here's my story ....

After working as a mechanical engineer on the Space Shuttle Program for the past 15+ years, I’m ready to pursue my dream of being part of a medical team … My current position at the rocket ranch is directly related to actual FLIGHT of this beast and, the lack of flight over the past two years, has given me a lot of time to ponder my future.
When I first entered the university, I was “pre-vet”. After a couple years, I mistakenly assumed my calling was in engineering because math was so easy for me (what an assumption). I didn’t really study hard - as I got passing grades — and that was all that I wanted then — just to pass. So, though I have had all the engineering coursework (chemistry, physics, calc) and the pre-vet coursework (bio, micro, genetics), they were completed 15+ years ago and not with particulary good scores.
Now, at a ripe age of just-over-forty, I’m ready to “hunker down” (borrowed from my hurricane vocab) and get ready to move on. I would love to be part of a medical team and have considered everything from paramedic, to PA, to RN, to MD to DO. But I keep coming back to wanting to be an MD - specifically working in the Trauma or Burn arena. So, I’m starting there!!! Over the past few semesters, I’ve finished A&P 1 and 2 and Chem 1. Next semester I’m enrolled in Chem 2 & Micro. Unfortunately, this time I’m having to complete them at our local community college. Is this gonna kill me? I’m pulling A’s this time around, but I’m studying like it’s my life.
I’ve been researching this MD stuff pretty hard. And, because I’ve been told that my chances of US acceptance is almost nill (due to age), I’ve started looking at the Caribbean schools and a bit at the DO programs. I don’t know exactly WHERE I’m headed, and I guess it doesn’t matter too much at this point… I still have several semesters and the MCAT on my plate - so I’ll just keep plodding along.
I’m currently volunteering as in the ER (triage). I was hoping to get a bit more exposure to ER medicine & trauma, but this hospital just doesn’t get much of that activity. I am still trying to shadow an ER surgeon in the next town — and intend contacting UF/Shands about shadowing. I don’t think I can keep up the scheduled Saturday volunteering though — it’s cutting into my study time and I’m already working 6 days at the rocket ranch (making up time missed to attend classes).
Sooooooo – anyone out there have any advice? I’m “all ears”. Thanks for reading my very long (and still incomplete) story…

Hi there… welcome.
Hmm… well, for one thing, if you look through this site some more you will see that many people have gained admittance to US schools (both allopathic and osteopathic) at your age or greater, so don’t think that the Carribean is your only option. And we also have a few former aeronautical type people here who will hopefully pop in and say hi Haven’t seen spacecadet around in a while, but I think she was employed by NASA before she was accepted to med school.
As for your CC coursework… I would probably try to take the gen bio, orgo, phys (assuming you’re planning to retake all of them) at a 4-year school if that’s an option for you, but IMHO the courses you’ve taken so far at the CC should not kill you. If anything it’s given you the chance to get back into the academics and figure out what you need to do to get those A’s. And if you decide to go the RN route you’ll already have the A&P and micro behind you.
We look forward to hearing more from you and best of luck with everything!

Thanks for the reply arciedee … I haven’t ruled out US schools – just decided that I won’t be detered for too long if I don’t get in … I’m willing to take an alternate path if required! I’ve been sitting behind a desk for way too long and, although I’m really excited to get moving, I realize that I have much to get together before moving-on. I’ve assumed a lot of stuff (material, debt, reaponsibilities, etc) over the past decade and realize it will take some time to get it all sorted out and am trying not to get overly anxious…
I’m having to re-take all these courses at at CC because of logistics — I have to remain employed at KSC for awhile and cannot commute to the university and still make my boss happy. Unfortunately, all these core classes are taught smack-dab in the middle of the day and although my boss is allowing me some flexibility to attend a couple each semester, I can’t figure in the additional transportation time to get to/fro the university … sigh.
To my silly question - I see some posts about being accepted for CLASS OF 2009 and even a few about applying 2010. What’s that all about? Do you 2009 folks already have all your pre-reqs and MCAT scores and you’re just waiting (due to personal reasons) till then? Or were you accepted w/o finalization of this stuff? What’s up??? I didn’t think I was that far behind on the 8-ball… I was hoping for c/o 2008 — ??? yikes.

