're a couple of years out from making this decision though?
 
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Dr. Anonymouss

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If you applied to schools out of state then there is a real possibility you could attend a school out of state... you just need to figure out what’s more important to you, your kid or medical school. The fact that you applied to out of state schools seems to me that you’ve already considered the options. I wish you the best and hope it all works out.
 
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Angus Avagadro

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As I have said many times on this forum, life is full of choices. Make good ones. You have made some very big choices to date. You now are about to make some more very big ones. Choose your family? Your career? Others will be affected by what you choose. Will your career in medicine be diminished if you wait? No on can tell you what to do. Follow your heart, and do what is right in your heart. We have had students in their 40's and gone on to productive careers. Good luck and best wishes!
 
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Mar 27, 2020
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I refused to move away from my family, and only applied to a school that they were all ok with moving near (obviously, I'm not divorced and you have a unique situation there). For the record, my youngest child is in middle school, which makes my decisions down the road a little easier. Only you can decide if moving away from your son is worth it to you...didn't I read in another post that you're a couple of years out from making this decision though?
Yes I am still a good 2 years out at least from having to decide. My son will be 10 by then. Thanks for the response!
 
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deleted1005514

Yes I am still a good 2 years out at least from having to decide. My son will be 10 by then. Thanks for the response!

Ok, that does make a difference and I'm going to revise my advice to you a little.

I have a classmate who lives 15+ hours away from his family. He flies home for breaks. He’s doing 3rd/4th year rotations in the state where they live, and presumably residency too. What he’s doing is hard, but he’s an admirable guy.

If your son was really small I would caution against this choice, but he’s not, or won’t be by the time you start. It’s not an ideal situation, but it can be done.
 
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Angus Avagadro

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Ok, that does make a difference and I'm going to revise my advice to you a little.

I have a classmate who lives 15+ hours away from his family. He flies home for breaks. He’s doing 3rd/4th year rotations in the state where they live, and presumably residency too. What he’s doing is hard, but he’s an admirable guy.

If your son was really small I would caution against this choice, but he’s not, or won’t be by the time you start. It’s not an ideal situation, but it can be done.
I would only add that med school will occur right around when the son will be entering middle school. A very challenging time for students and parents.
 
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GreenDuck12

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I'm a teacher who works with students who are separated from their parents and I cannot recommend leaving your child to pursue your professional goals. I completely understand wanting to be a role model for your child by pursuing your dreams but children, especially in middle and high school, need parents who are present. I would not underestimate how profoundly strong the impact on a child's development that their separation from their parent(s) can have. I won't elaborate on the ways that we see separation from parents impact students academically, behaviorally, and with their own mental health and safety, but it is among the most significant, persistent challenges I have dealt with in my 7 year career. I would only recommend applying to medical schools local to where you are. If that means applying multiple times, that is what I would do to avoid the alternative. Best of luck to you.
 
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Darth Doc

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I had 50/50 custody when I was accepted to medical school. I was accepted to a school a 5 hour drive from my house. A week before we were supposed to move for medical school I obtained full custody of my kids. If I hadn't gotten custody, I wouldn't have gone, even when the start date for medical school was 2 weeks away. Nothing would be worth losing my kids for the last 6 years +1 more year (because it isn't just medical school, it's also residency).
 
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Jun 25, 2019
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I was accepted for this cycle, and while I don’t have to share custody of my kids, I only applied to one school close by (UTHSC) because my husband’s job is here and we needed him to be able to continue working. Also my older kid is in high school, so I didn’t want to have to move him if at all possible.

I am also an RN and have been for the past 6 years. I would say just decide what you are willing to do or not. I would have maybe considered applying DO or some schools farther away next cycle if I had not gotten in this cycle but I would have primarily hoped to just improve my application and get into my first choice the second time around had it been necessary. I don’t know that it was the smartest plan, but it worked out well for me. I was more willing to wait an extra year than go somewhere I didn’t really want or farther away. I also could not afford to apply to tons of schools, so that affected my decision.
 

mmchick

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Sep 4, 2017
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I'm not a parent, so perhaps only take a breadcrumb with this anecdote, but my parents divorced when I was very young. We mostly spent time with my mom at some point and she was someone who was very ambitious in her career and professional interests so we saw very little of her, even under the same roof full-time. As a kid, this bothered me all the time and definitely took a toll on me in all scopes of my development.

But, as an adult, I'm well-adjusted and have grown out of those pitfalls that were created from her absence. As an adult, I learned that her dedication to her career and professional aspirations were largely to continue to provide everything my brother and I needed as kids, as a single parent, and also that she was entitled to pursue her own desires in life. She was there for us in her own way and she did it to her absolute best, maybe as a kid I didn't appreciate that, but as an adult, I realize that your parent is still an individual that has their own life to live and should be entitled to pursuing the things that make them happy.

It sounds like the overwhelming consensus to bridge the best compromise is only looking for schools in your area or that would be within reasonable commute. I think this is great advice. I also felt the need to post to share that story about my mom and remind you that you're still an individual who has the right to pursue something so formative for your life like the career you actually want to be in for the next 30-40 years. I don't think it's a reasonable ultimatum to present your choices as: career or son? You should be entitled to both.
 

