Greetings and Happy New Year!

I have been visiting this site periodically for quite some time and am posting my first message today. The productive advice and level of support given on this site is truly remarkable and I am in full appreciation after having read so many of your posts. I am 36 years old and have not yet completed my BA/BS. When I was younger, I was able to complete an AA degree but incurred loan debt. After many years of casting about in low income jobs, I finally was able to pay off my defaulted loans and re-enter school recently. I love it and am so relieved to find that I am highly motivated to do well in my course work which was a concern initially. Giving up my full time job for school was scary but going back to school was a long time goal of mine. I know that I am definately passionate about serving in the health care field since my first brief experience working as a CNA about 6 years ago. It seemed the most realistic avenue would be to pick something in the allied health care field, so I am currently taking pre reqs in order to enter an Occupational Therapy program. However, the thought of becoming a doctor keeps strangely resurfacing. I have never taken it very seriously because it seems to be so absurdly unrealistic in my case. My grades suffered in the early years (one semester in particular)due to family difficulties and inexperience. Also, of course there is the age factor and the “am I smart enough” dilemma. I have had this private dream since I was 18 years after back-packing through Africa for a year to some day return and serve as a doctor. I would most especially like to work with refugees. Since then, life and immediate concerns took over and that dream became increasingly remote it seemed although I am struck by the fact that it has not faded. It has become particularly intense since I started school last semester. Well, I’m sort of at a loss and not sure what I should do now. I thought that working as an Occupational Therapist would satisfy me but now I’m not so sure any more. I have already started thinking about how I can integrate an education in OT toward eventually pursuing MD. Is that advisable? Do I have the calling, the brains, the energy to be a Doc. or am I just plain crazy? Well,that’s my story folks! Happy New Year to all of you and best wishes on your journey.

First of all, Amber, let me welcome you to our group! I think you will find it to be a very supportive and encouraging group, more than willing to answer questions and share experiences.
As to your dreams, don’t ever give them up. At 36, you are still quite young. I didn’t even begin my return to education and the premed to medical school journey until I was 47. Now, at 54, I am entering my 4th semester of medical school, and doing pretty well as I go!
Check with the school where you’ll be doing the work for your degree in Occupational Therapy. Some of the required courses may well correlate with those required for admission to medical school while others may be more specialized. Work on your degree, and if, along the way, you decide to take the extra courses to meet premed requirements, then so much the better.
DON’T, let me repeat, DON’T worry about the age factor. You are only as old as your attitudes make you. You are certainly not too old now, nor will you be in the future, to follow your dream. Whenever these thoughts crossed my mind, I had a good number of friends reminding me that I would be 5 years older than I was at the time in 5 years, regardless of whether or not I work towards attaining a very important goal. And the part about wondering “am I smart enough” was one that I am sure many of us have shared with you. The amazing thing is, like you said, I sometimes think we are much more motivated as we mature, thus what we might not be able to do as quickly as those younger, we can still accomplish through focusing and shear determination.
Best of luck as you proceed towards your goals!

Thank you for the warm welcome and encouragement. Also, it is good to hear that you are doing so well in med school. I will definately take your advice and check with the OT department. I have to admit that I do have a strong sense of time urgency in approaching the prospect of medical school, but you have helped put it into perspective for me. Even if it takes me 6 years or longer just to get in, I still won’t be too old! Many thanks!
Best Wishes, Amber

Hi Amber,
Linda W. had given you some great advice. You can’t get a better role model than Linda. She has had some very difficult mountains to climb but she does it with grace and excellence.
As she said, take your time. At age 36, you have plenty of time to get ready for medical school. Attend to the things that you need to attend to and apply when the time is right.
Just making the decision to get started with your dream is a step in the right direction. Come to the convention in DC if you can make it. There will be so much good will and with the present speaker list, you will be inspired and informed.
Welcome to the group! Post and let us know how you are doing.

Greetings and Happy New Year to you also!! You will definately find a wealth of information and encouragement as a memebr of OPM. I will be completing a AAS in Respiratory Therapy this May and, I think it was the best decision I could have made to prepare me for medical school. I have interests in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and, being a RT will expose me to many situations that require excellent critical thinking skills and management in difficult situations. Pursuing this degree prior to finishing my bachelors may have put me back a couple of years but, that time will also allow me to develop a better financial base and enjoy life a little prior to applying to medical school. My BS will be in Biotechnology from the Rochester Institute of Technlogy and, several of my courses will transfer into that program. I will start with O-Chem and other classes in the fall of 2005 but, most of my humanities courses are done so, I will have maximum time to focus on my pre-med requirements.
I never worry about the age issue anymore…so many members of this group have dispelled the notion of age until my focus is on doing the best I can in my course work and strive to make myself a candidate that medical schools would like to have in their program. I will be participating in research this semester on optimal ventilatory modes for cardiothoracic surgery patients and on the flip side, taking a black and white photography class just for “kicks”. It definately can be done no matter the age if you have faith in yourself and your abilities. If you believe it, you definately can achieve it!!!