* * Anonymous Doc: Too old for med school?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Too old for med school?

A friend of mine, almost ten years out of college, just told me she wants to go to med school and asked me what I think. And so much of me wants to tell her she's crazy, and tell her to look at this ridiculous life I've had for the past 7 years, either studying 80 hours a week or working 80 hours a week, for far less than no money-- as a resident, I'm pretty sure I haven't yet earned back my tuition money, even if I didn't have living expenses to take into account, and of course I have living expenses to take into account-- having far less than no fun doing it. I mean, whatever rewards I thought there were to a career in medicine-- and I don't mean just financial, at all-- do not make themselves clear as a student or in residency. No one should want to spend this much time in a hospital. Anyone who enjoys most of residency-- really, truly enjoys the moment-to-moment work of a resident, most of the time, not just the very occasional non-torturous moments-- has something seriously wrong with them.

And yet-- she's not crazy. Because-- unlike so much of what so many people I know do-- there is an endgame here. Not even 4 years of med school and 3 years of residency have convinced me (yet!) that being a doctor can't be a rewarding way to spend a career. There is human interaction. There is job security. There is financial stability. There are opportunities to think, and to read, and to be engaged in something important. Not in every setting, of course. And not right away, certainly. But there is an endgame, and I'm not yet convinced that the endgame has to be terrible. And I'm not yet convinced the endgame is incompatible with having a life you can enjoy and feel fulfilled by. And, as I look around at people I know and what they're doing, I'm not sure that medicine isn't unique that way. Because I don't know what else has stability, intellectual reward, and the chance to have some control over your time and your life. Tenured professor, probably. But getting a PhD and then tenure somewhere you want to live seems like as much of a slog as residency.

My friend, if I'm doing the math right, will be 34 when she can apply, after taking the appropriate post-bac classes. 35 when she starts med school, 39 when she finishes, likely 42 or 43 or 44 when she finishes residency, depending on what residency she chooses. Older if there's a fellowship too. I don't know what the job market looks like for 45-year-old brand-new doctors, and if that job market is different from the market for 35-year-old brand new doctors. Realistically, the debt is going to be around for a while after that. Realistically, my friend can't be doing it for the money, because the money isn't going to be visible until she's 50. Realistically, while being a doctor is hopefully compatible with having a life, I know that being a resident isn't.

I couldn't do this again. Having done it once, I couldn't do it again, at all. If someone wiped the slate clean, somehow my 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency vanished and I had to experience it all again or I couldn't be a doctor, I could not do it again. But if I'd never done it, if I put myself in my friend's shoes, then maybe. I see the allure. I don't want to see the allure. I want to shake her and tell her she's crazy and it is not a smart plan to go to medical school when you're 35.

But I didn't shake her. Partly because the conversation was over the phone. But even if it were in person. I understand the impulse. I understand the allure. If I didn't, I guess I wouldn't still be a resident. There are people who've dropped out of the program. I don't know what they went through medical school for, and how they're able to justify the years and the work and the expense, but, I don't know. And then I look at most of the attendings, and they all seem kind of miserable, so I don't even know how I can still delude myself into thinking there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but I guess all the hope hasn't been wrung out of me yet.

Four patients today have asked me what I'm doing for the holidays. Four patients feel bad that I'm working. They shouldn't. They have it worse, because-- and I'm not sure they realize this yet-- they'll still be here too. And come Friday, I really don't think anyone's getting discharged over the short-staffed holiday weekend-- or, really, most of the week-- so, if you're here tomorrow, you may very well be here until 2012. Hope your beginning-of-the-year deductible isn't too high...

61 comments:

  1. I went to medical school at the age of 29 after I'd been out of school for seven years, and it was the best decision I've ever made. I've actually had a lot of really good times as a med student and a resident, and I'm looking forward to being an attending some day in the distant future. While I'm very thankful that I don't have to, I would do it all again. All four years of medical school and one and a half years of residency.

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  2. I'm now 37 and will be applying next year. I've been around and lived a life, married and had a kid. Am I crazy to be making such a sharp career change? Probably, but I can no longer imagine doing anything but medicine. While the slog through med school and residency is long and arduous, it's not any easier in another job if you don't love the work, and that's something you can't really measure for someone else.

