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I don't know what to do with my life

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Megnyc, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. Megnyc

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    So, for anyone who does not know, I went through the process of applying for MD/PhD programs (all are MSTPs) over the past year. I applied to 36 schools, interviewed at 22, and have now narrowed it down 2 different programs. My boyfriend was applying for MD programs so we needed 2 spots at the same school which is why I went to almost all of the interviews I was offered. I have a big problem though. School A is more prestigious than School B. And (most importantly) offers free health insurance for all 6-8 years with no deductible, super low copays, and absolutely amazing coverage. School B is a much better fit for me and I am very confident I would be happier there. School B offers absolutely horrible health insurance (I actually have no idea how it meets the ACA requirements) so I would have to stay on my parents insurance. The issue comes when I turn 26 which since I am 21 now would probably occur during my second to last year of the program. I have no idea what I would do for insurance in that case. I do not think I would be unhappy at School A but it just doesn't seem like the greatest fit for me. Both offer pretty equivalent stipends once you take into account cost of living. My boyfriend has scholarships at both schools and refuses to make a decision. We are supposed to move in May (our current lease is up May 15) which is going to be a problem because we can't even start looking for apartments since we do not know where we are going.

    I don't know what to do. It seems crazy to make a decision based on what is going to happen 5 years down the road but ending up in a situation with really bad health insurance seems like a disaster waiting to happen for someone with diabetes (let alone the fact that I am still followed by oncology). I understand the healthcare exchanges are available but the plans are expensive and have high out of pocket maximums. So, what do I do? Should I go to the school I know I would be less happy at because of the security of having good health insurance? Should I just hope things change in 5 years? I know I can get COBRA for 36 months but the plan I have through my mom is super expensive so I have no idea how I would be able to afford it. My preference would not be to be getting financial help from my parents at the age of 26 but I am sure they would pay the premium if I were to ask (and it would not be difficult for them to afford it).

    ETA: Just to clarify, in terms of my future career goals, either program would be fine. School A might give me a slight edge in terms of residency options but really they are about equivalent. The reasons I would be happier at School B have nothing to do with the quality of the education/research experience I would have.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  2. Cheetah-cub

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    I would go with school A. It is more prestigious, offers great health care, and better residency options.

    However, I don't know what your personal reasons are for preferring school B. Whatever they maybe, if you truly want to go to school B, and the only real concern is health care cost, then go to school B, and ask mom and dad to help pay for the health care cost (since they can afford it.)

    Just because you turned 18, you don't actually stop being someone's child. If my T1D child were in medical school or any graduate school program, and needs my help with healthcare cost, as long as I can afford the expense, I would gladly help.
     
  3. Ali

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    I would go with the school that you think is the better fit. When you get to that point the school might very well be offering a different health insurance or because you are into your last few years might consider helping you pay for additional insurance etc. Just evaluate why you prefer one over the other, but do not ignore that basic "instinct" of something not be being right for you. Important to pay attention to that in job searches also. Good luck. ali
     
  4. obtainedmist

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    I would go to the school you feel is a better fit for you! Hands down! You'd be surprised how many options you might have with health care (assuming that the ACA and it's help for those in lower income brackets continues). Why not go on the health exchange for the state where your preferred school is located and see what is available for 2015. No plan can exceed the out of pocket max set by the ACA. For 2015 that's $6600 for the individual and $13,200 for a family. Of course, some are less. That out of pocket max is for something like a lengthy hospital stay, etc. It's the safety net for something horrible happening. What you'll find is differences in the deductibles, what applies towards the deductibles and what percentage of coinsurance you'll be paying for things like DME, etc. I've helped both my kids get good insurance at a doable rate. Knowing your costs in a year makes it easy to compare the various plans. We could easily see how much we would save in DME on one plan vs. another. The first year, we chose a plan with a $500 deductible and after that all DME was payed by insurance at 100%! We knew that we'd reach that $500 with just a 3 month supply of pump stuff. That year we were due a new pump...and it was free! We switched this year because we found a plan that was lower premium and was excellent for pump supplies. Keep in mind that if you are no longer a dependent on your parent's tax forms, you can get help with a subsidy on the premiums depending on your income. I wouldn't doom and gloom the insurance situation. Do a bit of homework now to see what's out there to give yourself some idea and who knows, once you turn 26, things might be even better!
     
  5. sszyszkiewicz

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    You really do not have any guarantees at A or B. A's health insurance can get suddenly worse. B's insurance can get suddenly better. The question I would ask though, this guy, is he preventing you from looking at school C or school D? That relationship could end next week. Look at the curve balls you have been thrown already.

    I know you have boiled it down to 2, but honestly the choice should be the place where you are going to be most effective. The place where you think you can make the biggest difference in this world when you are done. The place you are most passionate about.

    You are breathing rare air Megnyc. I think inside you know what you want to do with your life. Just go ahead and do it.
     
