Working while entering a second bachelors/postbacc

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Sep 24, 2019
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Hi all, long time lurker.

Have a lot of questions to bother everyone with regarding my personal/academic situation but currently I want to reach out for any info for making it through these next two years.

Assuming I can find appropriate full or part time work, I want to know what people's experiences are with employment while a premed/pre graduate student.

I'm looking to start classes in the fall at a pretty fair priced college in the city.

I have a solid management degree(and debt) from a top tier business school where I hold some pretty thorough experience in my field, but my heart belongs to medicine and research after these past few years. I can't imagine doing anything else and want to follow through on this.

I've estimated my finances using my own excel spreadsheets and David Ramsay's everydollar.

Monthly at worst it may be around $750-1200+ for my rent/housing with other various costs, up to $600 for transportation and upkeep, $400 for food, $85 for my pet, up to $300 to $750 for healthcare(mostly physical therapy copays and assorted treatment), and $150 for personal spending(necessities only), $7 for subscriptions(apple music and icloud).

That's assuming $0 toward anything frivolous or related to a "lifestyle" like entertainment/travel/dating, or paying debts at 27 (75k in the hole with student loans, 50k in medical debt thanks to questionable surgeons playing god and 4/5 PT's half assing my care), or specifically current expenses related to postbacc education(expecting at most 20k a year, but am going to do my best to finance this through loans and do everything possible to the costs down including scholarships and honors programs if possible) -- as well with savings, or investments, and the like.

So now, at worst, I understand I may need to find work for 25-40 hours a week and earn up to 60-65k a year to survive through this period. I want to take at least 4 classes a semester as well and be aggressive toward my health and therapy protocols to get stable(and obviously stop putting money toward the system).

I know that I'll risk burnout too, but I want this more than anything. Can anyone speak to this being ideal while in premed? Am I an idiot for thinking this is a stable plan?

Appreciate your response, thank you.


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Apr 21, 2019
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Balancing pre-med and employment is possible, but it is difficult, involves a lot of sacrifice, and is not very sustainable long-term if you take on too much. I did a similar thing this past year. I had to reassess what was too much for me at various points, and I imagine you will face similar challenges if you proceed with your plan.

The other thing I would say is to be flexible going into this, if you choose to move forward. Throughout the past year, I faced lots of logistical challenges, such as when Gen Chem II was cancelled 3 days before it was supposed to start so I had to find an alternative university to take it with almost no notice to stay on track. Things like this happened countless times, so I had to readjust and find a way to move forward. It's been a good learning process and I think fostered problem solving skills that will help me as a physician, but facing so many roadblocks was definitely frustrating in the moment.

In any case, good luck and I wish you the best!
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Indoor Cat
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Aug 7, 2018
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I worked full time (40-60 hours/week) while doing my post-bac courses. It took me over 2 years to take 10 classes. It's definitely doable but you need to manage your expectations. I'd recommend maybe starting off with one class a semester and see how well you can handle it before adding more (and keep in mind the more classes you take, the more time it will required - ochem and biochem required a LOT of memorization). Working full-time versus working full-time then going to class and doing homework was a hard transition. You want to ease into it and not jump in. Getting a good GPA is key.

I was lucky where I got a job at a university so my courses were free, which is something I definitely recommend because it kept me employed, my employers were incredibly accommodating, and saved me thousands in tuition.

In addition to classes you also need to get experience with shadowing physicians and volunteering so that will add on to the load you need to do outside of just your classes.

Best of luck!


EM resident
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2014
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OP, I really think you need to pump the breaks and come up with a longer term plan.

According to your post, you already have $75k in student loans, plus taking another $20k in Postbacc loans. If you get into med school, you’ll have between $150-350k in med school loans. You then have 3-6 years of residency salary before you can reasonably pay off those loans. All the while your business school loans are in deferment and will capitalize.

So now you’ve busted your a** for the last 6 years to get your MD with as you are trying “no lifestyle/entertainment”. You’re working 80 hours a week and grinding. This is not even considering whatever your health is. You are the poster child for burnout.

I would figure out how to lower your current debt and reexplore this path in a few years.

FWIW, I’m a non-trad resident who started med school at 30 and did a formal post-bacc.
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Apr 28, 2020
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Yeah, it seems like the money factor is playing a large role here. You need to reassess your priorities; stop working and take out loans if med school is important. Find another job that allows you to pay off your loans if it isn't. You can't keep burning the candle at both ends--it's a recipe for disaster. Trust me (coming from another student who finished the pre-reqs after quitting my job).