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    1. We live only one life, why not to achieve our dreams and become what we want to be...
      I am 39, maybe I would be applying to medical school after two years. So, nothing is impossible to achieve when you have decided, Good Luck!!!

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  3. My dear friend Jason is in his late 30's and is in his 3rd year of med school. He is very passionate and has wanted it for a long time. I know without any doubt how far his passion took him. His wife and children have had to endure a lot to get him to this point. If your friend feels passionate about it, then encourage her to go for it! I would be open and honest with her about the sacrifices that she will be making if she chooses to take the leap.

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  4. I started at 27. There are a half dozen people in my class who are in their mid 30's when they are starting. A few years ago we had a lady in her mid 40's start. Kind of crazy.

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  5. I'm in my third year of vet school at age 41. Most days I hate it - the stress, the studying, the guilt if I am not studying, the living-in-debt that I thought I had left behind... But I wouldn't change the fact that I am doing it. I had a decent career before this and always had good jobs, but I never felt the way about them that I feel about vet medicine. It's never too late to pursue your passion.

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  6. I started an MD-PhD program at 29, and should be done at 37. And then onward to residency + fellowship. Best decision I ever made. It's been really stressful at times, but so is working out in the "real world." I think the time off put the hours in perspective for me. I would have been a terrible med student at 22. I'll also be debt free when I graduate, which I think helps a lot.

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  7. 34 and applying June 2013 - the last two years have been working 40 hours a week and studying another 40 hours a week. I have the same sentiment as an earlier commenter - I can no longer imagine doing something other than medicine.

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  8. Im a relative youngster on this post- just 25 and the
    UK equivalent of an intern. Despite legal barriers I still manage to work 70ish hours a week. All I can say is that I truly live every minute of it. I honesty cannot think of another job that would be this good, and that's before you consider the effectively guaranteed promotions and pay rises each year. I'd do it again in the blink of an eye, regardless of all the rubbish you have to do at med school

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  9. As a first year med student, I love hearing the occasional optimism about medicine. Let's hope I can maintain mine.

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  10. One of my best friends, a single mother of three, went back to high school to finish (she dropped out at fifteen), then onto medicine. She graduated in the top five of her class, at the age of 42.

    Now she works as a doctor and negates all the effort it took to get there by simply saying, "It's not work at all if you wake up every day looking forward to it".

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    Replies
    1. How old was she when she after she finish high school and how old was she when she finally started college?

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  11. I am 26 studying at community college for my AA degree, i want to become a doctor but i think it will be too late for me to transfer to med school around age of 28. will it be too late to go to med school in age 28 or 29.

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  12. I am 26 years old as well. I finished my BS degree in Business Amin ( probably the most pointless degree) Ever since I could remember, I've always wanted to be a doctor and serve my community and help make a difference in someone's life. But then I went to college and made the wrong set of party friends. Spent most of my weekends partying instead of studying. Passed school with an attitude of 'C's get degrees.' now that I look back, I wish I studied harder and never changed my major from Biology to Business. Anyways..back to my point! I really want to be an M.D now. I am clearly not doing it for financial reasons because saving a life is the biggest paycheck you can ever receive. I don't think there is a right or wrong time to start something you're passionate about. I say follow your dreams even if you are 50. Current plans is to do a post bacc for 2 years, take the Mcat and apply. If I don't make it into the U.S schools..I will certainly take the Carribs route. I know 4 friends that got matched in California. One at Irvine, USC, 2 at UCLA all from coming from Carrib med schools. If you have the determination...Start Now! Time
    Will never stop for you to catch up.. :)

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  13. I'm graduating next May with a B.A. in Psych, I have a 3.8 GPA, but now instead of becoming a psychologist I want to become a psychiatrist. I have been surrounded by doctors in my life who have been close, and have told me to go to med school but I have been scared. Scared of failing and disappointing myself. However, there's something deep down in my gut that tells me to do it because I love helping people and hitting the books (I know, I'm weird) But it's a hunger I have of learning that has always wanted myself to pursue something of excellence like becoming a psychiatrist. I only took Anatomy & Physiology I and Chem I, and filled the rest of my electives with psychology and sociology courses. I'm 24, and now I'm thinking of obtaining a Postbac in Premed. I've spoken to many of my professors and they have given me strength and at the end of every conversation they tell me the choice is mine, and I know it is. But I feel so alone and confused, so now I'm turning to answering as many med blogs as I can, that have posts like this particular one. Because even if I don't get responses back (some I just forget the website), I at least could vent with individuals who are amazingly motivated. Thanks!

