Katherine Overcame Her Fears and Is Going for it!

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Session 86

Katherine posted in the forums that an NPR story about tuition assistance finally gave her the push to pursue a career as a physician.

Also listen to our many other premed podcasts including The MCAT Podcast, The Premed Years Podcast, Specialty Stories. Our newest one in the mix is Ask Dr. Gray Premed Q&A, where I take my daily live streams from Facebook and turn them into podcast episodes. So I’m answering questions and I dish out my thoughts when I’m talking to students I’m working with. I go on Facebook for about 20-30 minutes everyday and talk about it.

A couple of quick announcements – On August 21, I will be in Anaheim doing a meetup. Go to our Premed Hangout Group to find out more about it. On August 23, The Premed Years Podcast has been nominated for a science and medicine award for the Academy of Podcasters. The award ceremony that night is free for everybody. I’ll be in town for the conference so if you would like to go to the award ceremony, shoot me an email at ryan@medicalschoolhq.net.

November 4-5, 2017 is AMSA PremedFest in Tampa, Florida at USF. I will be there and speak about the interview process. I’ll have a table set up. Come by and say hi. Use the promo code MSHQ17 to save some money off the registration.

Back to our episode today, we take questions directly from the OldPreMeds.org forums and answer them here on the podcast. If you don’t already have one, register for an account. Ask questions. Let the community help you and I will also try to help you here on the podcast.

[03:08] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I heard an NPR segment a few months ago about the rural health scholarship and it motivated me to look at what exactly is available for tuition assistance. The last mental barrier to pursuing my MD was removed. I’ve danced around the decision my entire life. I went to school to be a dietitian. I worked for in-home care. I currently work as an insurance specialist doing medical billing. But I had a huge mental block to making the final step. What if I can’t make it? What if I do make it and can’t pay for it? What do I do if I make it, can pay for it, but my other obligations are just too much for me to concentrate on my coursework?

The ultimate caveat to all of this this, I’m a single parent to a son with a mental disability. His father took off when he was diagnosed. I’ve spent the past six years teaching him skills that comes naturally to most children. But after all this time, he is as functional and mature as one could expect from a nine-year-old. I’ve taken stock of my chances and made a plan. I have a 3.3 GPA which I acquired working full-time, raising him on my own. And I’m going to spend the next year working and self-studying while saving money and paying off things like my car so my expenses will be low. The next year, I can continue to work while going back for the last two recommended classes then take the MCAT. Giving myself a couple of years to study has take a lot of the pressure off. It also gives me and my son time to acclimate to another schedule and a new set of responsibilities. His maturity level at thirteen – by the time I’m in my third year – should be high enough to handle me not being as available.

I want to be a family physician in an underserved area. I want it very badly. I study everyday and listen to podcasts for about six hours every week day including the OldPreMeds. This podcast and community have answered so many questions and given me access to so many resources. They’ve generally given me hope for my path. Thank you so much for being available to us nontrads.”

[05:38] Paying Back Loans

This is a great story of overcoming a ton to be where you’re at to start mining up everything. I’ve talked a lot with financial advisors on The Premed Years Podcast about paying back loans. When you’re a physician, you’re going to have debt and it’s okay. You will pay them back.

It sounds weird but it shouldn’t be a factor going $100 to $200k in debt to get this education. It should not be a factor in determining whether or not you go to medical school.

If you’re not sure that you want to have that much debt, then you’re not sure if you want to be a doctor. If you want to be a doctor, you will make it happen. You take out the student loans. And you pay them back as soon as you can, as often as you can, when you can.

[07:00] Getting the Support Structure

It’s great that Katherine figured out for herself here finally after this NPR piece. She will have a lot of difficulties being a single mom, more so of a child with mental disabilities. And that’s okay. You will figure out for yourself the support structure you’re going to need. Hopefully you have some family around where you go to school. You have a nanny or whatever the school offers you for whatever condition your son has. There are tons of things to think about; but as long as you think about them then you’re on the right path. If this is what you want then you do it. If you want to be a physician, you figure out a way to do it.

[08:00] Be Careful with Loan Forgiveness

Again, listen in to episode 44 of The Premed Years on the different ways to payback student loans. There’s the National Health Service Corps, the loan forgiveness stuff for rural medicine. But you always have to be careful on these things. There’s been some talk in our current government that they’re going to take away that loan forgiveness aspect. So a lot of physicians are very worried. They’ve been working in the public sector making less than they probably could somewhere else. They’re hoping to hit that ten-year mark and have the rest of their loans forgiven. But now there’s talk that option is going away. So you always have to be prepared to pay back all of your loans. And if some of that is forgiven then great.

[09:10] Final Quick Announcements

November 4-5, 2017 – The AMSA PremedFest in Tampa at USF. Use the promo code MSHQ17 to save some money off your registration by October 25, 2017.

August 21 – Dinner meetup at Anaheim

August 23 – Academy of Podcasters Awards Ceremony (If you want to attend that, shoot me an email at ryan@medicalschoolhq.net)


The MCAT Podcast

The Premed Years Podcast

Specialty Stories



AMSA PremedFest (Use the promo code MSHQ17 to save some money off the registration)

PMY 44: How to Pay Back Your Medical School Loans

Academy of Podcasters Awards Ceremony


Coming Soon