Thanks to samenewme for telling me about this site.
I don’t feel alone anymore ---- and there is even a name
for it - non-traditional pre-med students. Cool!
Here’s the short-ish bio — I’m 41, partnered for 12 yrs, have
a 8 yr old son, have worked for/with doc’s for over a decade
doing “you-name-it” (I was stuck in IVF-lab land for a long time!)
Two years ago I had an epiphany at my kitchen table - I was at a
cross roads because the Optomestrist I was working for was retiring
and I asked myself what’s stopping me from finally doing what I want
to do - to become a physician.
Well, there’s money and time and memory…
can we talk about memory --geez, I really need an excellent
memory for Trig,Chemistry, etc. and it seems to have taken
a long vacation from my brain! Can anyone relate?
I’m struggling with taking full time credits and still working
nearly 30 hours a week. I’m hoping to cut down to just
one of my current jobs working for a D.O. (which I love!)
Anyway, I’m here and would love to know how others
handle it when people say,
“you want to go to medical school-- at your age”
These oldpremed-conferences sound like a great opportunity
I’d like to know more about them and if there are any in Calif.
Thanks for listening (reading)
I don’t know if maybe I’m just a far more intimidating presence than I realize, or maybe I look half my age (NOT) but I didn’t get too much overt “at your age” stuff. I got a lot of skeptical looks, though. My response was to shrug, and I advise you to do the same - how do they know what you can do?
You’ll learn to be selective about who you share your goal with, too. After a little while I got a sense about which friends and family members were more likely to share my excitement, and which were likely to make me uncomfortable by their silence or funny looks.
And for the folks who do NOT know you well (e.g. professors), “consider the source.” Since they don’t know you well, they really can’t comment on what you can do at this or any other age. I personally think I am doing a much better job of becoming a good physician at my age than I would have, had I done it earlier.
Welcome to OPM!
Hi, and welcome!
I’ve been fortunate that nearly everyone I’ve told about my plans has been extremely supportive. People surprise you sometimes. I have to tell you I’ve only taken seven or eight credit hours at once while working 30+ hours per week. Part of that is because the classes I need are offered during the day, when I need to be at work, and there are labs in there, which again carve a big chunk out of my work day. I’ll take 9 hours in the fall (Physics labs ARE offered at night, thank goodness), and drop down to 5 in the spring when I study for the MCAT.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint, for me.
Glad to have you around.
Hi MumMD, Welcome and I’m glad you’re joining us. That’s so funny what you say about that look - like a 6 year old who wants to be president. I know that look! I think all of us non-traditional applicants deal with these kind of reactions in some form or another. See my post about coming out of the Old Premed Closet. I actually am pretty young (25) and I look about 20, so I don’t think it’s the age that gets them. It’s that I’m an attorney - I always said I wanted to be an attorney from the time I was a little girl. I worked hard, went to one of the top law schools, and am making really great money working in one of the best law firms in the country. Naturally, it’s difficult for those who have known me as “the little girl who was going to be an attorney” to switch gears to the “attorney who is going to be a doctor.”
I also think people are just baffled by this concept of leaving all that behind - “throwing it away” they say, just because I don’t love it. For some people, the pursuit of personal fulfillment is not a good enough reason to leave financially comfortable situation. These were people who were proud of me and maybe even somewhat envious believing that just bc I was making six figures I had made it. I really believe that people mean well - it’s just the shock. One thing I’ve heard constantly throughout this process from younger and older people alike is that “Most people don’t like what they do.” It’s true. For a lot of people, a job is a way to make money to do the other things you enjoy. The job, to them, is not something that in and of itself bring they enjoy. And that’s okay for them. So it makes sense to me why they can’t really fully grasp my motivation behind this move.
I, too, have to agree with Mary. Almost immediately, I found myself selecting who and how much to talk about my plans. Some of my friends (who thought more like me) were so supportive, and others, who are great friends as well but tended to be more complacent with their work situation (of the school that “you don’t need to love what you do”), heard less. One of those friends actually had her feelings hurt by this, bc there was a time when I was really weighing this decision very heavily - it was almost everything I talked and thought about it. I sort of avoided her or was short with her during that time (in terms of what was going on in my life) bc I didn’t find her supportive. She sensed I didn’t like talking to her and I told her that I didn’t feel she was supportive and that this is really the biggest thing going on in my life. She’s tried to come around and be more supportive since then, but I know in the back of her head she thinks I’m insane and flighty. But I don’t need her to understand or approve - I just need her to be there and support me. And once I explained that to her, I think she’s done that. I also learned only to share my plans with my closest friends and family…Obviously, it leaked out a bit, but I didn’t fully announce it until I was sure this was something I was going to do.
Anyhow, in hindsight, I am happy that I had to hear and be asked some of these very pertinent questions/realities. It is a long and difficult road - you must ponder and be ready for these obstacles to make it through. I know it’s hard enough and you don’t need naysayers dragging you down, but if I was too sensitive or suspectible to the doubts of others I know I’d have a really difficult time with it all. It’s your life, not theirs, and they don’t have to live it.
People relate to others and the world in terms of themselves, their own values and thoughts. So you must consider the audience, if the person is someone who believes that a job is simply a way to make money or that you’re not supposed like what you do, then you can’t blame them really. They are only wishing the same for you, as for them. (As a side note, one of my pet peeves have been doctors who tell me they love what they do and couldn’t imagine doing anythng else, but that I should stick with law even though I’m miserable bc I have to think about loss of income, etc.) Anyhow, when I see this, I’m just really proud of myself and happy that I have different values and a different approach to life bc it would really suck if I had their view of the world.
Hi Laurel and welcome to OPM,
I wish you all the luck in the world as you start this journey. Don’t worry about your age. We all know that we get smarter as we get older
Hi there Laurel,
I started medical school at age 45 and never had anyone even look surprised that I was applying to medical school. I actually look my age (now 51) and get an occasional medicine resident ask me why I would want to do surgery. Other than that, no-one has ever questioned my decision to go to medical school.
When I was shopping around for an urban residency, my future program director at Cleveland Clinic asked my future fellow surgery residents if they had a problem with my age. He said that they looked at him with a surprised look and asked him if he was kidding. Can’t ask for better support than that.
It’s your dream and you are the one who will have to live it. Enjoy the journey (I am having a ball doing surgery) and post to let us know how you are doing.
Welcome! I’m 40 this year and starting a 6yr med program!
You are deferently not too old! Go for it. Older premeds are sure of what they want and have drive and focus. ( at least I want to believe that) Bill