    O.C.

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    1. Hi ! I am starting my Bsc Psychology this September. However, I found myself in doctors environment and I have started thinking about medicine. I do not want to give up psychology as I do not want to delay longer my studying. I am 21 years old. Have you applied for medicine ? My plan is to do some working or unpaid experience at Mental Health Unit to see what is more suitable for me... if I will not be entirely sure wheather I want to give up psychology and starting do suitable A-levels and activities towards other med school requirements ;I will go for psych. from Sep. If I will be sure I want to be a doctor there is rather no point for me to starting Psych.

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  14. I'll be getting my degree in astrophysics next year and I will be 23. After that I will be taking more pre-med courses, but I don't want to wait too long to apply to med school. I'll be taking orgo I and II and biochemistry before I graduate. Does anyone think I will be able to take the MCAT in fall of my senior year? Then, after I graduate I can try and get a job and take classes for more pre-med courses until I am able to go to med school. Do you think I will be able to get in? Or will it be too late by then? I feel like all of my friends will be in med school by then and I will have no shot compared to all of them because they have been preparing since high school.

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  15. I just turned 34 and will be applying for med school in about a year.....glad I cam across this post because I was thinking I was too old too.....

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    1. I'm 34 as well. I was thinking the same thing, but I think I am to old. Most of these post are in there 20's. I want to, but at the same time I love my kids to much, not to be in their lives. My kids are 4, 5, and 13. What should I do?

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    2. Nin - if it's in your heart (and you have the support) do it! I just started my first year and I'm in my early 30s too. It's a challenging road, but it's worth it if that's truly what you want. Best wishes!

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    3. I'm 30 years old and really I don't have any concentration on my job because of this decision that I am gonna take. I am master of electrical engineering and just finished my master in electrical engineering. I have a wellpayed job but in my mind it's nothing. it is like I am not successful in my life if I don't do medicine.
      I want to start medicine by my heart and only scared if I can be addmeted or not. I am alittle bit confused how I can start and prepare myself to be able to apply!


      Do you have any suggestion?

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  16. A good friend of mine just finished med school at 46. Now she's an intern (is that the right word?). What's the big deal? You might as well work hard if you're going to work.

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  17. I'm 34 and have wanted to go to med school since age 16, just have lived on my own since 17 without any financial help. Ineligible for financial aid due to the 24 years old rule and putting down parents income unless you were emancipated. I work 40 hours a week, taking and EMT course, and study 24 hours towards mcat I hope to take in April. I want a baby with my boyfriend and read constantly on books about how to balance life and in medical school. I recommend "finding balance in a medical life" by lee lipsenthal. only read "enjoy every sandwich" if you want to cry. I get comments from alot of people that I should do PA instead, but I keep focused on what I know I would excel at - medicine.

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    1. PA's practice medicine as well.

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  18. I'm in the same boat as O.C., I'm pursuing a BS in Psych (I'm a junior and switched majors beginning of sophomore year- oh well) I'm already a year behind..sigh.. I would want to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psych but decided to take my education and career to the next level and possibly go into psychiatry perhaps. I'm only 21 and thought I would be too far behind, but I guess time is on my side! Reassuring to know there are others a little older who are pursuing med-school!There is no age on education, good luck to all!

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  19. Anon MD, did your friend applied? :)
    Mariana, a portuguese reader

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  20. I will be 40 in my first year of med school. I already have my Masters in Psychology so I know all about hard work and long school hours. But the way I see it, its only 4 years of school and then residency. That's not too bad, considering you can have a good 20 - 25 (plus?) years of a successful career doing something you love and having a good wage. There is a shortage of doctors anyway, so age is not as important as being smart, committed, compassionate and a hard worker. Hope your friend applies! You worry too much ;)

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    1. Great comment, thanks.

