I wish I could honestly say that OldPreMeds was meticulously planned from its inception…but that would be a lie. The original 6 of us met on The Princeton Review’s chat board and more or less bonded from the constant flack we took from the ‘kiddies’.
Long story made short, Jeff Casto had an idea that it’d be easier for the 6 of us to communicate through a e-mail list-serve. So, I agreed to co-manage it with him and we named it OldPreMeds to honor our thread title of choice on TPR: Old Fart Pre-Meds.
We started with only 6 in Jan '98 >>>> we now have over 750 members and, as you can obviously see, have recently launched a web site. By the way, this URL is only a temp home. The Student Doctor Network has agreed to host our web site, once we get some hosting conflicts worked out. There, we’ll be able to grow much quicker and the page will work much more quickly.
How does OPM work? It is very similar to the way medical education itself works. Those who are more senior in the process pass along their knowledge, experiences and wisdom to those who not quite as far along. To accomplish this, we have members of all ages (early 50s to early 20s) at all levels of training (pre-meds, med students, resident and attendings – even a Dean, an Asst Dean and a BioChem professor) who are willing, as they are able, to field questions of any sort about getting into or surviving medical school.
OPM directs its efforts toward the non-traditional students and their families. One of the most frustrating elements the orginal 6 found was a paucity of information beneficial to the non-trad on applying to med school. As non-trads, we have unique needs & responsibilities that must be addressed. So, decided to use OPM as a vehicle to accumulate, organize and distribute individual pearls of wisdom amongst ourselves and anyone else who cared to join us.
What started out as an informational and experiential exchange service has evolved into an electronic community. There is a connectivity, born of common struggles and experiences, that has bound many of us into long-distance friends. Many of us feel we have a vested interest in facilitating the success of the other members of OPM and we do as much as our own schedules permit to accomplish this. Many of us have met, in person, when traveling from place to place. I have been fortunate in meeting many of our members.
Eventually, as we generate our first OPM alumnus class - this year as a matter of fact - OPM will begin to serve as a networking tool for its members. Interested in a field of medicine? Simply look up the OPM alums in that area and contact them…maybe even apply for a clerkship with them.
We envision this to be an organization that always will direct its efforts to the needs of non-traditional students, from the early pre-med days all the way until you’re an attending. With each step, the member becomes more & more of a resource for those junior to him/her.
That is the concept, the vision, the dream that is OldpreMeds. To get the most out of OPM, or any other challenge in your life, always remember – you will only get out of something what you put into it. So, please…be an active member of OPM. Take advantage of what we are willing to offer you. In exchange, all we ask is that you give back, just as you received. There are no dumb questions. More than likely, someone else is out there wondering the same thing…so ask it. The answers you receive may just be that missing piece for you or another member.
I wish you all the best of luck and success!