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27, married, mortgage, pregnant w/ 2nd, career change


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Hi all! 

Background: 27. Married. 10 wks pregnant with 2nd child. Have a mortgage & $50k in student loans already. 

Undergrad GPA (small private school, forensic science major): 3.39 (worked almost full time & lots of issues with family life so many distractions). Graduated 2014.

Grad GPA: 3.8 (large university, started in the chemistry PhD program.. passed my PhD candidacy exam and a week later, decided it wasn’t worth it to continue bc I didn’t want to work in academia or research. I left with my M.Phil. in chemistry). Graduated 2016.

I’ve been working as a pharma sales rep for 2.5 years. It is a great job, but I need something more. I know med school is it. 

Q1: For those married with kids and a mortgage before entering med school.. Any words of wisdom? My husband makes ok money, but I’m not sure he can support a family, especially with my student loan payment (don’t want to defer and let it gain interest but would that be worse than taking out new loans to help live on?). 

Q2: Everything looks familiar and I’m remembering things quickly.. but studying for the MCAT is daunting being (what feels like) so far removed from undergrad. Any advice? Take a class? (I can’t pay for more college level classes right now) This is the scariest part of it all. 

Q3: Shadowing/ clinical experience. Isn’t the point of this to make sure you know what you’re getting into? I’m just wondering how much I really need to do, given that I’ve had a lot of exposure to the health care environment through my current job. I understand I haven’t been inside the exam room, but I have to ask this anyway. Also, the school in aiming for doesn’t state an hourly requirement on their website, but I think I’ll contact them and ask. 

Thanks for reading & I appreciate any advice you all can give! 

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Are you in Canada or US ?  I ask as you reference shadowing and college courses.  

In Canada,  undergrad GPA is a critical factor to achieve interviews and your Masters GPA does not come into play to a great extent.  Look at how some schools (Queens, UofT, Western) allow a weighted wGPA (ie,  last 2 years or drop xx marks) to see if your 3.39 cGPA might rise to a competitive level.  Otherwise you will need raise your undergrad GPA before applying.

Q1.  Once accepted, you should be able to acquire a LOC below prime for +$250K to cover medical school costs and living expenses.  You will go much deeper into debt with the assumption you can pay it off once you start practicing.    You can consolidate the $50K student loan to the LOC if it makes sense.  Your spouses income would need to cover the mortgage and most family expenses.  You do need to factor in the loss of your current salary contributing to the family's lifestyle for atleast 6 years.

Q2.  There is a wealth of self study material available for MCAT prep - scan this forum for options.   Try some practice tests to get a sense of how much you need to prepare.  I would not go back to school specifically for MCAT.

Q3.  Shadowing and clinical experience is not at all required for Canadian applications.   Many people do get it as part of preparing their EC (extracurricular) component of their application, but it is not mandatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for the response. I am in the US. 

I didn’t think about the consolidation option for the $50k. 

I’ll have to think more about my undergrad GPA I guess. My first two years weren’t great, but I did quite well in the last two.. getting As in physical chemistry 1 & 2 and biochemistry. 

Thanks again! 

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If you're looking at Canadian schools, see how each of them would calculate your GPA for admissions purposes and look at their admissions stats from previous years (they're generally available on school websites). At first glance your GPA is uncompetitive, so you need to figure out whether or not it is worth it for you to complete 2+ years more of full-time undergrad to achieve a more competitive (i.e. 3.9+) GPA.

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7 hours ago, Alw27 said:

Thank you for the response. I am in the US. 

I didn’t think about the consolidation option for the $50k. 

I’ll have to think more about my undergrad GPA I guess. My first two years weren’t great, but I did quite well in the last two.. getting As in physical chemistry 1 & 2 and biochemistry. 

Thanks again! 

if you're in the US, youll get more tailored and better advice on Student Doctor Network forums. Very different climate in some ways in the US for medicine admissions.