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    2. I am 38 years old. I am sitting here crying because I want it so bad! Im graduating with a BS in biology in Dec and I barely have a 3.0. I havent taken the mcat yet but really really want to be a doctor. I've had other careers, but nothing would be more fulfilling in my mind except medicine. I want it so bad; however again, I'm 38 years old. I feel im too old to even try. I dont know what to do. I pray for guidance.

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    3. You are never too old to start life......and that is exactly the way you should treat tomorrow........the first day of the rest of your life as a med student.

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    4. It doesn't matter how late you start. All that matters is how you're gonna end it. Are you going to finish strong?

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  21. My friend went to a good Calgary college a few years ago. I didn't think they were too old then. In fact, even if they were 80-90 years old I wouldn't think that they were too old. No matter how old you are, you can always learn more. Thank you for sharing!

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  22. I am 44 and have gone through many experiences in the professional life, from owning a business to working in the private and public sector. When I graduated from college, my plan was to attend medical school, but the plan changed after getting married and starting a family. Now, I find myself in a situation where I need a career change and all I can think of is taking the MCAT and apply to med-school. I want to do this for me, for personal satisfaction. I know that nothing in life comes easy, why not work for what you really love? Academically, I am in a position where I only need to take two requirements, organic chem. lab and statistics, to apply. Am I wasting my time thinking this way?

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    1. i dont think you are wasting your time, with medicine its a life time career.And having finances ready for your Med school is a bonus for you.

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  23. I want to know is there any medical school would accept a 45 years old student?

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  24. My good God I feel so much better that I came across this site with all these comments. I thought I was all alone thinking that am too old (37) married with 2 boys. How on earth could I think I could take on a medicine degree.(I graduated in 2002 with Mpharm in Pharmacy 2:1) .Even though I am apprehensive about the course, length of years etc, something inside of me is saying GO FOR IT.Do I hear an Amen.....

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    1. I am 40 years old and I'm finishing my bachelors degree in Psychology w/ a minor in Pre-Med. I will be @43 years old when I start and @47 when I graduate. Then my residency. I'm a single mother with an autistic 7 year old little boy. I'm doing this for us with only the help and grace of THE ALL MIGHTY GOD!! So I say to you, GO FOR IT, YOU HAVE MY BLESSING, AND THE MASTER WILL SEE YOU THROUGH! Amen

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    2. Thank you Anonymous, Im 46, and feel like I have to catch up for lost time. I feel like im way behind the eight ball and Im doing what I can to get my prereqs in.

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  25. I am 26 and currently taking my MA in Language and Literature. My field is in the arts basically, my undergraduate degree is creative writing. I am considering taking pre-med subjects so I can proceed to Medicine once the requirements are settled. I will be supporting myself so I have to earn money first to at least have a stable start. I am planning to take it when I'm 28. After reading the comments here, I feel so good about my plan. I was considering taking a PhD in Literature but I feel like being a writer does not require all these degrees. If I am going to spend 4 years in PhD for literature, I might as well do it with medicine where there is a promise of stable income and opportunity to "really" help people. A degree in literature can only do so much but what you know from books can help a lot in medicine, or so I believe.

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  26. Yeahh! I feel motivated after reading all these!
    I am 35 and will start my MD program-first year in Aug 2013! And trust me! its the RIGHT age! because by far we have "seen" true world, had enough work experience and our decision to "apply" for med school itself shows the seriousness of Dedication towards medical profession. so please lets rock it!,get the great grades and be a greatest Doctors!
    May be we all r so serious at these age so will stay more fit until (later ages)we feel like retiring!!
    Well first thing first: "No age limit in going to attend any university degree so just do it" "Knowledge is power"! The more we are educated, more will prevent illnesses and bring awareness!

