Isentropic

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Hello All,

As the May 2013 Summer semester approaches, I'm getting nervous. I was accepted to the highly-regarded Bryn Mawr Post-Bacc program 2013-2014, but increasingly thinking about the debt and long path ahead I'll be involved in.

Also, I have a very good job in my current field, making over $92K+ (bonuses included) at a young, relative age (mid-twenties). The hours are pretty standard also, ~40 hrs./wk, and living in a low-cost-of-living area. I'm also almost done paying off my previous student loans.

Although I'm shadowing and volunteering to keep up my motivations, I'm just continually thinking about what I'll be giving up, and what I'll really be gaining in the long run. Have many of you had similar thoughts, uncertainty, and decisions to make?

I'd really appreciate the thoughts and other input. Thanks!!
 

TriagePreMed

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You have to be absolutely sure this is what you want. I went back in my mid twenties, and after doing it this long, I can tell you it takes a toll to be in debt, poor and studying all day. What I got going for me is I know for sure this is what I want. I can't imagine how it would be if I had doubts or an alternative I felt would make me as happy.

Sent from my SCH-R910 using SDN Mobile
 

PlumbLine

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Sounds like a sweet gig. How easy would it be to go back if you go down the medical path for a few years and decide it's not for you?
 
Jan 17, 2013
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Do you have a family ? how does your spouse response to this ? I am married. I make 80k in a low cost living area too. I thought a lot about going back to school. It is very difficult to seriously apply to medical school while you are working fulltime. I have a very close friend that now is a successful radiation oncologist. We studied the same major at the same school and worked for the same company (but at different time). He gave up his job after 2 years to pursue his dream and he somehow encouraged me to do the same.
 

03Marine

Failure is NOT an option
Dec 17, 2012
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Hello All,

As the May 2013 Summer semester approaches, I'm getting nervous. I was accepted to the highly-regarded Bryn Mawr Post-Bacc program 2013-2014, but increasingly thinking about the debt and long path ahead I'll be involved in.

Also, I have a very good job in my current field, making over $92K+ (bonuses included) at a young, relative age (mid-twenties). The hours are pretty standard also, ~40 hrs./wk, and living in a low-cost-of-living area. I'm also almost done paying off my previous student loans.

Although I'm shadowing and volunteering to keep up my motivations, I'm just continually thinking about what I'll be giving up, and what I'll really be gaining in the long run. Have many of you had similar thoughts, uncertainty, and decisions to make?
I'd really appreciate the thoughts and other input. Thanks!!
I have been having some of the same thoughts. I work in IT and make $121/yr working from home, have flex time, and get 6 weeks a year vacation. I am planning to take the MCAT in May 2014 and the only way I see to get in the volunteer and shadowing hours I need before then is to quit my job this summer and spend a lot of hours shadowing and volunteering.

it's really scary quitting a steady job and not know if I can even get into med school. i guess one thing motivating me is the IT job market is increasingly going overseas, so there is no guarantee i could keep working there another 10 years, and being a doctor is the only other job I ever thought of doing. At least you re doing this in your 20's, I just turned 41 and feel this move is financial suicide, but I still want to do it. Strange, crazy, maybe both? I am 10 years from being a doctor if everything goes well, but honestly I just can't see me doing anything else 10 years from now.
 

SyrianHero

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Wow, what companies do you guys work for to make all This money? If I were you, I wouldn't quit my job that pays so much, instead I'd take night classes on my own at a local university without losing all that money and going into more debt.
 

mspeedwagon

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You didn't address a few key points:
1) Are you married or single?
2) How long have you wanted to be a doctor?
3) Are you willing to sacrifice a lot of the next decade of your life?

Bryn Mawr is an excellent program and has quite a few linkages. If you do well there, you'll definitely get into med school.

I make about as much as you and am 29 now. I also work from home mostly (though I travel a lot for work). I opted to work for a while and take night classes and save up b/c I'm fairly uncomfortable with loans. I saved about 100k and view is as my med school down payment. That said, I also don't think a program like Bryn Mawr was an option for me since I had quite a few pre-reqs taken previously (though I opted to re-take many of them).

I'm about to take the MCAT shortly. Even though, I didn't have any desire to go to med school until I started working at a hospital post-college, I haven't been able to envision doing anything else since.

Bottom line... decide how much you really want to be a doctor. You can lead an awesome life outside of medicine, but if all you can think about is being a doctor, then go for it.
 

mspeedwagon

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I preach all the time on here... making 100k or so in your 20s is fairly easy. I worked in investment banking and in pharma. We (my company) are dying to pay people in their mid-20s about 100k if they are willing to work hard and do a good job (I should note that you'll likely start much lower... 50k, but if you prove yourself in a yr your salary goes up substantially).

