commymommy

*reformed commymommy*
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For those of you who are still on the fence that haven't quite thrown caution to the wind yet and committed to med school...what is holding you back and how are you addressing it?

I have been thinking pre-med for over 13 years...the entire time that I have been raising my children. The biggest reason that I come up with that stands as a road block in my path is my kids. I get caught up in the worrying about not being there for them enough or missing time with my spouse, but ultimately, I've begun to realize that the real problem is not...believing in myself anymore.

My children really were the issue several years ago when I was a new mom and wanted more than anything to be a good mom. I still want to be a good mom, of course, but I've grown to realize that I don't have to be here 24/7 to accomplish that. Actually, I think I'm a better mom when I'm NOT here 24/7 and I have things of my own to work on.

After some soul-searching, I realized that I just don't think I'm capable anymore. Though I did get my MS in 2001 in mol. bio, and I also taught bio labs for a couple of years...even that seems like a lifetime ago. I don't feel like I remember even the most basic things...and unlike when I was young and could imagine myself conquering the world...now I imagine that if I really committed to applying to med school I would just make a fool of myself. After years of mostly changing diapers, dealing with tween/teen issues and everything inbetween, I don't feel like I'm good at...anything anymore. I spend a lot of time now spinning my wheels and contemplating what I think I could do....

It is a total crisis of confidence.

Has anyone else been in my shoes...and how did you address it?

Kris
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

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I've been there (as a mid-30's med school applicant w/10 & 5 yr old daughters) and would be happy to share my experiences. I'm reapplying this summer after gaining clinical experiences and filling out my bio knowledge for the bio section of the MCAT; other areas were strong per schools I've spoken with. I finished a master's program in finance in 1999, and worked in management/operations until starting pre-med coursework fulltime in Jan, 2007.

Things that were essential to my success:

1) realizing that my children are great, but that in another 8 years the older one will be off to college, 5 years later the other one too. There's a lot of life left after kids, and I am ready to start this (long) path. I am not OK thinking about turning 50 after the kids are in college and realizing I failed to follow my dreams. (Also, a sibling & their spouse are physicians; they have 4 children and I can see how it is possible to be a physican and a parent)

2) support of a great spouse, we may be moving across the country, it's essential that we're both committed to this.

I had some confidence issues in the beginning; college went well for me in the early 1990s, but my undergraduate work was economics & spanish, I dropped a college physics course my freshman year because it was too tough. Could I really excel in hardcore science courses now? Did I have the physical stamina to compete with 20 year olds? Would my brain still work as quickly?

Here's what worked: I knew I needed pretty close to straight As in pre-med courses, schools look at recent science coursework very closely. I've accomplished this over my 43 hours of bio/physics/chem/ochem work partially by taking a reasonable courseload 15/16 hrs per semester. Also, put in enough hours to master every subject; I realize this is much more time than most of the students in my classes. This helped me to gain confidence in that I can excel at exams in any subject with this amount of prep time. Given the requirement to pass all of those courses and the USMLE step exams, this success made med school seem more realistic to me.

I read a number of books on medical school admissions, and tried to learn what the schools are looking for. After failing to gain admission with my first application cycle, I spoke with the schools to learn which parts of my application could be strengthened.
In speaking with the schools, I've found acceptance to a program to be more of a reasonable goal. For example, at one midwest state school, my GPA is competitive now, an MCAT score of minimum 10 per section is required to make the first screen. Learning this helped me to establish reasonable goals.

One area where you've got some experience, but definitely did not boost my confidence; schools are generally looking for recent, substantial clinical experience. Easy enough to get this in a local hospital or clinic, but as a volunteer I felt on par with the custodian, several levels below the administrative assistant. After several months I felt more "included", but in the beginning most of what I did related to cleaning beds, restocking pillowcases in rooms, etc. I was actually told NOT to speak with a surgeon about what he did after I'd made small talk with him in the changing room one day. So this is an area that is heavily considered by schools but not likely to build your confidence.

Its possible, takes lots of time and effort, and I believe 100% commitment. good luck!
 

Nanon

An urban myth.
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GIRL... hehehe. You know, I've been floating toward and away from medicine for as long as you have, and I have less of a leg to stand on when it comes to applying, so yes. I feel you.

I went back to work part time when D. was 9 months, full time when he turned one. I really struggled with this decision, especially at first. But I am now so happy that I did. D. is fine, and I lovelovelove this job, if only because of the support I've gotten over the last 15 months that I've been here. And it turned the tide for me, in terms of confidence. Nothing like having a bunch of surgeons tell you to apply to medical school EVERY SINGLE DAY to make you believe (even if it is delusional) that you should do just that. So I am.

Kris, there is nothing wrong with being down for yourself. You've been through so much, you've done so much, you're such an amazing woman. That intensity is ideally suited for medicine, and even for a hardcore specialty. You keep coming back to this for a reason. If you were going to be happy with anything else, you would have done it by now.