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    Replies
    1. I enjoyed reading your post.
      just to know what did you do for volunteer job to pass the interview?
      thanks

      Delete
  27. So glad to have stumbled on this site! At 32 I am going back to school for pre-med and eventually Med school. While some have been very supportive of my decision others not so much. Stereotypical thoughts and comments were abound (Oh well!). Honestly speaking, I feel that my age and life experiences make be a strong candidate for this profession. I have acquired invaluable skills and experiences through my years of working in corporate environments and juggling roles being a wife and mother. My age has availed me an opportunity to a new beginning and I am ready to rock it…

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  28. I am 32 now with an English degree, just starting a post bac, and will be entering Med School at 35. I worked for the past decade in corporate law and IT, and never felt personally or professionally satisfied with the work I was doing. I am SO looking forward to entering a profession where I can really make a difference, help other women, and meet my full potential. One of the other commenters was right: If you have to work you might as well work hard! I've been taking lab science classes and volunteering at a hospital this whole last year, and even in the misery of final exams I would gladly take this experience over my cooshy office jobs. Your friend can do this!

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  29. I'm supportive of all the people on this site that have decided to pursue their dreams. One word of caution...do think about what type of medicine you want to practice and in what setting. I am an attorney that contemplated medical school prior to attending law school - and I'm contemplating it again now that I'm a full-fledged attorney. The landscape of practicing medicine is quickly changing. I can tell you from the legal side that certain types of practice are becoming diminished to the point of extinction given the current matrix of health insurance reimbursements and medical malpractice insurance requirements. Food for thought. Good luck to all!

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  30. I am 27 no degree but I want to be a doctor everyone but my friend and husband think I'm crazy an I ?

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  31. Thanks God i have seen this post, I'm 34 and in final year of my PhD in biochemistry,and mother of 2. I have been pushing aside the feeling of becoming a doctor aside when i was 25 but it is not becoming any where easier, every year i feel like i should go for Med.This year i decided to sit GAMSAT and did terrible in it,i think its because i didn't prepare enough for it thinking i can use the science knowledge from 10 years ago. I'm planning to take some classes for sciences and English this year to sit GAMSAT again next year. I know I can do it and with your post its encouraging. But on the other hand i think about my kids because there will be only 1 income coming into the house, therefore live will be harder than when i do post doc doc financially

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  32. I'm 38 and applying to Med School this summer. I graduated with a BSc in Premed in 2000 but also had a 4 yr old and was separating from her dad at that time. My cousin who was in medical school strongly advised me not to do it to my daughter. I have done other things, worked in legislative policy for few years, then became a midwife when my daughter was 10 because I was so drawn to the health care role. Now after a year on Anatomy and Physiology I am applying to med school. I enjoy spending my time reading and understanding how the human body works and I love the thrill of being tested on it. My daughter is 17 and I feel good about having waited to do this in order to protect her childhood and be able to spend those years with her. I also feel like I will be able to focus fully on medicine now and like many women in the field won't have take time off to have babies or make the sad decision to have someone else take care of them through most of the day. All the doctor's I've talked to also say they would d never do the med school and residency process again. There is one ER doc I know who started med school at 40 and does not regret it. I think that starting later is becoming more common and reflects the career migration that's generally becoming more prevalent in society. I also heard a study out of Dartmouth that found female OBs practice an average of 8 years after residency. One potential factor was that the hours and uncertainty were too stressful once they became moms themselves. This statistic makes me feel that starting later is a reasonable thing in terms of how many years of practice I will have compared with other doctors.

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  33. Guess I'm not too old, eh?
    I'm 25, but have been out of school for 3 years, and am married. My wife is totally supportive, and we don't have kids yet.

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  34. I'm in my early twentys & by my calculation, I'd probably be done premed & med school in my thirtys. I read everyone's comments here & at first, I thought that I'm going to be too old & still be in school but then somewhere along the line, my view started to change. The thing is I noticed that I am at a disadvantage because most people here although may have been out of school for a while, have lived their life & had experiences that will be helpful to apply in the profession. Myself, on the other hand, I'm going straight to med school. For a person to become a well-rounded doctor, he/she needs those experiences to make them more relateable & personable. At the same time, it's never too late to start something you love. I hope your friend followed her heart, thanks for sharing.