Gos81238ia

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Mar 8, 2012
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So I'd like some advice from any moms out there who have been accepted, or are currently in med school that is another state than your family. Did you/will you take your family with you? Here's my situation: I am divorced and we currently split time 50/50 with my son. In a perfect world, I'd love to get accepted to a med school in the same state at least as my son but I am of course going to be applying very broadly to increase my chances of getting accepted to a school. I am very worried about the very real fact that I may have to leave this state and my son to go somewhere else to med school. It it honestly probably the biggest factor in me deciding if I want to start this journey or not. I am, and always have been passionate about medicine. I am currently an RN and have been for about 5 years. Becoming a physician has always been my dream but for certain reasons I did not follow that dream earlier in life. I feel like I keep getting called back to it though and there are many posts and threads on SDN that have been very encouraging about making the leap. I'm just torn between choosing to pursue my dream career or being there for my son as he grows up. I want him to see as he grows up, a mom who had the courage to follow her dreams and make them become a reality but on the other hand, I'm scared he will just grow up resenting me for not being around much as he grew up. I know no one can have the answer for that or tell the future. This is just a very real concern for me and it would be great to hear some advice or encouragement from any other moms who have dealt with this kind of choice. Sorry for the long post!

Tough spot to be in no doubt. I worry that during clinical rotations in 3rd and 4th year, even weekend trips home may not be feasible out of state given that rotations can involve nights and weekends sometimes.

I would encourage you to advocate for being near your family on your applications to local schools, they care about applicants as whole individuals so I imagine that would be an extremely relevant factor. Start your research early on your local schools; if possible, talk to current students or professors and see if you can get a sense of what they are looking for in an applicant to you can work on those factors.

Don't forget DO schools too. Not that I am saying you should not go MD/DO, but if all else fails, NP or PA school could be an option that brings you to a higher level of independence in your career with local or online education options.

I hope things work out for you and your family!
 
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deleted480308

I'm not a parent, so perhaps only take a breadcrumb with this anecdote, but my parents divorced when I was very young. We mostly spent time with my mom at some point and she was someone who was very ambitious in her career and professional interests so we saw very little of her, even under the same roof full-time. As a kid, this bothered me all the time and definitely took a toll on me in all scopes of my development.

But, as an adult, I'm well-adjusted and have grown out of those pitfalls that were created from her absence. As an adult, I learned that her dedication to her career and professional aspirations were largely to continue to provide everything my brother and I needed as kids, as a single parent, and also that she was entitled to pursue her own desires in life. She was there for us in her own way and she did it to her absolute best, maybe as a kid I didn't appreciate that, but as an adult, I realize that your parent is still an individual that has their own life to live and should be entitled to pursuing the things that make them happy.

It sounds like the overwhelming consensus to bridge the best compromise is only looking for schools in your area or that would be within reasonable commute. I think this is great advice. I also felt the need to post to share that story about my mom and remind you that you're still an individual who has the right to pursue something so formative for your life like the career you actually want to be in for the next 30-40 years. I don't think it's a reasonable ultimatum to present your choices as: career or son? You should be entitled to both.
The kid is entitled to a present parent. Again we’re all just spouting opinions here but kids are a responsibility that should be honored
 
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siliso

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Oct 18, 2008
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Your kid matters more, don’t leave him. He’ll never forget it. If you can work out a different custody arrangement that would still allow you to be in his life regularly, do that. Or apply only to programs near your son.
Love from a mom in medicine.
 
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mmchick

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Sep 4, 2017
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The kid is entitled to a present parent. Again we’re all just spouting opinions here but kids are a responsibility that should be honored

No parent can be expected to be perfect and there are worse things that people put their kids through than deciding to enrich/better their lives with a career they actually want and have to live every day of the rest of their life doing. Again, I was suggesting I think it’s best for OP to try and pursue this nearby or within a reasonable commute to her kid to minimize the effect it would have on him, but she has to live her daily life too, her kid won’t live it for her.

Doesn’t make her a bad mother to want to enjoy her career while simultaneously prioritizing her child.
 
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deleted480308

No parent can be expected to be perfect and there are worse things that people put their kids through than deciding to enrich/better their lives with a career they actually want and have to live every day of the rest of their life doing. Again, I was suggesting I think it’s best for OP to try and pursue this nearby or within a reasonable commute to her kid to minimize the effect it would have on him, but she has to live her daily life too, her kid won’t live it for her.

Doesn’t make her a bad mother to want to enjoy her career while simultaneously prioritizing her child.
Moving states away for 7 yrs would not be prioritizing the child, that’s the point being made
 
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siliso

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Having already kids and a family that couldn’t move, I applied only to programs in my local area. In fact at the time there was only one. So applied early decision because it was the only place I would go, and made sure they knew that. If you’re well prepared and in range for early decision criteria near you, maybe try that.

Following your dream is good but not at the cost of abandoning your kid. I’d say that to a mom or a dad.
 
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