My story...where to go from here?

Hi Everyone-

I would like to say thanks in advance for taking the time to read my story and offer any words of wisdom regarding my situation.

My story:

For as young as I can remember I’ve always been interested in human science and health care disparities. As an undergrad student I pursued my BS in International Health Studies hoping to go the public health route. While I was happy with my decision to major in public health I still longed to be a part of the medical field so I took evening science classes for two years while I worked full time as a paraeducator for special needs middle school students.

I did OK in undergrad (3.2) from Georgetown and I got mostly A’s and B’s –a C in physics II in my pre-req classes from the Univ of Maryland. I decided to take the MCAT in 2007 & did horribly (19M), and then I decided to take them again in 2008 and still did horribly (18M). I applied to a post bac program that preps you for the MCAT and was accepted but after those two bitter scores I pretty much gave up on my dream of being a medical doctor and decided to pursue my Master’s in Public Health-- Epidemiology.

Now that I’m about to complete my Master’s I still have this desire to go on to medical school. I know medicine isn’t for everyone but I really want this-- I’m just terribly afraid of failing (esp the MCAT) and being rejected.

I need to decide whether I am going to try to re-apply to the MCAT prep post-bacc that I was originally accepted into last year. I’m just afraid that they won’t accept me this year because I withdrew my acceptance last year. I’m also 27 this year so I would be 29 going-on 30 when I started Medical school.

I’ve been really hard on myself lately for allowing so much time to go by since I graduated from undergrad in 2005—I’m not getting any younger and I want a family as well as a career.

Is 30 a realistic age to start medical school when I haven’t really had much of a career in the past and would like to have a family in the future?

Any advice/words of wisdom are greatly appreciated.



Umm, Angie, there are people who are 45-50 when they start, and if I’m lucky and get in starting for 2012 (2016 graduating class), I’ll be 40 when I finish. Yes 30 is a completely reasonable age! What is your GPA of your masters program currently? Which school is it through? Also, the MCAT, you scored a 19, then went down to an 18, did you study for these or take them cold? When I say study, I mean take a class or go over the books and do the problems for months, as well as taking the practice tests?

If this is something you really want to do, then the worst thing that can happen is letting fear get the best of you and not go for it. Sounds like you’ll have your work cut out for you, but nothing about this is easy. And many good things in life don’t come easy.

So I encourage you. Replace fear with hope and courage. Realize the work you will need to put in. And if at first you don’t succeed, then try again.

You don’t want to look back later in life and say, “Gee, if only I hadn’t been so fearful of failing the mcat then I could’ve been a physician.”

Maybe a good place to start is to think about the reasons why you want to be a doctor. If you are convinced that this is what you want for good reason, then you go for it. If you did ok in undergrad, pre requisites and master degree program, this should help to convince you that you have the ability to complete a medical degree. Secondly, your MCAT score in the past seems to be low at 18 and 19, but do not let these past experience prevent you from trying again. It might be a good idea to try to find the reason for the poor scores. Have you thought of the possible benefit of counseling? I have not taken the MCAT as yet, but from what i have heard, the anziety releted with preparing for and taking this test can be very high. Some people may just need xtra help to prepare for the MCAT. Finally, if you decide to take the MCAT again, take a good review class and prepare for at least 3 to 6 months. Give yourself the best chance. Do not doubt that your scores might improve greatly with excellent preparation and less fear. Remember at 30 yrs old, you might be one of the youngest members on this board. Yes, it is realistic to pursue a medical degrre after age 30.

I agree with the former posts. If you really really want this then I guess it’s never to late. I never got around to trying it out. I was too chicken and plus my dad needed me in his company. I really wanted to become a doctor but my responsibilities took me elsewhere. So what I’m saying here is that if you have the luxury of choice then I would just go for it and try it out.

Thanks everyone for your advise and support. Sorry for my delayed response–it’s been a busy last few months.

I do want to be a doctor–family medicine. It’s just that I can’t seem to stop beating myself about the choices I’ve made in the past–like doing this 2-year MPH instead of just doing the 1-year postbacc program so I could take the MCAT and apply to medical schools this year. Once again, I am my worst enemy and I have set myself back another 2 year

I’m not sure why but today has been especially rough. I’m not where I want to be in my career. I am no longer interested in epidemiology as my main concenstration. I don’t think I ever was. I think I wanted to get my MPH in hopes that it would curtail my desire to be a doctor.

Now I can’t seem to stop crying and I just feel so defeated. This forum is probably to only inspirational outlet I’ve been able to find and I am truly grateful for everyone’s encouraging words.

Now, I just got to dry these tears and push forward in this MPH program and then apply to postbacc programs for next year… it all seems like such an impossible task…sigh

You are not your own worst enemy. On the contrary, you are your own best friend. No one on the planet can do more to help your situation than can you. You made the decisions you made for whatever reasons you made them. If you decided poorly, that’s fine. Now you know better. You will continue to make the occasional poor choice; that is the nature of life. So when you fall down, pick yourself back up, figure out why you tripped, and move forward seeking to avoid making the same mistakes. Eventually, you can and will make better choices and do greater things, as long as you don’t give up.

Pain and feelings of defeat are never welcomed, but they serve a purpose. These feelings help us to think of what might bring us happiness. Your situation may not be as bad as you think; at leat you know two facts one is that you are not where you would have like to be in you career and the second is that you will like to become a doctor. Although crying is a necessary part of the human nature, there is a limit to the time we should spend crying. Hope you reach that limit rather soon,so you may continue working on becoming a doctor. Please, remember that your situation is not unique. Most of us on this board, have made bad career decisions for various reasons and have gone through some pain. There are a number of oldpred members who have had a master or doctoral degree in some other field. An MPH can at least be useful in the medical feild. You are nlot alone; hang in there. The best of you is yet to come.