You can totally do this. I'm doing it with some of the same issues. All I can tell you is that I am SO. FREAKING. EXCITED. Sit down and review for the MCAT, and you'll find that it all comes back. Go back to work with the idea that you'll be leaving in a year or two for medical school, and you'll get some of your confidence back, too, I bet.

I'm rooting for you! GO KRIS, GO KRIS, GO KRIS!!!!!!
 

Luxian

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It's never too late, hon! There are a lot of us out there who are starting "late". I'm 32 and will be starting this year and I'm not by any means the oldest in my class.

If you think you really are interested, try volunteering at a hospital or shadowing a doctor. It will not only be good for your application eventually, but it will give you a good sense of if you really want to be in that environment. It'll make the decision a little easier. Also, the process is a long one, so it will be at least a year or two before you start school. If it's hard to imagine your kids having to be more independent, can you imagine them in a couple years? The first two years of school are also class based, so while there is a lot of work it's also quite flexible (depending on the school). At some schools, you can still pick up the kids at school in the afternoons.

It is doable! Decide if this is really your path and then do it!
 

Luxian

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Sorry! I totally answered the wrong question there!

If it's forgetting all you knew that you're worried about, all I can say is try. I had been out of school 9 years when I took the MCAT. I was worried I'd forget everything, so I picked up some prep books. A lot of it came back! Yes, I'd forgotten just about everything, but learning it the second time is SO much easier than the first. It felt good to read about mitochondria and go "yeah, I remember that!"

Just try it. Spend $100 on an Examkrackers set and see how long it takes you to start getting those questions right. You'll be surprised!
 
OP
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commymommy

*reformed commymommy*
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Thanks for the responses.

Nanon...you and I really have been...around the block on this issue. I thought I had made peace with it a few years ago and I had settled into being a mom and having a big family....The whole...lymphoma thing just turned everything upside down. The irony is that I remember back then thinking that if I could just get through it, I would forever put my med school dreams/career aspirations to rest...and the exact opposite happeend. I ended up with this 'carpe diem', seize the day kind of thinking. I can't let it go. I'm approaching the big 38 in a couple of months and I can't help feel that at some point if I don't pull the trigger, my indecision will become a decision.

It's complicated by the fact that we have 5 children and I don't know how I would handle childcare issues. My husband wants me to just go to PA school (so that I can then work with him) and that does have its benefits.....but...sigh...

I hear all of the horror stories...heck....we've already done his residency and I know what it truly can be like. Do I want to put our marriage through it again? Our children? Can I afford (emotionally) not to try?

I know other people who started this road about the same time that I did and they ended up going to med school and are graduating this year and are heading on to residency. I have another friend who has 4 children who is now finishing up her second year of residency training in familiy practice. She says "go for it and don't look back".

gaaah. I wish it were that simple!

Kris
 

Nanon

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Hey, lady. The childcare thing is a bitch. I totally feel you on that, and I only have one. But here are some things to think about:

I work about 40 - 60 hours a week right now, can't remember the last real vacation I took. From what most of my friends in med school have said, this is about how much time they spend on lecture and studying. So I'm guessing that what I'm doing now is equivalent, at least timewise, to what I'll be doing once I get in, and right now, here's how it's working.

D. is 2, and in a great pre-school that costs 1200.00/month, going down to 900 once he's potty trained. Previously, he had a nanny who was with him about 6 hours a day, as that was all we could afford (1600.00/month). If I remember correctly, you only have one who is not in school, right? And that one will be ready for preschool pretty soon, and certainly by the time you actually matriculate. Some of daycare cost can be added to your loans. Have a college kid pick all of them up from school and be there until one of you gets home - about 3 hours, or 500 - 800 additional a month. Or... how old will your oldest be when you are in medical school? Maybe they can earn a few bucks babysitting for a few of their siblings? (Not all - even I understand what a baaad idea that would be, ahah).

My plan is to see how D. handles medical school before I chose a residency path. If he seems fine (no discipline problems, doing fine in school, etc.), I could even see myself doing surgery. But if not, well, FP or EM might be the way to go. He will be 6 when I'm in a position to chose, so I'll get his input, and my husband's, too.

The biggest obstacle is your husband, if I'm reading you right. Because as you know, he's going to have to be really, really down with this. The way I see it, though... dude, he totally owes you!:laugh:

Take away message (I really have to get back to work now)...

This is totally doable. Going to medical school is like having a very intense job. It will change the dynamics of your family, but maybe not for the worst. You, more than most people I know, have every right to want to wring the last drop out of your time on Earth. You can, but you'll have to be creative and brave. Not a stretch for someone like you...

S.
 

sawood

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I don't have any kids or a husband, but I did sit on the fence for a while before actually starting to pursue medicine. There were some confidence issues, for different reasons and on different things, but all lead to the same "should I do this, can I do this, will I be good at this, what if I am not good at this?" string of worries.

