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PAthrowaway

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Hope all of you are well. I'm currently 30 and working as a Pathologist Assistant. The work is OK, but many times I just don't find it to be intellectually challenging. I've had multiple doctors I've worked with tell me, "X, you're smart and young, why don't you apply to med school?". Medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion and also I'm not sure if it would be worth the opportunity cost (I currently make about 90k, loans paid off and have some money saved up).

My question is: if you were in my position, what would you do? I wouldn't say I'm looking for advice along the lines of, " find your passion and pursue that...". I'm very literally asking, if YOU were in my position, what would you do?

Many of you are potentially brilliant, so it would be interesting to hear your insight :).
 

caffeinemia

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I wouldn't do it, but I'm too lazy to type it all out... PM if you're really that curious, I guess.
 

SpartanWolverine

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I left a decent job to start med school... but I wasn't making anywhere close to $90k (had no idea pathologist assistants made that much!) and I'll be in residency by 30. If I were you, I would look for a new job that is more intellectually challenging where you can apply your current knowledge.

... because yikes, losing out on 400k in salary plus spending 200k+ on tuition plus the stress plus the years of residency pay... I dunno, it sounds like you're in a decent place and just need a bit of a change.
 
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Goro

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Medicine is a calling, like being a priest or a fireman. What does your heart tell you?

Frankly, I think a PhD would suit you better, if you're just looking for more intellectual stimulation.



Hope all of you are well. I'm currently 30 and working as a Pathologist Assistant. The work is OK, but many times I just don't find it to be intellectually challenging. I've had multiple doctors I've worked with tell me, "X, you're smart and young, why don't you apply to med school?". Medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion and also I'm not sure if it would be worth the opportunity cost (I currently make about 90k, loans paid off and have some money saved up).

My question is: if you were in my position, what would you do? I wouldn't say I'm looking for advice along the lines of, " find your passion and pursue that...". I'm very literally asking, if YOU were in my position, what would you do?

Many of you are potentially brilliant, so it would be interesting to hear your insight :).
 
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cyclopes93

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pathologist assistants are amazing let me tell you. Their 90k salary is pretty damn on the skill set they present. They can read those slides like it's your birthday...not even kidding. I agree with Goro. A PhD would be an excellent complement to the area you specialize and you can be a professor eventually; highly recommended.
 
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PAthrowaway

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Does it matter what we would do? We're not you.
I actually agree. I definitely wouldn't haphazardly be taking anybody's opinion on this. But I do think it would be beneficial to hear other people's perspective, especially if they are already done with med school and have "been there, done that".
I wouldn't do it, but I'm too lazy to type it all out... PM if you're really that curious, I guess.
Thanks.
I left a decent job to start med school... but I wasn't making anywhere close to $90k (had no idea pathologist assistants made that much!) and I'll be in residency by 30. If I were you, I would look for a new job that is more intellectually challenging where you can apply your current knowledge.

... because yikes, losing out on 400k in salary plus spending 200k+ on tuition plus the stress plus the years of residency pay... I dunno, it sounds like you're in a decent place and just need a bit of a change.
Thanks johnamo. Very much appreciated. These were some of the same thoughts that were going through my mind.
Medicine is a calling, like being a priest or a fireman. What does your heart tell you?

Frankly, I think a PhD would suit you better, if you're just looking for more intellectual stimulation.
Thanks Goro. Maybe you're right. Maybe I need to do some introspection.
 
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snowflakes

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Hope all of you are well. I'm currently 30 and working as a Pathologist Assistant. The work is OK, but many times I just don't find it to be intellectually challenging. I've had multiple doctors I've worked with tell me, "X, you're smart and young, why don't you apply to med school?". Medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion and also I'm not sure if it would be worth the opportunity cost (I currently make about 90k, loans paid off and have some money saved up).

My question is: if you were in my position, what would you do? I wouldn't say I'm looking for advice along the lines of, " find your passion and pursue that...". I'm very literally asking, if YOU were in my position, what would you do?

Many of you are potentially brilliant, so it would be interesting to hear your insight :).

If it were me, I would not do it. The whole process is hard and a lot of work. Not saying you can't do it, but I don't think you need to put yourself through all of that for some more intellectual challenge. Seems like your life is pretty well settled. Do you really feel driven to give all that up? I can't answer that for you, but sounds like no, given you say "medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion." Lots of other ways to get more intellectual stimulation in a less drastic way.

That said, not trying to discourage you. If you feel a burning desire to become a doctor, and you will jump through whatever hoops necessary, then go for it! Seems like lots of people start older than you, and find a lot of satisfaction in their career change. However, definitely not worth it for everyone, especially if you don't quite have a burning desire.
 
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Mad Jack

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Hope all of you are well. I'm currently 30 and working as a Pathologist Assistant. The work is OK, but many times I just don't find it to be intellectually challenging. I've had multiple doctors I've worked with tell me, "X, you're smart and young, why don't you apply to med school?". Medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion and also I'm not sure if it would be worth the opportunity cost (I currently make about 90k, loans paid off and have some money saved up).