Wow, what companies do you guys work for to make all This money?
 
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Isentropic

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Thanks much for the input guys. I really appreciate the feedback.

To provide a bit more background:

I work at a Fortune 50 company.

1. I'm currently single, and also not in any relationship.
2. I've kept medicine in my mind since senior year of high school. But the interest waned a little bit during my undergrad years, possibly because I was so busy academically within my own major.
3. Sacrificing over 10 years of my life is ok, as long as there is positive upside (professionally, emotionally, and financially). Honestly, I would eventually like to work with Biotech companies, or in health care Venture Capital. I've seen some M.D.'s going that route. Not sure if I'm being too idealistic here though...

Marine03 (and others here), do you also have a family?
 

03Marine

Failure is NOT an option
Dec 17, 2012
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I never got married or had any kids. I do have a girlfriend and she just started nursing school with the idea that we can work together after. That has doom printed all over it, ha.
You have your head together and are setting in a much better position than me, with shadowing and volunteering experience already as well.

I wish going to school at night was an option, but they just don't offer the classes at night around here. I currently take vacation days for Tuesday and Thursday and have classes from 8 am until 9 pm, but starting next semester all of my classes I need are only offered at one time and they are MWF with a lab on Tuesday or Thursday. I just don't have that much vacation and my work does not have any night shift, or any desire to create on according to my manager.

Oh well, nothing worth having comes easy, right.
 
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Isentropic

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Good luck to you. It's very inspiring to see you pursuing your dream as well. Honestly, your background gives me a great motivation to pursue it as well.

A family member of mine, with 4 kids, and a very well-paid job. quit when he was 45 years old to pursue PhD. Of course his wife still kept her job, and supported him (and likewise). He now runs his own company and all his kids look up to him.

So it's very doable to pursue higher education at 40+, when most others are probably looking forward to coasting into retirement.

The stories here were really helpful in strengthening my own convictions (and hopefully for others also).

Thanks!
 

anguisette

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Thanks much for the input guys. I really appreciate the feedback.

To provide a bit more background:

I work at a Fortune 50 company.

1. I'm currently single, and also not in any relationship.
2. I've kept medicine in my mind since senior year of high school. But the interest waned a little bit during my undergrad years, possibly because I was so busy academically within my own major.
3. Sacrificing over 10 years of my life is ok, as long as there is positive upside (professionally, emotionally, and financially). Honestly, I would eventually like to work with Biotech companies, or in health care Venture Capital. I've seen some M.D.'s going that route. Not sure if I'm being too idealistic here though...

Marine03 (and others here), do you also have a family?
Just for clarification, why are you revisiting medicine now? If you want to eventually work in Biotech, you don't need to have an MD/DO to do that depending on what it is you want to do (and your goals professionally, emotionally, and financially).

I think it's perfectly reasonable to have doubts when you're about to make a big decision in your life, and probably also have doubts along the way as you're taking it one step at a time. You first need to determine what it is you want in the big picture though and if being a doctor is the only thing that fits.
 

take the shot

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Hello All,

As the May 2013 Summer semester approaches, I'm getting nervous. I was accepted to the highly-regarded Bryn Mawr Post-Bacc program 2013-2014, but increasingly thinking about the debt and long path ahead I'll be involved in.

Also, I have a very good job in my current field, making over $92K+ (bonuses included) at a young, relative age (mid-twenties). The hours are pretty standard also, ~40 hrs./wk, and living in a low-cost-of-living area. I'm also almost done paying off my previous student loans.

Although I'm shadowing and volunteering to keep up my motivations, I'm just continually thinking about what I'll be giving up, and what I'll really be gaining in the long run. Have many of you had similar thoughts, uncertainty, and decisions to make?

I'd really appreciate the thoughts and other input. Thanks!!
I am an older non-traditional student in my last year of medical school. This dream has burned in me forever and I was thrilled when I was accepted. Like you, I had to give up a great job.

Despite knowing lots of physicians who told me how tough med school would be, nothing could have prepared me for the long hours of studying, testing, constant evaluations, and sacrifice. As most med students will tell you there is also this chronic feeling of inadequacy when you evaluate pts and try to figure out what's wrong, or when getting pimped by attendings. This is in spite of being at the top of my class. This was particularly hard for me as I felt very competent in my former job. So count on lack of time with family and friends, feeling exhausted, and having days where you question why you gave up your former life. For me there was only one answer: I really want to be a doctor. There are intermittent moments when everything comes together and I feel like I make a difference in a patient's life.

