Can Being a Single Parent Prevent Me from Becoming a Doctor?

Can Being a Single Parent Prevent Me from Becoming a Doctor?

Session 40

In today’s episode, I answer a question from a single dad who is interested in going to medical school.

Can you be a single parent in medical school? Yes, you can find a way. One of the challenges is taking care of childcare. Childcare costs aren’t factored into federal loan allotments. So you need to solve that problem. If you have family that can help, that may be the best solution. But let’s dig into the details.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

As usual on the OldPreMeds Podcast, our question is taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum.

Our poster this week is a single dad who works two jobs and is in school full-time. He has shared custody of his son (50/50). He knows medical school is a full-time job. If he had full custody of his son, how flexible would medical schools be with this kind of situation? Are there any resources for this kind of situation or personal stories related to this?

Can You Be a Single Parent in Medical School?

A  lot of the nontraditional medical students who make it work have significant others in their life. Having that support structure and someone to share the work of childcare really helps. Medical school is not impossible for single parents, but there are some things that you need to consider.

Medical school is not impossible for single parents, but there are some things that you need to consider.Click To Tweet

Medical school is a full-time job. Actually, it’s a more-than-full-time job once you start your clinical years. Hence, you are going to rely on other people for the care of your child. How will you do that?

Do Medical Schools Have Resources for Single Parents?

Most medical schools do not have resources for single parents. Generally speaking, their job is to educate students to become physicians, not to be a daycare for the children of their students. That said, there may be a few schools that do offer daycare services. So that’s something you can look into while you’re making a possible school list.

The job of medical schools is to educate students to become physicians, not to be a daycare for the children of their students.Click To Tweet

Can You Take Out Loans to Pay for a Kid During Medical School?

If you’re the breadwinner for your family and you’re going to medical school, you need to consider if you’ll be able to take out enough loans to cover your family’s needs. Medical school loans from the federal government are capped at a specific budget set by your school. The budget doesn’t usually include any extra food or clothing for family members, much less for childcare costs.

If you have custody of your child and you have to pay for childcare, then that money has to come from somewhere. It won’t be built into your federal medical school loans. Either some of your family members help take care of the child, or they help pay for childcare, or you figure something else out. Private loans are not the best option.

Either some of your family members help take care of the child, or they help pay for childcare, or you figure something else out.Click To Tweet

Making Medical School Work as a Single Parent

The best situation is to have family members nearby in your life to help shoulder the burden of childcare. You can also explore other options, but somehow you need to be able to cover the cost of childcare or have a family member help with it. We always say it takes a village to raise a child, and in this situation it truly does.

If this is your dream, make it come true.Click To Tweet

Yes, it’s going to be stressful at times. Yes, your son will grow up for a couple of years without a ton of interaction from you. But you can go back and listen to some episodes of The Premed Years where we talked to single moms going through this process. Rebecca’s story is a great example. She figured out a way to make it work.

If becoming a physician is what you want to do, you will figure out a way to do this. You would not be the first single parent to become a physician. It can be done. If this is what you really want, then don’t give up hope. Troubleshoot the situation, find a way forward, and make it happen. 

If becoming a physician is what you want to do, you will figure out a way to do it. Click To Tweet

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