I have been reading this forum like crazy and really appreciate all of the honest, open answers that I find here. Not to mention the good advice of those who have gone before (or, at least are a little farther ahead!).
I am 47 years old and will be 48 in late September. For some reason, I don’t think I am too old for med school (my 29 year old daughter does!), though I do have some concerns about stamina and sleep deprivation.
Please bear with me as I tell my story, it’s probably going to be long…
Maybe the best way to start is to try to articulate why I want to be a doctor: mostly, because, now that I’ve given myself permission to think it might actually be possible, I can’t really picture myself doing anything else. I have a major drive to give something back to the world/society. I like to “fix” things and solve problems, and am pretty well organized. Ok, so those aren’t really reasons why I want to be a doc, but they are traits that I think might help. Guess that wasn’t such a great way to start!
I never thought I could be a doctor. Honestly, it never occurred to me as a real possibility until recently - it was something ‘other’ people (ie: more privileged) did. I am the first one on my Dad’s side of the family to even go to college (I have a BS in Business, with a concentration in Finance), never mind graduate. And I did that after ummm… getting pregnant, then married at 17 (in my jr year), finishing high school on time while also starting college in my senior year. Sigh. I’m used to working hard.
I started in nursing school while still married, before I got the BS. Got pregnant with my 2nd child and dropped out of nursing school halfway through. I can now honestly say that he was really an excuse - I was only 19 and intimidated and frightened by nursing school. Really too bad. I should have stayed. Got divorced when my son (child #2) was 2. That’s when I went back and got my BS - as a single mom with 2 small kids. Once I got out of school, I spent the next years climbing the so-called ladder and trying to support my kids (their dad wasn’t much help). Always retained an interest in health and medicine and read about it regularly.
My kids grew up, my family died (sounds awful, but it’s pretty much true) and I finally got my life on track to go back to nursing school. Except that I messed it up again by getting involved with the guy I am now married to. That is a long story in and of itself and probably doesn’t belong here. Ahem. I kept trying to get back to nursing school and finally managed to make it work. I am now finishing up A&P II and getting ready to start full time in the fall in a BSN program.
Anyway, due to this marriage I now live in VA (kids live in the Carolinas). Somehow, I became convinced that I was supposed to enroll in an EMT-B class I saw an ad for last winter. Also a long story - the short version is that I felt “called” to do so. I still don’t understand it myself and am uncomfortable with that terminology but it’s the only explanation I have.
I successfully completed the EMT-B and am now licensed and volunteer with my local rescue squad. That’s what really changed my life and my outlook on medicine. I realized that I was doing a (very) rudimentary form of diagnosis as an EMT - and liked it. The other thing that really made me think about it was the contrast between being an EMT and a CNA. I work part time on a cardiac floor at my local hospital as a CNA. I am one of those people that, when I know something, I KNOW it, though not in an arrogant way. With my EMT knowledge fresh in my mind, on some level it was strange to be in the hospital as a CNA (I was VERY aware of my scope! - didn’t want to make any mistakes). I also began watching the nurses more closely, seeing what they ‘really’ do. And I came back to the conclusion I came to 20 some-odd years ago: they do all the same work as aides, but have the added responsibility of, among other things, charting, meds, and dealing with the doc’s. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wiping butt! I had originally planned to become a CRNA but when the possibility of med school entered my mind and I began to research it, I kind of felt like why do the same basic work and get paid half as much when it will take me just as long to get there? Why couldn’t I be a doctor instead? Plus, my personality seems more suited to that vs. nursing - I want to do more than follow someone else’s orders. I want to figure it out and fix it (if possible).
I am totally fascinated by how the body works and I have a sincere desire to help people. I’ve driven my A&P instructor a little nuts this summer by asking questions that have more of a clinical orientation - he is strictly bio - but he appreciates the different perspective and encourages me to keep asking. Says it keeps him on his toes. He also appreciates it when I come back later with the answers to the questions I’ve asked! He has encouraged me to apply to the post bacc premed program I am putting my pkg together for and will recommend me - he says that, based on what he has seen of me as a student in his class, he thinks I have a shot at it. That made me feel good, though I had made the decision to apply before he said that.
I am not getting a lot of support from the people around me regarding this. My daughter is actively against it (thinks I am too old, among other things), my son is fairly neutral (just wants me to be happy), my friends think I should just make it through nursing school (only 3 more years vs. 6+), and my husband says he will help, though it is difficult to count on him. The things that I read on this forum help me keep going. Even though you all don’t know me yet, I see enough in the discussions that I can apply to my situation to give me hope.
Thank you all for being there.
Welcome! Who cares what your adult daughter says. It’s not like you are responsible for feeding her every night lol. Welcome to the ride. Buckle up it’s gonna be a good one.
^^^ what she said ^^^
who cares what ANYONE says about YOUR dream.
Go for it. Don’t stop. Don’t look back. Don’t wonder why. Just go, go, go.
See you at the finish line
The story of your life path is unique yet very much like others here who populate OldPreMeds. What I almost always recommend to people in similar circumstances is a post-bacc, whether formal or informal. Since you are considering spending 7 years or more in medical school and residency, not to mention the the 200K debt to be incurred, spending a year or two in post-bacc for a few thousand dollars will give you a chance not only to show medical schools you can do the work but also show yourself if you want really want this life. You can study and take the MCATS and apply. But you do not have to make a decision until you actually have a letter of acceptance in your hand.
Do the post-bacc, all your doing are spending is a little time and little money (in comparison to medical training). You are risking very little. And if you decide that it isn’t for you, you can drop it. But, and this is the key, if you stick it out in postbacc for two years, you bust your butt on the MCAT, you prepare your applications to shining perfection, if you go thru all that and still have a fire in your belly of commitment, I think you have shown yourself that you really, really want this
well, i just returned home from a doctor visit, during which two residents strolled in and introduced themselves. one of them was probably (guessing) 36 and the other was approximately 30. the doctor, himself, was around 43. i asked them all about the rigors of medical school, residency, etc., and whether a 50 something year old could handle it. they all said “it is not that bad. it’s actually fun.” the doctor said that he thoroughly enjoyed residency AND med school and “what better did i have to do?”
so, in response, i think if you are healthy in mind and body and have the passion for it, you won’t be nearly as affected by any sleep related issues.
additionally, my girlfriend physician who is 54, says that she cannot dream of doing anything else and that you just do it, don’t think about it and that her job (VA internal medicine) absolutely does not feel like work. she works 4 days/week (monday-thursday–8:00-6: 30) and is on call every 5th weekend. sounds good to me.
You will definitely do well in the interview, with your EMT background. Just do well on the MCATS, etc.
Do not give up.