It's easy to get caught up in how great it feels to be picked for admission. But be very clear: this is a long journey that is really hard. Do not do it unless you really want to be a doctor and can't imagine doing anything else. On the other hand you never want to have regrets: think long and hard about your decision. This career is unbelievably rewarding but you must plan on working hard and sacrifice if you want to be good at it. Best of luck to you
 
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Isentropic

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Sorry, just to clarify, I was just assuming Biotech was an option, as several acquaintances I know of pursued that route (as well as Healthcare consulting with McKinsey). The scientific and practical aspects of medicine definitely interest me, but I'd appreciate the broader, business side of healthcare also.

You're right. It's definitely a big decision point in life, as I'm sure it is for many others. Hopefully it works out well somehow.

Thanks for your input.
 

TriagePreMed

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I preach all the time on here... making 100k or so in your 20s is fairly easy. I worked in investment banking and in pharma. We (my company) are dying to pay people in their mid-20s about 100k if they are willing to work hard and do a good job (I should note that you'll likely start much lower... 50k, but if you prove yourself in a yr your salary goes up substantially).
Substantially easy when the bulk of new graduates can't find a job and the median household income is around 45-50k? I think you suffer from Ivy League graduate lenses.
 

mspeedwagon

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I'm the only Ivy League grad at my company under 30. I'm not the only person under 30 making 100k hence it's not Ivy eyes. The job market in California (outside tech) is absolutely terrible, and this is not the place to come to make money (unless you are in tech). For pharma/biotech industry under 30... head to NJ (big pharma) or MA (small pharma).

Also, many start at 40-50k (I started at 31,500). The trick is to be there before your boss, stay after you boss, volunteer for every job possible. Talk to co-workers and learn about what everyone does. Help everyone else out, on top of your work, and shine. I worked 7 a.m. to fairly late for peanuts. I helped admins put together packets, I talked to the janitor and I met the CEO early in the morning and late at night on several occasions. Your salary goes up pretty quickly. The average person shows up at 9 and runs out of the office a few minutes before 5 and spends a good portion of their day on google and facebook... I watched all those people get laid-off a few years ago.

I should also mention that I've worked with several new grads (Class of 2010 onward) that were hired and based on what I've seen I'm not surprised they can't find jobs (came in late, surfed facebook, checked gmail and were on g-chat, and really didn't get into gear until 1 p.m. and then left by 4 p.m. or so). They were let go within 90 days. Obviously this is a small sample, but this is a way to not make money and a good way to remain unemployed.


Substantially easy when the bulk of new graduates can't find a job and the median household income is around 45-50k? I think you suffer from Ivy League graduate lenses.
 
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mspeedwagon

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This is partially true, but without a health care clinical background you'll limit yourself tremendously in pharma/biotech. An MD will open many more doors in this industry to you.

Having worked at Pfizer and with several big pharma firms, it's the one industry I see where DOs are still discriminated against (If big pharma is your goal... try really hard to get an MD). Otherwise, MD/DO won't make a terribly big difference.

Just for clarification, why are you revisiting medicine now? If you want to eventually work in Biotech, you don't need to have an MD/DO to do that depending on what it is you want to do (and your goals professionally, emotionally, and financially).
 

Shjanzey

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Let me give my perspective. I make very good money, and I am also in IT. I also never have to worry about finding a job, because my skillset is needed everywhere, yet I put a lot of thought into this before I decided to change careers.

For me it all boils down to being happy with what I am doing. I have reached the point that I absolutely despise what I am doing, and every extra day I spend doing it I feel more miserable. I could make twice what I am making right now and it still would not be enough compensation for the work that I do.

The top reason I cannot stand IT is because the work you do has no lasting impact. Every piece of code I write will be re-written, or trashed within 5 years. Basically I can look back on my career and see I have left no footprint or positive contribution to society. I have merely served to keep some corporation functional until they move on to their next "big idea". The second reason I cannot stand IT anymore is because there is no level of professionalism. I worked hard to finish my Engineering degree in CS to be a competitive employee, but most corporations will hire anybody who had "programming" on their resume regardless of their education. It is painful working with amateurs who refuse to improve themselves and are merely content to cash a paycheck every 2 weeks.

I mention the above only to illustrate that if you are happy doing what you do, and making a great salary; then I see no reason for you to drop it and start all over again. If you know in your heart that you would go crazy if you had to sit there for twenty years doing the same thing, then it is a good time to start considering a new career.
 

Got Em

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Hello All,

As the May 2013 Summer semester approaches, I'm getting nervous. I was accepted to the highly-regarded Bryn Mawr Post-Bacc program 2013-2014, but increasingly thinking about the debt and long path ahead I'll be involved in.

