Successful ladies, mothers and driven achievers-it was so refreshing and motivating to come across this website and read your posts. I am a mother of a beautiful 2.5 year old son, happily married for nine years now and currently deployed in Afghanistan missing it all. However, being away has offered me time to reflect on my life goals. I find that yet again the desire to pursue a career in medicine springs to the forefront of my mind. Shortly after starting college I uncovered a fascination and curiosity for physical science and the mechanics of the human body. I was already obligated to military service so I didn’t follow this dream but kept my options open through completion of most pre-required course work (except organic chemistry). Now, after serving 10 years in the Marine Corps I still cannot stop thinking about this deep rooted desire-the idea of studying medicine just excites me! I find studying the body and how it works to be a fascinating journey. I feel very passionate about it. Aside from observing a few surgeries and working in a physical therapy clinic, I have not done much volunteering in the traditional sense but I have certainly been exposed to medicine much more than the average non-health care provider. I work long hours with my current employment and hope to find at least a few hours a week to clock some candy striper hours in the near future. The purpose of my post today is to voice some of my reservations and look for advice from those who have already completed the journey or are currently on their way.
I have three big concerns holding me back from my pursuit: 1- As a mother, will I sacrifice the young years of my son’s life and miss out on milestones and memories if I am in school or residency? Will I be able to have more children and nurse and nurture them or will I resent always having to leave them in the hands of another? Certainly I am a woman who enjoys balancing motherhood with work; and I need to feel a sense of purpose from my work, but I am trying to determine how much is too much. 2- Am I smart enough? I have never failed at anything, but it is not from natural abilities-it is from sheer will power. Long after the gifted are done I continue to study, read and try to synthesize the day’s lessons. I view myself as an average scholar-I have never been a great test taker (I only performed average on the ACT/SATs) but my grades have always been very good (Cum Laude with a BS in Physiology from Ohio State University). This compounded with the fact that I am 10 years post-college has me concerned. I don't want to get in over my head and succumb to overwhelming stress that reduces my quality of life. 3- Do I want to leave the Marine Corps? It is a career I am good at and that is now familiar to me. I resent so many hours away from my family though and am not sure that I can do anymore 6-8 month deployments. I know it may not be much better with medicine, but I would be following my life’s passion. Please help! I would value any and all thoughts as I indecisively stand a fork in the road-both leading to two very different ends.