Hi Funkill
Don’t feel too ‘alone’ in your camp. I’m 50, investing the next 2 years at redoing all Bio/Chem/OChem/Physics + a few others; and I just can’t wait to hit the MCAT; also volunteering in the triage area of a local hospital ER; I plan on giving the med schools up here in Quebec a real hard time at turning me down.
BTW, ‘Class of 2009’ means the class that graduates in 2009. If that helps any!

OMG Presse ---- of course 2009 means graduating class. I have totally lost my mind! Now I really feel like an idiot! And I just went to two friends’ graduations - Class of 2005. Duh - nothing clicked until now!
I read some of your posts and wish you luck. I look forward to reading about how you’re getting along. I wish I didn’t have to re-take all these courses, but do feel really good to eek out an A after those less-than-stellar grades I made as a youngin’.

Welcome to OPM! Along with the good advice others have presented here, let me add that for all practical purposes, MD = DO and so you’d be best advised to consider them both. We’ve got lots of DO folks here on OPM who can give you more information about the osteopathic schools. But basically there’s no substantive difference between the two “camps” from an application point of view, with the exception that historically DO schools have been somewhat more receptive to non-trad students. In terms of medical knowledge base and skills, DOs and MDs are the same… uh, well ok DOs have me beat because they can do OMM!

Hey funkhill,
Good to have you on the board. I’ll be applying for '08 entry, too!

Welcome funkill,
I agree with everyone else, definitely don’t rule out US schools, whether MD or DO, because right now the money situation is quite hard for offshore schools. Right now there is only one credit-based loan for most offshore schools, and they are very tough to get. I myself am going to school in the UK, and spending all of my inheritance, getting monthly money from my sister AND disabled mom (makes me feel crappy) and wehn I get back into the US, I will have to work part time to pay for 5th semester. Just keep making As, follow the rest of the good advice, and good luck!

Thanks for the “welcome” everyone. I’m having a bit of a down day — just seems that no matter what I do, it’s not going to be “enough” to get into med-school.
I realized that I need to start saving A LOT of money. So, I’ve brown-bagged it for the past couple weeks, cancelled cable, reduced home & cell phone, reduced auto insurance (increased home insurance & added flood – those insurance agents really “get-cha”), revamped my grocery list, and started looking at selling my oversized SUV in exchange for a $5000 - $7000 vehicle (arrrrrrrr), oh - and got a roommate (extra $250/mo).
I’m anxious to do more - but don’t know what it would be less quiting my job and enrolling at the University … and I don’t even know if that will be enough to make my application Vault …

Don’t be discouraged. The past is over, and all you can do now is get the best grades and scores you can. Try to get to know your professors to get letters of recommendations, and keep plugging away. “All you can do” can certainly be enough.
I’m cutting expenses myself–I was originally anticipating my spouse putting me through med school and am divorced now. So I’m all about the Aldi tuna fish and ditched cable and all of that. Sometimes it’s a lot of fun. But no matter what I do I’m still going to have big, fat loans at the end of this process, so I’m trying not to make myself nuts worrying about it.
I’m 41 and applying now. We’ll get there!

Hi there,
Your age is not going to be much of a factor in gaining admission to medical school in this country (DO or MD) as long as you complete your coursework and do well, do well on MCAT and present a competitive application.
I would strongly advise against any overseas school unless you find that you cannot get into medical school in this country. There are plenty of stories on this website about older students overcoming previous poor GPAs and changing careers and gaining admission to medical school here in the US.
Figure out the path that you need to take. Try to obtain professional pre-medical advice (Judy Colwell is a good start but there are others out there too)as you are a older student (over 40). This investment would be extremely good for you and well worth the money at this point before you invest thousands in tuition only to discover that you might take the wrong path or get poor advise from a traditional pre-med counselor.
Good luck!

Welcome I’m 41 in 1st year now. It’s hard but I don’t regret a minute of it. Hang in there do the best you can and do not give up staying in the US. Get through the premed and then see what you can do.
Good Luck