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Honestly you don't know what it's like being in medicine until you're knee deep in it and feel like you can't get out.

Shadowing won't tell you anything.

Are you sure you want to go into an astronomical amount of debt pursuing medicine in the US while deferring your income, being the lowest rung on the totem pole, having no autonomy over your schedule, and dealing with the uncertainty of what specialty is right for you, whether you'll match to what you want, possibly having to move across the country for training and having to do the whole application process plus interviewing that comes with medicine and residency? Not to mention the studying and working hours when you get into your clinical years, all of which will put a strain on your young family and husband as the sole income earner at that time.

IMHO not worth pursuing medicine.

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I don't know about your financial situation and what you can do to improve that for pursuing medicine, but I just want to share my two cents with you. First, US schools do look at increasing trends in the GPA very favorably, and they do make certain concessions for those holding graduate degrees, so you might not even need to do extra undergrad courses, depending on the schools you apply to. Second, if you have researched the ups and (many!) downs of medical education and still feel the intrinsic urge to pursue it, do not let anyone scare you away. I personally know many people who started medicine with husbands or children. I actually knew a lady who was in her early thirties, had 4 young children (youngest 6 months old) and was juggling a 2-year second undergrad to be able to apply (didn't have another option considering the high GPA requirements in Canada), and she got in last year! I would just say that she relied on a strong support system (in-laws to take care of the kids sometimes, supportive husband) to be able to pull that off, but she was determined and she kept saying that she'd regret it for the rest of her life if she didn't try.

Anyways, good luck with this journey and may god grant you the extra patience!

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You will likely be focused on applying to DO schools unless you're willing to improve your undergrad GPA. You should apply to some MD schools anyway of course, but it will be uphill to end up at one. For the MCAT it's all self-studying. If you need a class then there are some available from prep companies, but to be honest all they do is walk you through chapters of their prep books for a couple thousand $$$. IMO it's better to self-study and spend a couple hundred dollars on some prep tests, avoiding the prep courses completely. There are a lot of good/free resources on **DELETED** r/premed r/mcat if you want some specific material.

As freewheeler says, make sure you consider your decision carefully. From the finance perspective you will be adding 200-300k worth of tuition debt from an American med school.

When it comes to matching to a residency program, if you want anything other than primary care from a DO school you will face some disadvantage compared to your MD allopathic peers. For top tier competitive programs they may be almost out of reach completely. Unlike Canada, residency programs have a greater disparity amongst their quality so this does matter somewhat.

Medicine can be a rewarding career if you find a niche you enjoy but I agree in that I don't think it's possible to really know what it's like, nor what the training is like until you're there. I hope you're not romanticizing the career. It is stressful at all stages (except maybe as an attending) and involves uprooting your life typically at least 2 times. Even as an attending, working in America on top of dealing with the stressors we have in Canada, you'll be dealing work insurance companies extensively, thinking about your patient's finances, etc.

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19 hours ago, freewheeler said:

Honestly you don't know what it's like being in medicine until you're knee deep in it and feel like you can't get out.

Shadowing won't tell you anything.

Are you sure you want to go into an astronomical amount of debt pursuing medicine in the US while deferring your income, being the lowest rung on the totem pole, having no autonomy over your schedule, and dealing with the uncertainty of what specialty is right for you, whether you'll match to what you want, possibly having to move across the country for training and having to do the whole application process plus interviewing that comes with medicine and residency? Not to mention the studying and working hours when you get into your clinical years, all of which will put a strain on your young family and husband as the sole income earner at that time.

IMHO not worth pursuing medicine.

I appreciate you slapping me with the cold  hard truth. I truly do. 

I learned very quickly after making pretty decent money in pharma sales that it’s not all about money to me and I need a job I’m going to enjoy doing every day. 

I enjoy the hustle and I thrive under pressure.. but have I changed with regards to that lifestyle since I became a mom? Perhaps. 

