- 6 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013
Not sure if this belonged in work or school. So… I put it here because I guess it is more related to long-term career satisfaction than with temporary school stuff.
I was super excited when I found out that I had gotten into medical school. Now, I am having some doubts and wondering if I’m about to make a big mistake. I’ve been out of my undergrad school for a number of years now (let’s say, somewhere between 5 and 10 years). During this time, I’ve done a master’s degree and taken some pre-requisite classes for med school. I currently still have fairly substantial (>$40k) student loan debt. My job pays reasonably well, but it’s basically what engineers would make right out of college and to be honest, I don’t enjoy it anymore and can’t see myself staying in it for much longer. The downside is, my job is so specialized that to get into another field is really tough and when I tried last year I didn’t have any luck at all.
I’ve been working towards med school for so long, and I’m sure that I would enjoy classes and most likely enjoy being a physician. I really, really love studying how the human body works (and doesn’t), and I like getting to interact with people in medical contexts. But frankly, the thought of taking out so much in loans (likely around $150k+) makes me a little sick to my stomach. I don’t want to take a military scholarship because I don’t want to be at their mercy for 8 years after I graduate. My family can’t help pay for it. I know if I go the med route, I will probably be all paid off in the next 15-20 years, with plenty of career time left to save for retirement and do something I enjoy. But I worry that the lifestyle (especially during the 8-10 year learning phase) is going to be incompatible with being a good wife and good mother (I don’t have any kids yet, but we would like to), and that my schedule might be too busy to pursue the hobbies I really love with my FH. I’m worried that the training is so stressful that I’m not going to have or make time to take care of myself (e.g., gym, healthy diet, good sleep) and that in the end, maybe I’ll regret the things I didn’t do. I’ve considered other healthcare careers (RN, PA, etc.), but I would need to re-take quite a few expired science classes (probably at least around 60 credits) to fulfill their prerequisites and to be eligible for continued training in those areas. I’m sort of at the point where I don’t see that as being a good use of my time or money, and I’m not sure that they would be as good of a fit in terms of my interests and skills anyway.
BUT, on the flip side, there aren’t a lot of other things I’d like to do that pay enough to make them worth doing as a career. I’d probably enjoy photography (but I’m not great at it), writing (but I don’t really know how to break into that), working at a humane society (but I’d probably want to be a veterinarian then because I really am interested in medicine/physiology more than just about anything else), teaching (but I’d have to go back to school and jobs in my area are difficult/impossible to find at a K-12 level and I’m not really qualified to teach at a higher ed level). In general, I tend to believe that enjoyable hobbies should be left as hobbies and not as work because work tends to ruin the joy in most things over time and I like joy. I wouldn’t mind being a stay-at-home mom, but I don’t think it’s economically feasible and it would make me feel like an even bigger idiot for amassing such a gigantic educational debt in the first place. Plus, when the kids were older, I’d get restless, and I’ve seen how tough it is for women to break back into the job market after taking time off. I’m afraid if I quit and DON’T go to school, I’m going to end up either doing what I’m doing now and not enjoying it, or getting stuck in an even worse position in a job that I dislike even more that gives me even less free time and autonomy than I have now. I’m planning to move this summer, so I will be leaving my current job regardless. (I think.)
I was really full-steam-ahead about the med thing until recently when I spent a ton of time in another hospital with a close family member at the end of her life. It just hit home that close relationships are much more important than a person’s occupation, that life is precious, and that I have already sacrificed a lot of friendships in exchange for furthering my education. I’m getting married next fall and I’m actually kind of at a loss as to who to ask to be in my bridal party because my school and work and volunteer schedule has pulled me so far away from my friends that we hardly ever get to talk anymore. I’m not sure if I am still grieving the loss, if I just have a case of passing cold feet, or if this is my gut trying to keep me out of trouble. I really don’t know what to do. Any advice?