I am a 49y/o pre-med starting my junior year in the fall. I have a 3.9 GPA and am working very hard on my B.S. in Biology. In addition, I have a family…a very young one. In fact, in about 6 weeks my wife will have our fourth child. Since I’ve changed careers, I have certified as an EMT, volunteer with hospice as well as community services, and conduct about 10 hours per month shadowing either a pediatrician or a dentist. Sounds good, yes? Well, then why is it that most doctors I speak to try so hard to discourage me from going to med school? One told me not too long ago that if he were 49, there would be no way he could keep up with the load. Another told me that there’s no way, with the mental degradation that comes with age, that someone in their 50’s could make it to the top of their class in medical school. Oh? Really?? Our own family MD even went so far as to say that it would be a waste of time to apply because the time in service after graduating would be so short compared to a “young” person and that admin boards frown on bringing those over 35 into the fold. Wow!!
So, since I really could give a flying cows udder what people think (as I’d challenge anyone in their 20’s to show as much passion as I do regarding medicine), I was wondering if anyone else experience this kind of “negatude” from the pros and how you counter it. I see postes about mentors on here and the idea is attractive…but are there any willing participants??? Just curious.
Well it’s a good policy to always listen to those who have ‘been there’. I think they aren’t necessarily discouraging you. They’re just making sure you know what you’re getting into, which is the reason you’re shadowing in the first place, right?
Have you talked with your wife about the stress your unavailability for the next several years is going to put on your marriage?
I don’t think it’s a good idea to downtalk the younger people… it makes you look arrogant. You are going to encounter 22 year old people who have more passion and ability than you, it’s just the way it is.
If you look at the stats in the MSAR book, only several hundred over-35’s apply each year, but good grades and MCAT scores can get them into med school the same as anyone else.
I don’t think one is “downtalking” the younger students by displaying confidence where doubt is evident. Arrogant? I don’t think so, Smileyperson! I’ve been at my university now for 2 years and have a great relationship with most of the kids and professors. I will tell you though that many students (10+) over that time frame have openly criticized me in class for getting A’s. That and the fact that I would be “taking the seat of a younger student” in med school have been my only crimes. If I were “downtalking” I could list pages of reasons why many of these kids don’t get good grades. I don’t know where you are at, but arrogance should not be confused with confidence. I’ll say it again…ANYONE in their 20’s is fair game for me. And I’ll even buy them a beer when it’s over!
Yes, my family is very much aware of the time and effort involved. I am a former submariner with many years of separation and arduous patrols to look back on. Funny you should mention that because that’s always the second thing that comes up after the age thing…“what will your wife do after she never sees you because your in school all the time?” I know…maybe I should just count on the encouragement I get from my family and ignore the comments from the medical community.
I don’t believe that older pre-meds ask for the questioning about their goals. It’s thrust upon us by a slew of judgmental people.
Arrogant? I think not.
Discouraged? Nope! My MCAT score will by higher than yours! And my bedside manner is better too!
- smileyperson Said:
If you look at the stats in the MSAR book, only several hundred over-35's apply each year, but good grades and MCAT scores can get them into med school the same as anyone else.
In this case, absolute numbers are misleading. While I do not have AMCAS (MD) data, AACOMAS (DO) data shows approximately 6% of all applicants were 31 or above and about 5.5% of all matriculants were 31 or above, or about the same distribution you expect by either chance or by all applicants being considered without regard to age. In other words, age seems to have little or no impact on a candidate.
If you want to get into medical school, you can’t sound like your being victimized by younger applicants, or an unfair process or something…I’m just saying that’s how you come across here. A better strategy might be to quietly express your passion, demonstrate your qualifications and not mention anyone else…that’s confidence, right? This notion that confidence and arrogance are easily confused is complete bs…they are totally contrary qualities.
Also, you mentioned you are certain that your bedside manner will be better than others, but how great is it going to be when you realize your patients don’t necessarily revere you as you do? Even if you get a 42 MCAT and go to Harvard? I hope your not expecting anyone to bow down; that is going to cause more disappointment for you. Sorry. I’m just saying your coming off as arrogant in your posts here…it’s how you sound, may not reflect reality.
I think some of the advantageous of older applicants is that they often have qualities such as humility, empathy, conscientiousness, integrity, wisdom, patience…very important qualities for a physician and ones you likely embody. Perhaps you could focus on ways to express those qualities to distinguish yourself from the younger crowd instead of wasting the opportunity by sounding like just another petty and boastful kid who can’t consider anothers point of view .
- kangoroo Said:
Sorry. I’m just saying your coming off as arrogant in your posts here…it’s how you sound
Interesting...Reno I don't feel you sound arrogant or victimized in your postings. Yet another lesson in why electronic format is so different from talking in person with respect to tone.
I think there are places which may agree with the idea of taking a younger person's spot, but there are MANY others that welcome and encouraged "seasoned" applicants. As a recent med school grad (Friday...yay!), I believe I can confidently say that some schools, including my own (a top 25 med school supposedly) value having nontraditional students in their classes.
I do believe that the physicians who may be dissuading you do truly believe in what they're saying. However, they chose a path very different from our own so perhaps their frame of reference doesn't quite much up with our experiences. My suggestion would be to speak with some of those on this board whose path mimics more closely your own. There are several wonderful people here who started late and are now practicing.
Stay strong and focused!
I find it really interesting how you can read such negativity into a post that simply asks of other pre-med students if they have experienced a lack of support by veterans in the field as I have. Never in my post did I name all of the “qualities” of younger students (who I happen to have as very good friends)that you accuse me of. What I would suggest of you is that you look at the question that’s in the writing instead of designing a response based on such ludicrous accusations. If you read a confident (and almost humorous) statement as arrogance, then I believe you need a much thicker skin than the one provided you presently.
Thanks for the really neat advice, but I was really trying to find out how individuals deal with others in the field commenting about age.
I much appreciate your answer ( I agree about the lack of inflections online that cancel out humor! I really was not trying to slam anyone). I will take your advice and I suppose have unconsciously have been already. Moat of the MD’s I’ve spoken to have been people that we already know like family doctors and such. For the most part, the people in school are supportive. My wife basically said the same thing that you did and suggested that I try to find people that entered the field when past 35 to see how they dealt with things. So far…that person has been elusive except for on this site.
In the mean time…I will waddle on!!!
Monstrous congrats on your graduation!! That’s got to feel soooooooooo good and I wish you all the success in the world! (no matter how old you are! lol)
- RenoScott Said:
In the mean time...I will waddle on!!!
Monstrous congrats on your graduation!! That's got to feel soooooooooo good and I wish you all the success in the world! (no matter how old you are! lol)
when I had the great opportunity of asking the surgeon general of the united states a question at the recent aacom meeting, I chose to ask that if the administration is really serious about getting more doctors into primary care, what can we do about about and for current primary care providers who actively try to dissuade many of the non-traditional of going into medicine generally and into primary care particularly.
The answer I received was just an acknowledgment of the issue and not much in the way of ideas of actions that could be in place.