You gave me things to think about. Thank you! 

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3 hours ago, 1D7 said:

You will likely be focused on applying to DO schools unless you're willing to improve your undergrad GPA. You should apply to some MD schools anyway of course, but it will be uphill to end up at one. For the MCAT it's all self-studying. If you need a class then there are some available from prep companies, but to be honest all they do is walk you through chapters of their prep books for a couple thousand $$$. IMO it's better to self-study and spend a couple hundred dollars on some prep tests, avoiding the prep courses completely. There are a lot of good/free resources on **DELETED** r/premed r/mcat if you want some specific material.

As freewheeler says, make sure you consider your decision carefully. From the finance perspective you will be adding 200-300k worth of tuition debt from an American med school.

When it comes to matching to a residency program, if you want anything other than primary care from a DO school you will face some disadvantage compared to your MD allopathic peers. For top tier competitive programs they may be almost out of reach completely. Unlike Canada, residency programs have a greater disparity amongst their quality so this does matter somewhat.

Medicine can be a rewarding career if you find a niche you enjoy but I agree in that I don't think it's possible to really know what it's like, nor what the training is like until you're there. I hope you're not romanticizing the career. It is stressful at all stages (except maybe as an attending) and involves uprooting your life typically at least 2 times. Even as an attending, working in America on top of dealing with the stressors we have in Canada, you'll be dealing work insurance companies extensively, thinking about your patient's finances, etc.

I’m not saying I know everything that comes with it. I guess I didn’t explain myself properly in my post... and I’m definitely not romanticizing the career. I listen to physicians and offices complain every single day. Every day. I’m well aware that it is tough work.. the pressures of seeing so many patients each day, insurance, Medicare wellness, etc.. and that it all may change come the next election in the US if the US begins working toward some type of universal health care coverage. I am aware that there’s so many difficulties to be dealt with daily and I’m aware that I still don’t know about all of them. Despite all of that, I do believe it’s a career that I would enjoy.

Good info on prep classes and DO vs MD. I’m in the very early stages of this process so it all helps. 

Thank you! 

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12 hours ago, Moonlight2 said:

I don't know about your financial situation and what you can do to improve that for pursuing medicine, but I just want to share my two cents with you. First, US schools do look at increasing trends in the GPA very favorably, and they do make certain concessions for those holding graduate degrees, so you might not even need to do extra undergrad courses, depending on the schools you apply to. Second, if you have researched the ups and (many!) downs of medical education and still feel the intrinsic urge to pursue it, do not let anyone scare you away. I personally know many people who started medicine with husbands or children. I actually knew a lady who was in her early thirties, had 4 young children (youngest 6 months old) and was juggling a 2-year second undergrad to be able to apply (didn't have another option considering the high GPA requirements in Canada), and she got in last year! I would just say that she relied on a strong support system (in-laws to take care of the kids sometimes, supportive husband) to be able to pull that off, but she was determined and she kept saying that she'd regret it for the rest of her life if she didn't try.

Anyways, good luck with this journey and may god grant you the extra patience!

Thank you so much! I was slightly discouraged after a couple other responses so I appreciate you sharing a positive story with me! 

I am in the same boat. I will regret it if I don’t try. I don’t know if there’s anything worse than not living up to your potential. 

You are awesome. Thank you, again! 

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22 hours ago, Alw27 said:

Thank you so much! I was slightly discouraged after a couple other responses so I appreciate you sharing a positive story with me! 

I am in the same boat. I will regret it if I don’t try. I don’t know if there’s anything worse than not living up to your potential. 

You are awesome. Thank you, again! 

:) Glad I could help! I would say motivation and knowing why you want to undertake any huge responsibility is important, but I totally agree, not living up to your potential is up there on the list of the worsts! Look for people like yourself on you tube or forums (keeping in mind you'll have to skip a lot of negativity on forums), get motivation and tips from them and ask how they could get through it all.

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