Also, I have a very good job in my current field, making over $92K+ (bonuses included) at a young, relative age (mid-twenties). The hours are pretty standard also, ~40 hrs./wk, and living in a low-cost-of-living area. I'm also almost done paying off my previous student loans.

Although I'm shadowing and volunteering to keep up my motivations, I'm just continually thinking about what I'll be giving up, and what I'll really be gaining in the long run. Have many of you had similar thoughts, uncertainty, and decisions to make?

I'd really appreciate the thoughts and other input. Thanks!!
The best advice I can give you is that you should do what you "think" will ultimately make you happy. Don't worry about "potentially" giving up whatever job/benefits that you have right now. If you think that you can endure a career in medicine, it will ultimately pay for itself based on your situation or what you posted later in the thread. You may always regret not doing medicine.

I know that giving up 92k + benefits is a lot, and many would be in your position, but I'm giving up over 200k/year to pursue a career in medicine. You do have to look at your finances, but you only live once and if you're single and relatively young, it should be a no brainer.
 
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Isentropic

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Nov 30, 2012
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The best advice I can give you is that you should do what you "think" will ultimately make you happy. Don't worry about "potentially" giving up whatever job/benefits that you have right now. If you think that you can endure a career in medicine, it will ultimately pay for itself based on your situation or what you posted later in the thread. You may always regret not doing medicine.

I know that giving up 92k + benefits is a lot, and many would be in your position, but I'm giving up over 200k/year to pursue a career in medicine. You do have to look at your finances, but you only live once and if you're single and relatively young, it should be a no brainer.

Thanks a lot for this advice. It's reassuring to know that others are experiencing (or already have) similar situations.

It definitely requires a lot of commitment, money, and time, especially during prime years of someone's life. I used most of my savings and money to pay off previous student loans, so I may have to take loans again for Post-Bacc + Med School. It's a long road ahead... Good luck to you as well. It's definitely a big sacrifice.

Thanks much for the input again.
 

Dzerzhinsky

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As the May 2013 Summer semester approaches, I'm getting nervous. I was accepted to the highly-regarded Bryn Mawr Post-Bacc program 2013-2014, but increasingly thinking about the debt and long path ahead I'll be involved in.

Also, I have a very good job in my current field, making over $92K+ (bonuses included) at a young, relative age (mid-twenties). The hours are pretty standard also, ~40 hrs./wk, and living in a low-cost-of-living area. I'm also almost done paying off my previous student loans.

Although I'm shadowing and volunteering to keep up my motivations, I'm just continually thinking about what I'll be giving up, and what I'll really be gaining in the long run. Have many of you had similar thoughts, uncertainty, and decisions to make?
You've gotten a lot of replies from people who did it. Here's one who didn't.

When I first got the itch to go to medical school, I was making well into six figures (also in IT.) Loved what I did, but always knew I wasn't gonna do it forever, and I was going to need a second career s/p boredom. All the docs I talked to told me "only do it if you can't see yourself happy doing anything else."

The first major decision was "do the prereqs at night and hang onto the job" or "go all-in testicles-to-the-wall and go to a full-time postbacc." SDN advises the latter. I wasn't willing to afford it. I went with the former.

I didn't wreck my grades, like most do. I kept almost entirely straight As (one B) for my postbacc. In the process, I burned out hard and decided I'd rather stab myself in the eye than do hard science full-time for two years in the preclinical years.

Now, you can look at this two ways. One is that it's a jolly good thing I kept my job, because I was able to bail on the plan. The other is that if I'd not been working full-time and going to school full-time, I might not've burned out, and I might be sitting on an acceptance right now.

I'm happy with how it turned out. But it depends on how much you want to do this, and only you can answer that. Is this really what you want? Are you the kind of person who usually has second thoughts even about things you really want to do, or are the cold feet worthy of more attention? The Internet can't answer those questions. Only you can.

Substantially easy when the bulk of new graduates can't find a job and the median household income is around 45-50k? I think you suffer from Ivy League graduate lenses.
I was making six figures before I was old enough to drink. And I definitely didn't go to an Ivy League school. The reason the new grads can't find a job is because they have no work experience. By the time I graduated, I'd already put in my time as an "intern" (IT interns are much like medical interns: you have all the responsibility, all the scut, and none of the sweet sweet cash moneys) at $10.50 an hour, which is why I was able to manage that.
 
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Isentropic

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Nov 30, 2012
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Medical Student
Thanks much for your input. It's helpful to be cognizant of all possible outcomes based on people's experiences, like yourself.

Dzerzhinsky: Will you be attempting full-time coursework in the future, and possibly quit your job?

Thanks again.