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  35. I received an AA degree in nursing 15 years ago. I graduated with a 3.34, in the honor society, as an officer. I have been an RN in various areas, such as nursing home, ER, ICU, home health, correctional care, hospice, dialysis and case mangement. I have had a desire for many years to go back to school to become an MD or DO. I plan to have a free clinic to assist the poor. I plan to specialize in gerontology and to own a hospice. I will be 45 this year and plan to start my pre-med next August 2014. I intend to work agency as an RN during any free time to assist with the costs of obtaining my degree. I plan to work in an underserved area to assist with repayment of the student loans. I do not plan on retiring at 65-70. I plan to work as long as my mind is sharp. If for any reason I am not accepted into an MD or DO program in the US, then I fully plan to apply to all foreign medical schools. As you can see I am no longer willing to want quietly. I fully intend to get out there and put my experience and hard work to use in obtaining my heart's desire.

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    Replies
    1. You will get in all of the Caribbean schools, trust me. I applied and got accepted to the top 3: St George, Ross, and AUC. Please keep your head up and keep on going. There are over 30 DO schools now, and I'm sure you will get in. Try to get >23 MCAT. Your GPA is fine.

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  36. I want to be a doctor but I'm always drunk. I'm 45 now - but most of the doctors I know are always drunk too. How much training will I need to become a doctor if I stop drinking during study?

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  37. I am 38 years old, married with 4 kids. "YES, JUST DO IT" is the answer for all of you doubting yourself. Make sure you have support of your family, especially your spouse, and get your finances secured. Study for MCAT, even if it takes you a year. Your last science class may have been decade ago. I guarantee you that admissions, especially osteopathic schools, look for non-traditional students to enrich their student body. I have been accepted to several programs, but I'm still waiting for a local school to respond. Final words, I would rather do something I love that is difficult than hate that is easy. GOOD LUCK everyone and God Bless!

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    Replies
    1. Hi,
      just to know what did you do as a volunteer job to pass the interview? would you please share your plan?

      I'm 30 years old and really I don't have any concentration on my job because of this decision that I am gonna take. I electrical engineer and just finished my master in electrical engineering. I have a wellpayed job but in my mind it's nothing. it is like I am not successful in my life if I don't do medicine.
      I want to start medicine by my heart and only scared if I can be addmitted or not. I am a little bit confused how I can start and prepare myself to be able to apply!


      Do you have any suggestion?

      Delete
  38. I'm 26 years old i graduated Architecture University last year and now, due to the fact that this field has dissaponted me i want to go to med school.I'm affraid i'm too old for that. in my country med school takes 6 years and residency 5. i already feel very pasionate about the fact that i will be working with people not staying all day long in front of the computer and i feel very passionate about this calling.. still i;m not sure if i am doing the right thing..

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  39. I am 39 years old and I have a 5 year old son. My wife finished medical school and currently doing residency in neurology . I graduated with a BS in biochemistry and worked for over 5 years as a research assistant with a publication. I then went to pharmacy school and recently graduated. I found out that I had ADD while I was in pharmacy school and manage to graduate with some struggle---which has been the story of my life but thanks to my tenacity I have come this far. I was told by my professor in pharmacy school (she has a MD/Ph. D) that I should apply for medical school (may be because of the way I think). My wife is supportive of this. But then I was also thinking of doing a pharmacy residency (I really enjoyed the hospital setting). Of course money is an issue. It's a lot of pressure on me since my brother is doctor and his wife as well, not to mention my wife as well. High expectations run in my family. But one thing I learned in my life is "If you love what you do, you never have to work a single day in your life". It's hard...I do think many ways I think more like a doctor in terms of wanting to diagnose. I really enjoyed interacting with the doctors during my rotation and looked forwarded to rounds. I was always curious how they came up with the diagnose that they did. I enjoyed learning. There are many things to think about especially at my age and the more I understand about my ADD the more it explains why I had such difficulties. I've learned a lot about life, and I don't regret a thing. Experience is a great teacher. Compassion is something that can't be taught and may be that is why I really admirer people like Dr. Albert Schweitzer. I would love some feedback on what you think or people who may have been in similar situations. Thank you.

