Am I crazy?

Hi everyone,

I have been lurking for a while and finally found the courage to post. You all are so inspirational! So, here is my story. I am 40. Becoming a doctor has been a life-long ambition. Had a few adventures along the way. I graduated way back in 1996 with a B.S. in Chemistry, minor in Bio. GPA ~3.6; major 3.7. Completed all my prereqs and then decided to go the Ph.D. route. Got into a very competitive program. Along the way marriage and two kids came along. Decided to wait a few years so that I could be a dad to my children. They are preens now and prefer video games to riding on daddy’s back. I guess you can say I have hit mid-life pretty hard. A recent death of someone I had known for a while hit me pretty hard. Life is short and my wife says that ever since she has known me (~20 years), all I ever wanted to do was go to med school. So, giving it a second look. Perhaps not very realistic. What I have going for me is that I have done medical research all my professional life. However, I do not remember much of my undergraduate work. I am sure I can pick-up pretty quickly though. Did I say I have a full-time job, mortgage, and bills? So, what do I have here? Can it be done?

I am thinking 6 months of MCAT prep time and taking the exam in June/July of next year and a September redo if I have to. I hope schools will accept my undergrad grades. Volunteering is not an option. Hopefully, my work in the field of medical research will help. Am I being too optimistic?

Some days I feel like I am too old to do this. I am pretty positive that if I don’t do it next year, I will never do it again. Don’t want to live with the regret of not trying.

Thanks and good luck!

I think you are definitely crazy. Here’s why… you’re asking a bunch of crazy people whether or not you’re crazy.

I don’t think you’re crazy. I think your plan is sound. I’d be optimistic as well. Just have an answer for “why a doctor? Why now?”

Welcome aboard the crazy train!

I’m crazier than you, I’m planning to go MD/PhD and I’m 46!

About volunteering as I understand it, medical research doesn’t count. You’ll need real volunteer experiences doing things which gives back to others, preferably in a medical setting.

Good luck!

  • tantriclovernc Said:

...Some days I feel like I am too old to do this. I am pretty positive that if I don't do it next year, I will never do it again. Don't want to live with the regret of not trying.

This is the general feeling or condition that all of us feel on here. You're in good company! We're all crazy in some way or another and we're pretty good about emotionally and mentally supporting each other too.

I say go for it; don't live with regret. It slowly eats away at your humanity. You sound like you've got a pretty good plan in place and have a good head on your shoulders. Remember that it's not going to be easy and it will get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

Passion, perseverance, and a tenacity to "stay the course" (hehehe...) will make you one hell of a medical professional. Head and shoulders above many.


Crazy? - No.

Doable? - Definitely!

The only thing I would recommend would be SOME amount of shadowing. Your research sounds plenty enough to make up for lack of “volunteering.”

6 Months of MCAT prep is plenty, even if you need some basic science recap.

Schools in metro DC (Hopkins, Maryland, Georgetown, Howard) have told me that medical research doesn’t abrogate the need for medical volunteering.

I also think MCAT prep time varies from person to person depending on: 1) How you did you those prereq classes and 2) How long it’s been since you took those prereq classes.

Just my 3 cents!

Most of your stats/story are similar to mine, some exactly the same (mostly that I’m now a SAHM, not in a career outside the home right now). I also decided to not live with the regret of not trying this. Have courage. Keep in mind that even if you get slowed down a bit (as is happening with me right now), stay the course and give this your best shot. It is crazy, but isn’t doing the life-affirming crazy things what life is about? (A lot of us who have kids would need to believe this as well!) Best of luck!

Thanks for all the positive responses. Much appreciated.

I have to look into volunteering. I have received different opinions from different people.

I think you are going to get some real variety on the ‘medical volunteering’. I don’t have any research, I have 25+ years working in EMS and in emergency rooms, to which I’m going to add volunteering for community organizations such as Lions Club etc. I’m not going to go shadow a bunch of docs or volunteer at the large teaching hospital. I may do some more free clinic work.

My thoughts are that some demonstration of participating in the community is important. How many of my 20 year old peers demonstrate that by helping at a Habitat for Humanity build 4 times during undergrad . . . I don’t know. It seems to me your research helps a bunch, but showing how you interact with your fellows in the larger sense should be easier for an OPM than others. At least potentially.

Are you worried about your pre-reqs being too old for some schools? Or did I gloss over that solution in your story? I’ve been told by others that can be an issue sometimes . . .

  • tantriclovernc Said:
Thanks for all the positive responses. Much appreciated.

I have to look into volunteering. I have received different opinions from different people.

IMHO, it's FAR better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. And when you're an applicant over say age 35, I think you should jump through whatever hoops necessary to get admitted, primarily to counter the age discrimination I think exists at some schools.


just had to recognize for Earl Gummer ref.


Your coursework is likely too old. Have you called any medical schools to verify?

Generally speaking, they want Bio, Ochem and Chem to be less than 5 yrs

They are a little more flexible on physics and math requirements.

I don’t see the problem. You sound like and excellent candidate to me. Go forth and apply. Good luck on the MCAT. I’m sure you will do fine.