Software Engineer wants to pursue medical dream at 41

decided to go Oceania University of Medicine because if you have 5 years of more clinical experience as an NP they waive the MCAT and some of the pre-reqs. None of the schools here in the U.S. offer this option. It is a relatively new school based out of Samoa and focuses on classroom and distance based learning for the first 2 years and then years 3 & 4 are the same as other med schools where you are in the hospitals doing rotations. My friend graduated from Oceania and has just started her residency here in AZ. As it is a foreign school I will be required to take USMLE which is from what I hear is a fairly tough exam. Oceania accepts students from Samoa, Nth America, Australia and the U.K.

Okay, maybe someone can help me on this site. I have been thinking of medical school for couple of years now and have not been able to act on it. Why? Fear! I have three kids and wife. I am the only working person in the family. If I quit to attend premed classes full time the family will struggle financially. I am currently 41. The prerequisites courses could take me two years if I attend part time (I would like to begin this fall – LaSalle University Postbacc program) and then apply to med school. By the time I begin med school, I will probably be 44. By the time I am done with med school and residency, I will be 50. Will I be able to pay back the loan and live comfortably without just working to pay back the student loan? I know some people are older than me who got into med school; do you have any advice on what I need to do?

Welcome Kploh,

Sorry you haven’t had any comments or advice from the forum so far. Normally I think we are a more chatty lot. :wink: The posts queue up pretty quickly, turning the older ones stale sometimes, so I think sometimes reposting to grab some attention helps…

Anyways, our situations are remarkably similar. I will be 41 this year, married with two children, only income provider, software engineer and at times still wrestling with the same fears and doubts that you mentioned.

I’ve been inspired by so many on the OPM forum (Richard from Kansas comes esp to mind right now), that it would mean something special to me if I could pass even a small portion of that inspiration along to others.

It has been nearly three years now of working on my pre-requisite science courses, volunteering and shadowing, while keeping up my commitments to my family and career, and still I am just as enthused to be on this road now and putting in applications next summer as I was from the start nearly three years ago… OK, maybe not everyday am I as giddy on the idea as when I first started, but it’s usually a calm and comforting sense of purpose and satisfaction that I can tap into daily.

Some adivce I am starting to give others that I meet who are fresher on the pre-med journey is to check that after some months of having taking classes and volunteering you still have this type of motivation and sense of calm satisfaction with the decision to become a doctor, otherwise it might be wise to take a step back and make an honest a reevaluation of the committment.

For me to stay in this game, it is essential to have a philosophy or guiding framework for my life that basically says since life is short, a well lived life is one which makes the most of our potential and makes a maximum positive impact on the lives of others that need it most. There are sacrifices that one must make for this philosophy to take practical shape, but in the end they will always be outweighed by the satisfaction of seeing lives that can be touched for the better.

And finally and most importantly, to succeed at this test of endurance it’s absolutely crucial to communicate almost daily with your spouse, verifying the shared committment and sacrifices you both have been and will be making, but just as importantly reminding each other of the reasons and the rewards for taking this journey.

Well, keep us updated on your plans… and feel free to drop me line anytime at

I wish you all the best…


Only advice would be to get started, and realize that you can’t rush this. Seriously. There is no way to rush this. I emphasize this more for myself than anything. I’m pretty impatient in general, and want to do things when I want to do them. It won’t work in this case.

I am also a software engineer, a few years older than you, but also further down the road to finishing the pre-reqs. I will be older than you when I get in though, and I’m still doing it. If you’ve read any amount of info off this site, you’ll see a common theme. That is, you’re going to get older anyway, you might as well follow your dreams.

Having a wife and kids makes things tougher for sure in a lot of ways. Still doable though. I am fortunate to not have that side of things working against me, but also lack the support that having an understanding spouse could bring. If your spouse is not 100% with you, then you are in for a rocky ride for sure.

Best I can say is get started with classes. Don’t bite off too much, especially if you’ve been out of school a while. No, it’s not like the working world. Yes, us older folks can kick butt in these classes though. You’re going to need top grades to show that you can still do recent, top level work. Take too many classes and get mediocre grades, and you’ll be screwed. Be honest with yourself on what you can do with a family to take your time as well.

Good luck!

I second what the two previous posters have said. If it has been awhile since you have been in school, start slow to get back into the feel of being a student. One of the bad things to do at this point is to dive in full-time and do poorly. Set yourself up for success by testing the water first.

Welcome and good luck!! Please keep us posted on your progress.

Yep. You can do it. I think the other responders have nailed it. The only thing I might add is that the advantage you will have is focus. More specifically, coming back to take on pre med and med school at your age (I’m 47, just finished pre reqs) means you really want it. That needs to translate into time in the books.

For me, things came more slowly than in undergrad, but I spent significantly more time studying and was a lot more serious about class.

At the end of the day we want to care for people. Yours is a noble calling. Go for it!