Too Late? Non-traditional + New mom

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    I have spent 15 years in AEC (construction industry -started fairly young), I am even a state-licensed architect currently enrolled in a doctoral program, but continue to have this “heart” for surgery.

    Every certain few years I come back around to the idea of applying to medical school and becoming a surgeon, and every time I give up on that idea feeling as if I don’t have time… I can remember 3 distinct times when it has happened.

    Now, I am a new mom -have a 3 month old, and I am 35, and I want to get the overarching general opinion as to whether I am too late to get started. Per my calculations I could potentially be board certified by the time I am 46 or 47.
    Is that too late in surgery?
    Is it true I would miss my daughter’s entire life?
    If it true I would LIVE in the hospital?… or are these all just myths and the program and residency aren’t anything beyond a real challenge.

    My husband, though stands by me on everything I decide, keeps stating I may be too late; however he is 13 years older than I am and I keep reminding him in that time I would have finished…
    He stresses over this a lot, but I want to do this for my family -and for my daughter.

    I am scared of leaping in, although I am more terrified of ending my life in regret for not having followed my instinct (so many times over),
    Plus, I feel if I jumped in I would only serve as a very good example to my daughter in the future of always pursuing her dreams despite all challenges.

    Any advise truly welcomed.
    Intending to have made a decision and complete my application within the next 12 months.


    It is not too late, but like with anything there is a trade off. Surgery is the least family-friendly of all fields of medicine. You may teach your daughter about how one can achieve one’s dreams, but you will also not be available to parent her very much. Not that there is anything wrong with that…your husband may be a fantastic primary parent, and you may have lots of support from family members. Or you may find that you have little support in raising her and feel awful about not being there for her. It totally depends on your situation and your own values.

    The myths you list are myths, but there is a grain of truth to all of them. Surgery is a hard life and some people find that they cannot stay up all night and operate as easily when they are older. You will not miss your daughter’s entire life, but you will miss significant things. You will not live in the hospital, but you will spend at least 80 hours a week there.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!


    At the rate I’m going, I’ll become a Physician in my 50’s. My worry about this fact? Nonexistent. So no, you’re definitely NOT too old.


    I totally relate to you… I am 35 years old, with 4 children (ranging from 14 to 7) with an amazing husband and extremely supportive mother. However am a compliance director in a tier 1 bank which makes my decision (to others not to me!) painful i.e. oh, your salary, your career, your work life balance, work from home out the window etc…

    Deep down I am afraid that I will be too old for that much study but medicine is what my mother practiced her entire life which I ALWAYS admired.

    It seems like we are in same boat…start an undergraduate degree to sit MCAT to then attempt a medical school acceptance. You posted a 5 months ago; have you started your research? What’s the status? Apologies I cant help providing info but we could share experiences… 😉

    I wish you all the best x

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