Hello! I stumbled across this site while searching for resources for non-traditional pre-meds and medical students. What a great forum you have all created here! As a former non-trad who recently left private practice for academic medicine, this will be a great place to steer my older students for advice and support.
By way of brief introductions, my story is not unlike many of yours. I first thought about medicine in my teens, but it was so far off the radar at that time, that it remained a dream until my late 30s. Too long of a story to go into here…suffice to say thanks to a convergence of opportunity, ambition and a huge amount of support from my family, I started part-time post-bac work in Jan 2000 and was accepted to medical school in 2002, at the age of 43. Got the MD in 2006, finished family med residency in 2009, spent a year in private practice before once again following my heart and returning to my alma mater to combine teaching and medical practice. Was it tough? You bet. Would I do it all again? Probably, with just a few changes along the way. Was it all worth it? Absolutely.
I look forward to reading your stories and sharing this collective crazy dream. I hope to be posting some comments in the various forums, and welcome any questions anybody has about the application process, what to expect in school/residency, etc. For now just a couple of things to share that I learned along the way:
- The only person who can decide if you are too old is you. Too often non-trads make the mistake of seeing their age as a liability rather than an asset. 99% of the time during your training, the latter is the case.
- The way you assimilate knowledge changes as you get older; your ability to do so does not.
- It’s about the journey, not the destination. I think somebody in one of the forums compared the process to running a marathon. This is correct (from someone who’s done both). If all you think about is how much further you have to go, you’re defeating yourself. Put one foot in front of the other, focus on what is required of you in that moment, try not to stress about what you can’t control, and enjoy the scenery along the way. The rest will fall into place.
More later. To all who are here because you heed the call, best of luck and safe travels on your road less taken.