For me, the confidence came after I started down that path. Becomming a doctor was like an elephant I had to eat. I kept staring at the whole thing thinking :scared: holy crap how do I eat the entire thing? I can't do that, its too much....... But I started down the path anyway, and now that I look back, half the elephant is already gone! And, along the way my confidence grew and grew.

My suggestion is to start taking little bites. Break down becoming a doctor into achievable, measurable, less intimidating, smaller consecutive goals. Goal#1 might be to prepare for and take the MCAT. Don't worry about becoming a doctor, just focus on those first few steps. Before you know it, you'll have traveled a few miles and you'll look back and realize that you're half way there. If you change directions part way through (i.e. to PA, etc), that's fine too. At least you are giving your dreams a shot, and those dreams may change or may stay the same. You'll land somewhere good.

:luck:
 

julie walker

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I had graduated with pretty good GPA on the premed track at University of Florida a few years ago but did pharmacology instead. Now with a PHD in pharmacology, I want to go to med school. I did two more degrees in other areas nad still not satisfied. Now i am doing my bachelors in nursing and my mother thinks I am confuse. My two sisters are Doctors and they are pressuring me to go to med school. I have been in college since I was 18 years old and I just cannot stop myself from attending school. I am just a busy body who has to be in school to be comfortable. This seems to be a disease.
 

Macku

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I never gave a thought to med school.
I when to prep-school on scholarship then to a private college with scholarships and majored in biology. I hated lab work and the narrow minded focus of most of the peers.
Now I am finally ready to invest myself in something that serves people other then my landlord and myself.

What keeps me from the year or more slog-fest before I could even apply is, I hate Dr.s and hospitals.
We throw good money after bad in health-care and no ones healthy or cared for.
My step mother died of lung cancer recently and I saw Micheal moore's sicko. It all got me thinking. I could work with people and spend time caring for them as a PT (I love all things physical) but who is going to steer the ship.
I think a lot of non-trad.s are able to put more caring into their work because they have lived not just longer but more then the kids working their tails off from college through to MD. If I go to med school I consider it social activism. Gaining power and prestige with out sacrificing your fundamental humanity is hard in this society and we need more people "in charge" to use their hearts.
Wheew. that's been building up.
those are the reasons for me to or to not be an md.
 

lax

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For me, I am a RN with 5 +yrs ICU experience BSN degree 3.6-3.7 (overall gpa). I have a 6 month old little boy and am trying to decide bw CRNA school vs Med School route. My initial plan upon entering college was to be a MD (life-long goal)...too immature and became a professional student and decided I was broke and needed to make a quick move so went to nursing. I have enjoyed the career and had many experiences. I still, however, want to be a MD. My obstacles are: 1) my 6 month old- time with him/babysitter 2) my husband time 3) will I do good enough on MCAT? 4) I have to take Organic Chemistry I, II and Physics I, II 5) Debt of Medical school 6) length of time to get 4 classes/MCAT (1 year) + if admitted waited to be enrolled (1 year) + Medical school (4 yrs) 7) residency hour requirement/ MD work hour commitment

vs---

CRNA school

1) Less fulfilling-I would rather be MD (diagnosis, etc), 2) less debt, great pay 3) less work hour commitment and school length 4) more family time

So one or the other....gotta decide....
 

flip26

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I had graduated with pretty good GPA on the premed track at University of Florida a few years ago but did pharmacology instead. Now with a PHD in pharmacology, I want to go to med school. I did two more degrees in other areas nad still not satisfied. Now i am doing my bachelors in nursing and my mother thinks I am confuse. My two sisters are Doctors and they are pressuring me to go to med school. I have been in college since I was 18 years old and I just cannot stop myself from attending school. I am just a busy body who has to be in school to be comfortable. This seems to be a disease.
Actually, med schools are wary of "degree collectors" - the motivation for some people is the degree, not so much the career that follows...expect to be asked about this, write a really strong PS...but before getting that far, maybe you should "sit out" of school for a while and sort it all out...

Pure speculation, but it seems to me that the biggest red flag in a med app for you will be this bachelors in nursing you are currently pursuing post PHD - the question that would occur to me to ask is what did you do with the PHD (or why did you get a PHD and then do nothing with it?) - what research, or what job did you take in industry? - sounds like you did nothing with it, and to then go on to nursing school after that sounds a little kooky to me, especially if you then jump to med school...
 

Cpt Starbuck

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Watching my husband go through medical school and now residency makes me wonder if I really want to do it. I have considered the other options (PA/CRNA/AA/NP) but honestly I know I won't be satisfied. I've finally come to accept that. Children are going to be demanding whether I'm working or in school but at least I'm waiting on school until he's done with his training so we can afford to have someone help with the cleaning/childcare.

I think its hard to have a family and manage school but I've seen many strong women (and men) do it. Life isn't fun or even worth it if its not challenging ;) Have a support system is really important obviously but those hurdles of getting into medical school, is it worth it? That's my question. Do I want to go through at least 7 years of training and no life?