  6. wm8

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    First let me tell you, reading the title of the post "I do not know what to do with my life", I prepared myself to read another depressing story about diabetes, and give up whatever optimism or hope I had after my long day. Reading the post, I found it enlightening and giving lots of hope. I hope my son will be like you one day, preparing for his PhD program, and taking advice about which school to join. Big congratulations on your achievement!

    Second, I would go to school A, but that is a personal opinion, and your criteria may be different. Also, it depends on why you do not find school A a good match? Some drawbacks may be overcome, or you may think that they are a big deal, while in reality they are not. Regarding health insurance, as a parent, I am always concerned about my kid's coverage when he is no longer under me, and I think thinking 5 years ahead is a good exercise. However, all in all, I think both of your options are good, and you will not go wrong either way.
     
  7. Beach bum

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    Meg, first congratulations!

    Second, do what you feel is best. From a logical standpoint, school A sounds like a perfect fit. But, from a thinking with your heart/gut standpoint, school B seems better. Weigh it out. Take into consideration how each would benefit you from a)professional standpoint b)financial standpoint c)overall physical and mental health standpoint. You will be here for 5 years so the last one is most important. It does have an impact on your overall well being.

    I know everyone is saying "do what you feel is right," but really, in the end you are the only one who can make this decision. Many will say you only live once. Well, with you beating cancer, you've lived twice. Think about the emotional/physical part of the decision.
     
  8. jilmarie

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    Been there. Go with your gut. You won't have trouble matching as an MD/PHD candidate. Feel free to PM me.
     
  9. DavidN

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    Go with your gut and the better fit. The big downside as you stated it is that your parents may have to subsidize you in a few years. I suspect they wouldn't mind. You shouldn't either. You can always pay them back. These are an important 6 years, you should spend it somewhere where you will be happy and thrive. I think the downside is much lower with option B. This is an easy one, IMO.
     
  10. Megnyc

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    Thanks guys :)

    The reasons I prefer B are pretty hard to define. I found the atmosphere to be a lot more cut throat at A and honestly most of the students I met (both in the md and md/phd programs) seemed to not have anything great to say about the school. All the md/phd students spent most of the 5 lunches/dinners I had with them talking about how they just wanted to be done. That said, the one person in the same department I would be in was seemingly very happy. The other thing I did not like was that they seemed to really remove a lot of the focus on clinical education for md/phd students and in fact the amount of time spent in clinical rotations is a lot less than other schools. School B has been one of my top choices since I was in my sophomore year of college (and had no idea I would do well enough on the MCAT to even be in the position of applying) and I have only loved it more each time I have visited. Everyone there was super supportive and really seemed to just care about the students, not just as researchers but as people. It is a much more flexible program and for my very specific interest (which obviously could change) is stronger than A. They have reached out to me frequently since my last visit and seem to care about my future even if I don't go there. I get calls from the various physicians I interviewed with all the time and when one of them was speaking at my school he took me out to dinner and spent hours that night talking with me about my future goals and making suggestions to me and going over my various options. Basically I just really liked the people at B and felt like they were more invested in me and would remain that way not just through the 6-7 years I was there but for my entire career.

    My boyfriend is not holding me back from any programs. We had 9 schools we were both accepted to and all were/are good options. There were no schools that I eliminated because he was not accepted there. I know things could change in an instant but we have lived together for 2 years and do strongly feel we want to be in the same city. Throughout the process he has thought that we should choose based on my interests since in general, MD programs all essentially teach you the same things. However, he would never go to B if it were not for me so I would be holding him back in a way. So that is another factor to consider.

    Anyway, thanks for all the thoughts. The school plan offered by B is slightly better than the plans on the exchanges once you factor in the relatively low premium and the fact that the max out of pocket is about the same ($6350). My mom thinks I should go to B and my dad thinks I should go to A. I want to go to B and that is where I see myself. But my gut does say to do the practical thing and go to A.
     
  11. Beach bum

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    The fact that school B keeps reaching out to you is huge IMHO. Why don't you say, "I'm wavering because school A is offering a healthy plan that is extremely tempting as health care coverage is a top priority for me." Who knows. Some stipend money may be found to help you out even more... just a thought.

    I can't make the decision for you, but you keep returning to plus points to B, that's something to really keep in mind. If you did go with B, how far away would your boyfriend be if he chose not to go to B? And honestly, I think your parents will be supportive no matter what your decision is.
     
  12. dshull

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    I am a prehealth adviser and we send a lot of students to very prestigious medical schools from our postbacs and undergrads. I *always* say, go with your gut, which sounds like school B. I also agree wholeheartedly with the above advice. The ball is in your court now, ask for what you want. Whether it be better insurance, a stipend to pay for better insurance, whatever. They want YOU. And as I'm sure you know, the vast majority of medical applicants are rejected. Now is your chance to ask for what you want, and I bet you will be surprised that they might come through. MD/PhDs are fully funded and expensive and they want you to be happy and stick around for the long haul. Call the financial aid office and explain your situation in detail. They want to hear your story, I promise. Not sure what the school is but I bet they have some money to offer, and now is the time to ask as it'll all be gone by May 1st.

