Non-traditional Student -> Med School in the Next 3 Years

Jul 8, 2019
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Hey everyone, I'm looking for just some general information/experience.

I am currently working full time in law enforcement. I've already started taking the prerequisites for medical school. I'm projected to have them completed start my application process around May 2022 to attend Med School the following school year (I believe). Currently, I own a home in a town where there is a medical school (which would be my top choice), but I know that there is a large possibility I will have to sell my home and move my family where ever I go. But in the case I do get into the local school, I'd like to keep my home, but I won't be working full time anymore. Instead I'll be taking on loans to attend medical school. In addition to my school, my wife and I would like to start a family soon but the question is before I get into med school? during? or wait til I graduate (but that'll be about 8 years from now).

I'm interested in knowing how some people in similar shoes dealt with quitting their full time jobs to go to medical school, having kids during med school, taking on loans/owning a house during medical school and all the other obstacles and challenges you've dealt with on your non-traditional journey.

Any insight helps!
 

bbbaaa

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Mar 11, 2014
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You'll come to a point where you'll have to quit your full-time job. Between classes, volunteering, shadowing, MCAT, etc., prepping to get accepted to med school is essentially a full time job in itself. Keep up the income stream as long as you can, sure, but if your goal is to become a doctor then don't sacrifice your application in order to keep your day job.

Re: kids, there's never going to be a perfect time to have them. Keep in mind you may graduate med school in 8 years but then you'll be working even harder in residency for the next 3-5 years, and then you may do a fellowship, and then you'll be a new attending trying to find your way for a few years, etc. Essentially I'm saying your life is more stable now than it will be for the rest of the next decade.
 
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deleted1005514

Can you cover your monthly expenses on what you’ll take out in loans? Check your school’s financial aid page to get an idea of what you’ll be taking out in living expenses.

If you’re wife has a difficult pregnancy or delivery, or decides she wants to stay home after the baby is born, can you still stay afloat financially? Many med students have stay at home spouses while their babies are very young.

The time to get your financial house in order is now. If you can’t afford to keep the house, sell it soon and rent something cheaper. Start putting away as much money as you can, and pay off as much debt as possible. Run a theoretical budget with your future loans. What you don’t want is to be trying to make all these big changes when you’re entering med school.
 
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GreenDuck12

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In my case, I was able to take night classes part time and during the summer to continue working full time. It ended up working well for me from a financial standpoint but definitely took longer to complete and move forward with an application. Is it possible to start a family before, during, and after medical school? Absolutely. Is it difficult? Of course. My wife went to veterinary school with some folks in their 30s and 40s who had children. Remember, you can take out loans to cover full CoA and additional loans for childcare. It isn’t ideal due to relatively higher interest rates but it is doable. As for the house, if you leave, would renting it out be an option? I ask because no one can predict what market conditions will look like in 2 or 3 years. It’s possible that by that time you may be looking at selling it for a significant loss. If you have the option of renting it out to cover monthly costs, then I would hold on to it. If not, I would look into selling it now while the housing market is still relatively hot.
 
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Jul 8, 2019
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You'll come to a point where you'll have to quit your full-time job. Between classes, volunteering, shadowing, MCAT, etc., prepping to get accepted to med school is essentially a full time job in itself. Keep up the income stream as long as you can, sure, but if your goal is to become a doctor then don't sacrifice your application in order to keep your day job.

Re: kids, there's never going to be a perfect time to have them. Keep in mind you may graduate med school in 8 years but then you'll be working even harder in residency for the next 3-5 years, and then you may do a fellowship, and then you'll be a new attending trying to find your way for a few years, etc. Essentially I'm saying your life is more stable now than it will be for the rest of the next decade.


Thank you for your insight. I've just started the lower level pre-reqs so I have some time thankfully to keep my job. I work nights also, so I take my classes during the day, and I plan to start shadowing and doing other things soon which will have to fit in somewhere and eventually I'll leave my job to finish up.
 
Jul 8, 2019
8
0
In my case, I was able to take night classes part time and during the summer to continue working full time. It ended up working well for me from a financial standpoint but definitely took longer to complete and move forward with an application. Is it possible to start a family before, during, and after medical school? Absolutely. Is it difficult? Of course. My wife went to veterinary school with some folks in their 30s and 40s who had children. Remember, you can take out loans to cover full CoA and additional loans for childcare. It isn’t ideal due to relatively higher interest rates but it is doable. As for the house, if you leave, would renting it out be an option? I ask because no one can predict what market conditions will look like in 2 or 3 years. It’s possible that by that time you may be looking at selling it for a significant loss. If you have the option of renting it out to cover monthly costs, then I would hold on to it. If not, I would look into selling it now while the housing market is still relatively hot.

That's pretty much my case right now. I work nights, so I take my classes during the day that way I can keep my job for as long as possible and save the loans for when Im almost in med school/in med school already. We want to have children, but we're willing to wait. I just dont want to put it off TOO long. Perfect timing would be WHILE Im in med school, but we just didnt know what that would look like. As for the house, Im really hoping to go to the medical school here so we can just continue to live in our home, but we obviously know the possibility of having to move. I think renting might be an option, but I might just want to sell at that point (if the marked is good).
 

M&L

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Someone I know from my school has two small kids, one of them during first year (he is male), and its doable. It is tough but doable. Would help if you had support around - relatives to help. They don't have anyone, I believe. So just be open with your spouse. Other ppl told me that 3rd and 4th year are better to have kids vs 1st and 2nd. Especially 4th year - allows more flexibility in moving rotations around. But I can see how having a baby now, so the baby is 1 or 2 when you start medical school is great too. so, maybe one baby now, one during 3/4th year? Residency would be crazy too, especially 1st year.
 
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2020NonTrad

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Feb 21, 2019
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I spent the last 6 years in law enforcement and just left last month to start medical school (I left well before school will start to have some time to myself). Personally, I stayed working during my entire post-bacc. It gets hard, especially managing mandatory OT and court while also doing school and prepping for the MCAT, but it can be done. I also own my home, but I live nowhere near a medical school and had to list it to move for school. Fortunately, it's already sold and I'll be renting during school. I originally thought about purchasing a home wherever I went for school, but I think you have to plan on going somewhere different for residency and 4 years of home ownership is almost certainly not worth it.
 
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