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  40. hi there! I would like some of your opinions on my situation. I'm 27, single. Graduated nursing 4 years ago. I didn't work as a nurse because the pay here in my country is low, so I've just been managing our family business for 4 years meaning I am 27 with no job experience. Planned taking up medicine but had financial problems after graduating and also because I really have a weak body constitution. But now that we'll be financially prepared for it, I'm thinking of continuing to take up medicine but I'm kinda afraid that if I decide to take it and get sick in the middle of the 4yr med; I would just have wasted my money, time and worst of all get sick again and again. And that I will be 31 when I graduate without the resident and specialty years added. So, what do you guys think? I'm thinking of doing it because it's what I've wanted since i started college but when I asked my mom and our family doctor, they are trying to dissuade me from taking medicine. Mainly due to health problems; it's not heart or anything serious, it's just that I've been a TB recurrent patient. It took 3 years to finally be cured. And if I relapse again, it may become a multi-drug resistant TB. I just don't know where I'm going. I would really like some of your opinions. ty

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  41. hi there guys! I am hoping you can help me with some much needed advice. I am a 35 year old woman from Queens, New York and I am really keen to get into Med School. Now, I got my major in History from NYU 15 years ago, but since then I haven't done anything academic nor medical related. My dad just got a heart transplant and this has inspired me to pursue a medical career. I am going to evening school to get my biochemistry course which I didn't get at Uni, but this means I can sit the MCAT. BUT, what i want to know is what are my chances of getting into med school with no real experience, no publications and a 15 year old degree in History? I am also keen to have a child in the next few years too, so managing that with a medical study will be difficult. Any responses welcome and much appreciated! Lisa S

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    1. Hi there, getting occasional inspiration is part of everyone lives. Like when you visit NASA, you wanted to be an astronaut or a scientist. Wanted to be a doctor, when seeing them save a life. But - the reality is far from what you think and what you can do. Analyze whats best for you. Life has its own tool too. At age 35, if you absolutely wanted a child- you need to concentrate on that. Getting in to med school needs pre-req which is going to be 2-3 years of school (just for pre-req). Since you are a non traditional student, you require advanced course work with a 4.0 GPA - if you already have the pre-req in undergrad.

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  42. I'm 21 years old, graduated high school as an average student - no honors or anything of that sort. I haven't gone to any type of college because right after high school I moved out, worked two jobs full time and while living with my boyfriend of a few years ended up having a baby. Now I have a 16 month old type one diabetic daughter. I'm staying home with her until we find suitable daycare to care for her needs, and I want to use my free time to possibly go back to college. I've always been drawn to something in the medical field and when I was 17 or 18 I thought being a doctor was out of the question.

    How would anyone suggest I go about this?

    My goal would be to get my 2 years in at a community college so I can transfer to a 4 year school to finish up there, as well as enroll in the pre med program. After that, apply my heart away to medical school! I know I would be able to handle the community college with my daughter, and she would be in preschool by the time I wanted to start at our state university. By the time I enroll in medical school she will be starting elementary.

    I'm worried about missing time with my daughter and our family struggling for so long on one income. But this has been weighing on me for quite some time and I feel if I DON'T do it or don't try my hardest to make my dreams come true I'm going to spend my whole life wondering...

    I'm dedicated, and committed to the work...

    Any advice for a 21 year old mom starting college for the first time, what path I might expect?

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    1. I am a doc. You really have age to accomplish what you wanted. You are just 21. Take some courses(non science) majors from a cc near you. Get good recommendations from your prof/teachers at community college to transfer your college degree to a state college. Aim for the best state school and be prepared to get 4.0 GPA on all your courses(more specifically science) at state school. While you are in the state school, take advises from your pre-med advisors and make a good relationship with them to get a committee letter. The best way to keep track is to follow one of the Ivy schools requirements for admission. Shadow a doctor or 2 to get some clinical experience and also to know if you really like the profession. A research job at NIH will add to your profile.

      Apart from this, consider your family situation. You mentioned your daughter is diabetic. please take care of her as a mom (pay your duties to her first) and your family aswell. Most people in medicine come to the school because they have supportive parents/friends and know the path they are taking - so have a supportive family at all times. Guide your daughter to a good education. It is the right time when you think, she can walk and take care of herself (like age 7-8) for you to start medicine and taking it serious and if you are still serious about it. Life has its own toll - we need to pay our debts.

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