My question is: if you were in my position, what would you do? I wouldn't say I'm looking for advice along the lines of, " find your passion and pursue that...". I'm very literally asking, if YOU were in my position, what would you do?

Many of you are potentially brilliant, so it would be interesting to hear your insight :).
I was in an allied health field and made the switch at 29. The opportunity cost is huge, but the cost of being bored for the rest of my life was far greater.
 
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Siggy

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Medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion and also I'm not sure if it would be worth the opportunity cost (I currently make about 90k, loans paid off and have some money saved up).

No. Medicine has to be a passion. This isn't some sort of idealist crap either. It's a "You're a 33 year old MS2 spending $30-50k for tuition and spending every waking moment studying" or "You're a 36 year old PGY 1 working 60-80 hours a week with a day off (sometimes only the 24 hours switching from days to nights) making $50k/year and hating life in general," but you still have to be able to say that you love your job. Otherwise med school and residency will chew you up and spit you out.
 
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BidingMyTime

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You are well settled in life, why would you want to mess that up for something that you don't have a burning desire for? I would suggest getting a hobby, doing volunteer work, take some on-line courses in a fascinating subject.....there are lots of ways to get intellectual stimulation without disrupting ones entire life.
 
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ProudMD

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I would like to echo what others have said. From a purely financial perspective, going to medical school is probably not worth it for someone in your situation. However, there's more to life than just money. If you genuinely want to pursue medicine, then by all means go for it. 30 is a perfectly fine age to start medical school.
 
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NYCdude

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If I was in your situation, I would not do it. 90k salary with no debt + savings is a lot of money.
 
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BIOGUY2119

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Hope all of you are well. I'm currently 30 and working as a Pathologist Assistant. The work is OK, but many times I just don't find it to be intellectually challenging. I've had multiple doctors I've worked with tell me, "X, you're smart and young, why don't you apply to med school?". Medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion and also I'm not sure if it would be worth the opportunity cost (I currently make about 90k, loans paid off and have some money saved up).

My question is: if you were in my position, what would you do? I wouldn't say I'm looking for advice along the lines of, " find your passion and pursue that...". I'm very literally asking, if YOU were in my position, what would you do?

Many of you are potentially brilliant, so it would be interesting to hear your insight :).

No. Medicine has to be a passion. This isn't some sort of idealist crap either. It's a "You're a 33 year old MS2 spending $30-50k for tuition and spending every waking moment studying" or "You're a 36 year old PGY 1 working 60-80 hours a week with a day off (sometimes only the 24 hours switching from days to nights) making $50k/year and hating life in general," but you still have to be able to say that you love your job. Otherwise med school and residency will chew you up and spit you out.

I second the above, w/o the passion for medicine you will be hating your life for the next 8 yrs. I am leaving a job that pays about 140K per year for medicine and the main reason I am doing it is b/c I feel deeply that it is my calling. If I was questioning my passion for medicine I would definitely reconsider. Follow your heart...
 
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caffeinemia

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Yeah, I am sad that I went straight to med school. I should have done some investment banking after I graduated...
 

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From your first post I would say don't do it. It needs to be a burning desire with great internal motivations at this point.
 
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PAthrowaway

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Thank you all for the replies.
If it were me, I would not do it. The whole process is hard and a lot of work. Not saying you can't do it, but I don't think you need to put yourself through all of that for some more intellectual challenge. Seems like your life is pretty well settled. Do you really feel driven to give all that up? I can't answer that for you, but sounds like no, given you say "medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion." Lots of other ways to get more intellectual stimulation in a less drastic way.
Thanks snowflakes. I wouldn't necessarily say my life is well settled... I basically question everyday why I decided to go into this field. I think this is mainly for two reasons: 1. There isn't much advancement. I'll basically be doing the same thing for the rest of my life. 2. It's a very small field. If I were to lose my job, I would potentially have to seriously consider the prospect of moving.
I was in an allied health field and made the switch at 29. The opportunity cost is huge, but the cost of being bored for the rest of my life was far greater.
Thanks madjack. I'm glad you found your passion!
@PAthrowaway check out the nontraditional forum too. We gave a whole punch of posts on making the decision to change careers to medicine, going later in life, etc.
Thanks wholeheartedly!
You are well settled in life, why would you want to mess that up for something that you don't have a burning desire for? I would suggest getting a hobby, doing volunteer work, take some on-line courses in a fascinating subject.....there are lots of ways to get intellectual stimulation without disrupting ones entire life.
Thanks BidingMyTime. Please see my response to snowflakes.
If I was in your situation, I would not do it. 90k salary with no debt + savings is a lot of money.
Thanks NYCdude. But since you brought up the financial aspect, wouldn't a physician making 300k a year make more in the long run?
I second the above, w/o the passion for medicine you will be hating your life for the next 8 yrs. I am leaving a job that pays about 140K per year for medicine and the main reason I am doing it is b/c I feel deeply that it is my calling. If I was questioning my passion for medicine I would definitely reconsider. Follow your heart...
Thanks for sharing your story BIOGUY2119, that is a huge leap. I'm glad you found something you feel so deeply about. Good luck in med school!
Yeah, I am sad that I went straight to med school. I should have done some investment banking after I graduated...
Investment banking was actually one of the other potential career paths I was considering, lol.
 
