I am in the final year of a part-time law degree (which I undertook as a mature student) however I do not want to pursue a legal career. I have always wanted to be a doctor and am now seriously considering GEM, however, I want to take a year between my law degree and GEM to give time to save money and also study for the GAMSATS. I'm a firm believer that you should enjoy what you do so I have no qualms changing careers - I will consider my medical career as starting on day one of the GEM course.
Financial and other difficulties aside (gulp), entering GEM at 30 means I would be finished at 34/35. I would then need to specialise, which takes another 4-6 years. I am a woman and I know for sure that I want to have children. My question is, what format does specialty training take? Could I take maternity leave during this time or is is an x year commitment with no breaks? Also is the work so demanding while doing specialist training that having a child would be out of the question? I do not want to sacrifice and work so hard to get through GEM, only to be faced with the a situation where I cannot have a family if I want to pursue a medical career. I know this seems overly practical, but I'm afraid I can't leave something like this to chance in the hope that "everything will work out!" I would appreciate honest advice from anyone who has an insight.
I think 30 is fine....at 35 qualified you'd have 30 years in a profession you'd "ENJOY"
However, with kids thrown into the mix I think it becomes quite difficult. I assume most doctors are finishing their specialisation and then starting a family. I do think doing both will be hard, but so what. Life is short do what you want.
You aren't being over practical - doing GEM is going to require some sacrifices and it's good to be aware of these at your stage. I thought long and hard about these things myself before I started, so can appreciate where you're coming from. Some training schemes can be done in relatively short periods of time (for instance, GP takes 4 years post-intern, assuming you get onto a scheme) and increasingly schemes are becoming more streamlined but there's no guarantees that the area you want to get into would be streamlined and wouldn't involve lots of moving between jobs and areas and a lengthy training period. If you look at the various websites such as the RCPI, there's information about the various schemes and they all mention flexible methods of training, including breaks, part time, etc. How realistic this is, I can't tell you. If you know of any doctors who are in schemes, maybe chat to them and get an idea how it is for them or their friends. I do know that many students and doctors have kids throughout medical school / training and the advice that goes around time and time again is to have kids when you want to have them.
If you want to be a doctor and want to have kids, go for it. It can all work out, it is possible but there will be sacrifices in terms of time and money spent, energy, time with kids/social life/family compared to staying in a job with regular hour and pay.