'Aim for it and keep pressing'
Laura Gates Feb 22, 2023
Will Schneider: Age 33
IU School of Medicine campus: Indianapolis (MS1)
Former career: United States Marine Corps/Financial services
At first, Will Schneider was reluctant to tell his colleagues he intended to go to medical school. He had invested four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and begun a career in the investments industry. He was also a married father of three children. What would people think of chasing a childhood dream—requiring years of additional study and training—at this stage of his life?
“I expected detractors to deem my plan to abandon my career with a great trajectory as foolish,” Schneider said. But he needn’t have feared. “The most common response I got was, ‘I always wanted to do XYZ and just never did.’”
Schneider always wanted to be a physician.
“I began my journey to medical school immediately after high school, but I was woefully unprepared for college life,” he admitted. “Instead of sabotaging my academic future, I quickly withdrew and joined the military.”
Schneider credits the Marine Corps with teaching him “dogged persistence.” When his time in the military ended, he returned to college, earned a degree in economics and started an apprentice program at an investment firm.
“We were expected to read everything we could relating to decision making, cognitive biases, development of risk heuristics, etcetera,” Schneider said. “That time spent learning about what makes us tick and how incentives determine outcomes has been tremendously advantageous.”
As his 30th birthday approached, Schneider started to feel it was “now or never” on his longtime dream to be a doctor. Encouraged by his family—including a father and sister who are physicians—Schneider created a plan to leave the cubicle. That included working as a hospital patient care assistant for three years while taking additional science courses needed to apply to medical school.
Now a first-year medical student, Schneider says the greatest upside to being further down life’s path than his peers is having a spouse and children to help relieve the stress of medical school studies.
“It’s an incredible advantage because so much of the uncertainty usually experienced during your 20s is already settled for me, and I can jog upstairs to scoop up a smiling kid whenever I lose steam while studying,” he said.
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Laura Gates | Feb 23, 2023