I’m here FINALLY!!! I’m 35 years old and recently made the decision to become a Physician! I’m late coming to academia, now nearing the end of a B.A of Lib Arts from Harvard Extension School and entering the health careers program there as well. I used to sit and think “where does someone 35 years old turn who wants to become a Doctor?” …and someone who still has another 2 years of undergrad? Then I stumbled on this site. I quickly fell in love with the support of like-minded people, from around the world, who are in the same boat as me! There is nothing like finding your place in life after 3.5 decades of looking! Gratification of this magnitude can only be understood by someone who has lived it! Gone are the days of self-pity and thiking I’ll never be a professional anything but student. I feel like changing my birthday! Time to celebrate!
If there are other people in the Boston area who have similiar circumstances as me…please reply! We can all get through this together and make friends along the way, not to mention professional networks of specialties!
“My name is Robert and I’m a 35 y/o future Physician”

Hi, Robert,
welcome to OPM!
I’m in Belmont and am taking chemistry at Harvard summer school right now. It’s a tough slog but I’m enjoying every minute of it actually. I will probably go on to ochem, physics, and bio at the extension school this fall. Hoping to see you then,

Hey there Terry, thanks for the reply! I’m looking forward to another exciting year at Harvard…and very excited about my “new” profession: Medicine!
If this is your 1st time at Harvard, please let me know how can help with advise or getting around!
Your friend OPM,

Hi Robert and welcome to OPM.
Undergrad years will pass before you know it. It seems like it goes so slowly and then all of a sudden they are over and you are starting med school. I am 38 now and will start med school in less than 2 weeks. But I remember when I was 32 and just starting my 4 years of undergrad. It went by soooo fast.
Good luck on your journey. And again, welcome to OPM.

Amy B, thanks for the kind words. I have 2 years of UGrad left and I’m anxious about medicine. You and everyone on this great site have positively contributed to my first impression of the OPM community. I’m in debt to you and people like you…
Thanks again.

Welcome Robert! You are in good company here where there you’ll find no shortage of people living your story right along with you.
I sure can relate to feeling like you’ve found your place in life - and being a professional student. I have enough credits for a Master’s, (as my 18 year old lab partner pointed out one day in utter disbelief that anyone would waste so much time in school with little to show for it).
Welcome to the rest of your life. Don’t forget, if you enter med school at 40 you still have a good 25 years (or more) to practice medicine!

Welcome to OPM! I agree with you that this is the greatest site ever, and full of wonderful people. I started back to college at 37, finished my Ugrad at 41 and will be in medical school in January (in England), so don’t worry about age!!
Kathy in Texas

It is a wonderful feeling truly “knowing” what you “want to do with your life.” For me, it was a realization of something that was probably always there but was covered up by fear of failure and the like. The actual realization took place on a semi-life crisis trip out to Boston. I live in CA and decided for many reasons that I needed to get away. So, within 2 weeks I had quit my job, packed my CRX with everything I could possibly stuff in the little 2-seater, and drove across the country to Boston. I didn’t know a soul, nor did I have a job or a place to live. Within 5 days of arriving to my temporary home, the Super 8 motel in Watertown, I had secured a job and a tiny studio in Brighton for the low, low price of $960 per month.
The first place I frequented when arriving in Boston was Harvard Yard. I loved the feeling I had when I was there, and the rest of Boston for that matter. I worked at a restaurant on Mass Ave. in the MIT area.
Being away from the pressures of my life in CA, I was able to really concentrate on myself and where my life was headed. It was the best feeling to uncover something that was already there just waiting for me to take the time to see it. I’ve never felt more like myself, since I have decided to pursue becoming a physician. So I understand where you are coming from there.
Although I loved Boston, and will definately be applying to med schools there, the relatively “cheap” UC education here in CA brought me home to finish my undergrad work at UC Davis.
Sorry about the rambling post, I just get so excited about Boston and my journey toward med school.
Best of luck to you,

Stephanie, your incredible story sounds so similiar to mine. I’m from Orange County, CA and recently came back here to finish my BA degree (Bachelors of Lieral Arts) at Harvard Extension School. People always ask me if being an older student “bothers” me because I’m in class with younger people, etc. I think the younger students are at a slight dis-advantage when it comes to college. I’m much more at ease, have a sense of who I am, not out “finding myself” and can engage in the quality of my education here.
Packing your car and moving across the US in a Honda CRX with so many uncertain attributes ahead clearly states you have fortutide and determination when it comes to your education. I recently made the trip myself. I left Newport Beach, CA on 7-31-04 and arrived Harvard Square 8-4-04…although I was driving a 2001 Chrystler Concorde LXI, which made the trip a little more tolerable. Something about being out on the open road alone with the ability to stop where you want, eat when you want and see any point of interest you want…makes for a great road trip.
I’m currently renting a room in a house in Franklin, MA for 300 a month. I really lucked out when I found this. Down side is it’s 40 minutes to school. like you I plan on attending a med school out here (if accepted) I hope make new friends along the way and maybe even get a little support group going in the Boston area of older pre-meds!
Thank you for sharing your travels and medical school plans. I always look forward to hearing from fellow Californians about coming to the Boston area to pursue education. Keep in touch!
Robert Pena III
35 y/o Pre Med Student
Harvard Extension School

Your post brings back fond memories for me.I bought a Honda CRX Si new in 1988. I loved that little red car. 40 mpg and boy could it move. Unfortunately, it met its demise one March am in 2001 on a patch of ice on a foggy day. Had it not had a collison with that big white cadillac I am sure it would still be going strong. Only 140,000 miles in 2001 (13 yrs old). As luck would have it, I had dropped the full coverage insurance in Jan 2001 and it was totaled in the accident. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Congratulations on your decision, Robert. But the hard part is still to come: not just doing well in your classes, but sticking with your long-range plans, and getting rid of the self-doubt about one’s abilities. You have to be absolutely convinced that medicine and health care is what you want, and being a doctor is what you want to be. And you have to exude that through your coursework, to the admissions committees, to the nayasayers, etc. Self-doubt has been my problem, and I’m finally working things out.
I graduated from college at age 37, and at age 41, I’ll be starting my lower and upper division coursework in January. It will still be 3-4 years before I apply. (I’m in rural Mexico right now doing rural health work).
Why didn’t I take my premeds earlier? I did in 1982, but I ended up in other areas of health care outside of the physician track. Now I have to retake them because I’ve been told they are too out-of-date. But I was also plagued by my doubts about re-taking them and about my chances of acceptance at an advanced age. Despite more than a decade of volunteer health work, working as a medical assistant, starting and running clinics, I didn’t think I could do the next step: going to medical school. So I put off re-taking the premed coursework.
Another reason why I went to Mèxico was to mull over my options and figure out why I keep self-sabotaging my aspirations. What self-confidence I had in the past had somehow whithered over the years. Now I am trying to rebuild my confidence in my abilities.
YOU CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. Doing so will simply delay your future medical career, you calling, your duty.
How do you like Harvard? They are my first choice for the MD-PhD.