    As for one being more prestigious than the other, I would say that is of marginal importance. All US medical schools are good, and all will make you a physician. Some may have slightly better match rates but the reality is they will all get you to the same place. Go where you'll be happier.

    Good luck - and I love the "breathing rare air" comment from someone. Going to have to tuck that away for my students!
     
  13. bamaboyd82

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    What wonderful options you have! I think your desire to go to School B shines through your words...go for it! I agree about contacting the school and letting them know that the only hesitation you have about attending their school is financing your healthcare costs. They may very well be able to offer you something to help. As a parent of a T1D, I would never want his graduate school decision to be based on health insurance considerations, when I could help him with that concern. It sounds like your parents would feel the same way. I'm sure they are incredibly proud of you.
     
  14. Megnyc

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    He would be about a 2 hour flight away if he went to A. Both A and B are near affordable and convenient airports. There are no good options for him within driving distance of B. Of course, he just walked in and asked what I thought of what we can call school C. I rolled my eyes. And I am currently 512 because I somehow managed to completely forget to bolus for my dinner of take out sesame chicken and fried rice and I sincerely wonder why anyone thinks it is a good idea to have me responsible for other peoples' lives :rolleyes:

    Don't worry, I will keep you all updated. Perhaps we will end up at School E ;) Honestly, I know I will make the most of wherever we end up and I will get to learn so much. I just find it a bit disconcerting at the moment that I have no idea where I will be living in 2 months. I am so thankful though to have these options that I sometimes worry it is all a dream and I am going to wake up!
     
  15. Wendy12571

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    Meg,
    I say go with B. The only reason A is really on the radar is health insurance. That is 5 long years away. It just sounds like B is the better fit for you. This coming from a girl who literally only toured one college campus in February of her senior year. After touring the campus turned to mom and said this is where I want to go to college. Your gut tells you the answer.
    Wendy
     
  16. wilf

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    Follow your heart on this.
     
  17. Beach bum

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    Go with your heart, you will make the right decision in the end.

    Don't forget to ask for what you need! You were accepted there, there is always stipend money available, especially at the level you are going in at.
     
  18. MomofJJ

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    I would say go with B as that seems to be the one you are most drawn to and may very well regret not choosing it if you feel yourself continuing to go back to it mentally. The support the people there offer you seems to me to be worth it for several reasons, the biggest being that support like that can help to motivate you to make the most of yourself and your opportunities. The other reason I'd say that stands out is simply that I've found in life, no matter how much education you get, no matter your background, your abilities, or any other thing, politics (Erm...By that I hate to say it since I know it's unpopular to admit such truths, but by 'politics' I truly mean nepotism) rules over all of those things. So it's who you know rather than what you can do or what you know, a lot of the time. Not always, but pretty much that is the rule, rather than the exception. So, if you have some people in some good positions who are eager, able, and willing to support you, then those are the people you really want to be around.

    Even if school A seems to be a step above school B 'logically', you may not thrive as much as you might at school B where you seem to really want to go and logically may be the right step for you, personally. A place where there may be more resources or supposedly better opportunities may not really be the best or have the opportunities that will work best for YOU. Also, I suggest you don't ignore what is best for you in the worries of holding back your current guy, as that would be his decision as to what school he attends and you'd be putting yourself right back into the position of being the one held back if you base your decision on what's best for him or what he plans to do instead of yourself. It may seem like you are making a logical decision by factoring in others' opinions about where you go, your father's, your boyfriend's, and even other people like here, but in the end, you really do need to choose what will make you happy and do the most for your future and life. He needs to make the choices that are best for him, too. Now is your time. Later you may have responsibilities to others and need to make your decisions based on others in your life, putting their best interests at the same level as your own, such as a husband, or committed partner, or even put what's best for them above yourself, such as children, but right now it's about you, so make it a good decision that you won't regret.

    And congratulations on having such wonderful choices! I bet you have a bright future ahead of you.
     
  19. Mish

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    come on..spill on the two schools so that we can all offer our completely unreasonable opinions on why you should choose the one nearest us. ;)
     
  20. rgcainmd

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    Meg, go with your heart.

    I only applied to one med school because I was offered early admission (a guaranteed spot while I was still in my junior year of undergrad). When all is said and done at the end of the day (for you, at the end of six years), you'll have those two magical letters after your name, MD. (And a few others, as you'll be doing the dual degree program...) Regardless of where you go, med school and residency are grueling life-suckers, but unavoidable means to an end. So go for the program where you will be the happiest (or the least unhappy as the case may be). Just please don't base your decision on a guy. He may not be around in 6 years, but YOU will. This is a time to be "selfish" and choose what is right for YOU.

    I wish you the absolute best!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015

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