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audsquad86

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Hope all of you are well. I'm currently 30 and working as a Pathologist Assistant. The work is OK, but many times I just don't find it to be intellectually challenging. I've had multiple doctors I've worked with tell me, "X, you're smart and young, why don't you apply to med school?". Medicine sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's my passion and also I'm not sure if it would be worth the opportunity cost (I currently make about 90k, loans paid off and have some money saved up).

My question is: if you were in my position, what would you do? I wouldn't say I'm looking for advice along the lines of, " find your passion and pursue that...". I'm very literally asking, if YOU were in my position, what would you do?

Many of you are potentially brilliant, so it would be interesting to hear your insight :).

Finally! It's great to hear someone else in a situation very similar to mine....I am a working Pathologists' Assistant as well. I originally was between applying to medical school and PA school a few years ago and thought the shorter program length and lighter responsibility load would be what I wanted, allowing me to devote more time and energy to other areas of my life. Turns out, it's not enough. I like my job and LOVE pathology but I already feel myself bumping the "glass ceiling" and wishing for more responsibility...and not in the managerial or administrative role, which I feel is the only upward path for PAs. I realize that medicine IS my passion, and that I want to be making the diagnosis, not just aiding in the process. So, I've decided that I'm going for it and I'm applying this application cycle. I took the MCAT earlier this winter and am currently working on the AMCAS application and researching schools. I can't speak for you on what you should do, but it's worth for me to go for my dream....even if I am losing $400,000+ in the process in salary and taking on all the debt, not to mention all the work and stress of medical school and residency. In the end it's just something you're going to have to decide for yourself. It wasn't an easy decision for me, but it's my life and I'm not going to be satisfied until I do it. So I'm doing it. Btw, I'll be 30 when I start med school if I get accepted this next application cycle.
 

NYCdude

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@PAthrowaway, there's no guarantee that you'd be making 300k. And even if you did, you wouldn't be making that kind of money for at least 7 years minimum considering school and residency, and most likely 10+ considering how big of a loan you'd have to pay off. In the meanwhile, you lost out on 400k while in school and another 100k during residency. Not to mention all the time required and stress involved.

So I wouldn't trade a near 100k salary in the prime of my life for 250k+ when I'm beginning my 40's and after I've lost all my time in my early 30's due to school and training.
 
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PAthrowaway

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Finally! It's great to hear someone else in a situation very similar to mine....I am a working Pathologists' Assistant as well. I originally was between applying to medical school and PA school a few years ago and thought the shorter program length and lighter responsibility load would be what I wanted, allowing me to devote more time and energy to other areas of my life. Turns out, it's not enough. I like my job and LOVE pathology but I already feel myself bumping the "glass ceiling" and wishing for more responsibility...and not in the managerial or administrative role, which I feel is the only upward path for PAs. I realize that medicine IS my passion, and that I want to be making the diagnosis, not just aiding in the process. So, I've decided that I'm going for it and I'm applying this application cycle. I took the MCAT earlier this winter and am currently working on the AMCAS application and researching schools. I can't speak for you on what you should do, but it's worth for me to go for my dream....even if I am losing $400,000+ in the process in salary and taking on all the debt, not to mention all the work and stress of medical school and residency. In the end it's just something you're going to have to decide for yourself. It wasn't an easy decision for me, but it's my life and I'm not going to be satisfied until I do it. So I'm doing it. Btw, I'll be 30 when I start med school if I get accepted this next application cycle.
Great to hear from you audsquad86! I agree with you about the work. I like the work, but many times I feel like I could be making better use of my abilities. I also loved reading Robbins and Cotran! I think if you're a person who considered med school and then went to PA school, you probably won't be content being a PA.
I'm happy you're resolute about going to med school and wish you the best of luck! I doubt I'd be able to help in any way, but if there is, let me know!
 

PAthrowaway

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@PAthrowaway, there's no guarantee that you'd be making 300k. And even if you did, you wouldn't be making that kind of money for at least 7 years minimum considering school and residency, and most likely 10+ considering how big of a loan you'd have to pay off. In the meanwhile, you lost out on 400k while in school and another 100k during residency. Not to mention all the time required and stress involved.

So I wouldn't trade a near 100k salary in the prime of my life for 250k+ when I'm beginning my 40's and after I've lost all my time in my early 30's due to school and training.
@NYCdude good point.
 
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