Hello Everyone! I am in the Washington DC area/Northern Virginia. I am thinking about completing the pre-requisites to attend medical school. My great grandfather and grandfather were both eye doctors. I used to perform medical research through my high school’s mentally gifted program at The University of Pennsylvania and Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philly. I did my undergrad at a school that also had a respected Physical Therapy program. I am a little bit afraid of chemistry and organic chemistry especially. I did well in chemistry when I was a high school student, but that was a long time ago. I also have a young child. I have been finding people to watch him on Care.com, but I know that might be a problem. I could possibly leave my son with my husband. I am just trying to figure out if I should bother with this dream. My husband is not supportive of me going back to school for anything, but I think he is insecure. He has said in the past that he worries about me getting a higher paying job (like I used to have) because he thinks I will leave him. I need to do what is best for me at this point in my life. I cannot build my life around another person. I want to be independent and I want to see if beginning a career in medicine is possible for someone who is 40. I have a Master’s in Special Education and I used to be an IT Recruiter. Prior to that, I was a mortgage loan officer.
Welcome, HelloJeffrey! Feel free to start your own thread if you’d like feedback on your personal situation, or have any questions. We’re a friendly bunch.
I second Lorien’s post.
Hello, I also just joined this community forum and wanted to introduce myself here as well instead of creating another discussion topic.
I am from the Bay Area in California. I did my undergrad at UC Davis, worked for a few years as a pharmacy tech & personal trainer and am in the application cycle right now but it’s not looking too good as I haven’t received any interviews (applied to 24 allopathic schools) and its pretty much April…
Anyways, just wanted to say hi and thank you for sharing your unique stories!
Welcome to OPM. Being 40 is definitely not too old for this, as you can see!
However, I will caution you that not having the full support of your spouse will present a problem. Note that I did not say “could” present a problem. It “will” present a problem. The pre-med journey, not to mention medical school, is an arduous, long, and expensive endeavor. If you have a partner, he needs to be 100% committed to what you are doing. Because you will be in class long hours, up nights studying, studying on weekends, out volunteering or shadowing, etc. You will not have time to do some of the home duties you are probably doing now, like taking care of your son, or going out together as frequently. This is not meant to discourage you, but to be realistic. I have seen marriages both fail (my own) and become stronger (one of my best friend’s) throughout this process. For those that become stronger, it’s because the spouse was completely on board with the dream of becoming a doctor and was willing to make sacrifices so that dream could happen. You really need to have an honest discussion with your spouse about this, find out where he truly stands. This advice comes from my own personal experience – my marriage fell apart during my post-bac in part because my husband wasn’t completely on board with my dream of becoming a physician.
Best wishes to you, whatever path you take.
40 is not too old
Check out the linkage program at GW in DC
having support of spouse is typically recommended as it does/can/will cause issues if not
I cannot really address the family issue as I’m a single mom of a now 23 year old son… single as in: financially, physically, mentally raised him on my own. Not patting myself on the back but rather saying I did not have to deal with any negativity from someone else…
Keep coming back here - no doubt others have dealt with a similar family matter
You say 40 like it’s a bad thing!
Thank you for everyone’s very thoughtful and informative advice. My husband knew that I wanted to attend medical school before we were even married in 2004. Once we got married, he totally changed his tune. I really would like my marriage to work out, but there are other issues. He does not want to see me in a career where I can make more than he makes as an electrical engineer. I am just trying to focus on the things in my life that I can control, like, my career. I used to do technical recruiting and business development, but it’s not a very stable career path for most people. Before that, I did mortgages for about 10 years. I always had an interest in science. Then, I taught Special Ed and I ended up working so many hours that I had to pay for childcare on weekends and some evenings. The pay is not really high enough to warrant that. I have a 23 month old son.
I went to an open house for GW’s Northern Virginia Campus on Thursday night. My husband agreed to watch our son. They have a post-bac program, but I wasn’t able to get any information from the Reps they had there. Every other program’s reps were friendly. The post-bac program reps seemed a lot more interested in talking to people who were in their 20’s about their Bachelor’s in Pharmaceutical Science. I did manage to get a business card from the table where the woman was giving out information once she walked away. I also talked to a woman who was interested in the PA program at GW. She told me that most medical schools will not accept classes taken at a community college. Does anyone have experience with taking prerequisites at a community college and then applying to medical school? I can also take the classes at George Mason University if I need to do so. It’s a lot more expensive than community college. The PA program looks like a good option as well, but I would much rather be a physician than a PA. I am worried about organic chemistry. One of my friends from high school is a PA, she told me that some of the clinical courses in the PA program are a lot harder than organic because you don’t have much time to learn the information. She is one of the most organized people I have ever met and had one of the highest GPA’s in my high school class. She is a single mom. Never married and I think the PA route was the best route for her at the time.
If you’re going to consider the PA route, don’t discount the differences in prerequisite courses and experience (many recommend or require thousands of hours of clinical experience). I got into Med school and probably wouldn’t even be considered by PA schools based on my background.
GW requires 1,000 hours of clinical experience. I’m not sure which route I want to take. I was going to start taking chemistry this summer.
PA school is actually harder to get into than med school, all things being equal.
As for GW’s post bacc program, it sounds a lot like the one at Hopkins. So I wouldn’t waste my time with it. You might want to consider looking into the certificate program at George Mason. I get the impression that they don’t care much how old you are.
Lastly and this is striclty my personal opinion and not an attempt to be negative, but I couldn’t stay married to someone who didn’t support my goals, I was a woman with goals LONG before was a wife and a man that couldn’t honor that and be supportive, would have to go. You must consider that if you do manage to finish med school and he stays resentful of your success, you could end up paying him alimony in a divorce. I’m not saying that you should choose your career over marriage (which men almost NEVER do), just that truly loving a person means that you love ALL of them, INCLUDING their dreams.
I dipped my toe in the water with Calculus believing I was unable in that area as well. But I am doggedly pursuing this goal. i will second what Lorien said. I was in a long term committed relationship with a man who SWORE he was fully supportive of my journey. His indecisions cost me about a year in this process, and when I finally got accepted to a Post Bacc, 4 days later, he basically killed the relationship with some abrupt, and devastating actions. Been going it alone, ever since. This is not for the faint hearted. That being said, we have a LOT of success stories around here!! And 40? NEVER TOO OLD!!!
Hello and welcome! While I’ve not been in a similar situation, I agree with the others that the family situation is a cause for worry and stress in a process that is already full of worry and stress. I hope that you can find a way through it. You need the support of someone you know you can lean on. None of us get through this alone.
Also, don’t be scared or intimidated by the subject matter. Keep asking questions, try different things and experiment with what study habits work and what doesn’t work, and put in the work. I went back to school as a “former English major” to see if I “could even do science.” It’s more than possible and you might surprise yourself.
Organic is not actually that difficult - lots of memorization but if you can come up with an effective strategy for that, and use “Organic Chemistry as a Second Language” to help with the concepts, it ends up being very do-able. Also I hear the Khan academy (free) videos on line are very helpful. Most any topic can be learned if you are willing to a) devote the time to it and b) try out and adjust your learning strategies as needed.
Best of luck!
Do any of you have advice on financing medical school? I am thinking about trying to pay down my higher than average student loan debt from grad school before applying to medical schools. I’m investigating different types of student loans.
Thanks for the feedback on spouses and pursuing a career in medicine.