I must admit that I still wonder if this site is real. OLD (er) PRE MEDS!
I guess without the internet we’d never have such things.
Anyway, my first post here is motivated by the “How old is too old” thread.
I am 46 and at the point of needing to retool my skills. (ie I’m a displaced programmer) Having only a 2 year degree (AAS) I now find myself with the opportunity to complete my 4 year degree. I gave up the med school idea over 20 years ago, as I wasn’t a very committed student at the time. Got the AAS in programming and thought the future was bright.
Times and technology change.
I attended a 4 year college right out of high school - didn’t study, didn’t graduate, didn’t care (or so I thought).
The title of my thread is what the pre-med advisor at the college I attended told me at our one and only meeting.
My first attempt at college is another story and judging from all the “Adult Education” programs I see advertised, I’m not the Lone Ranger.
Anyway, about a month or so ago, before finding OPM, I had a dream where I remember telling someone that I was back in school and back in premed (or something to that effect). Don’t remember much more, but I remember thinking the next morning how strange that I would dream something like that. Although like many of you I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, I dropped the idea long ago. I place no significance in dreams, but it did get me thinking “I wonder if its too late?”. Sometime later I read an article by a medical student in a local publication. The student, I noticed, was in his 40’s.
Again, I started thinking.
Next thing you know I find OPM!
Well, I could go on and on, but I’d just like to submit a couple of questions for your consideration and comments.
1 - Is it really a viable course of action to attempt prereqs at this age with the intent of Med School at 50 or over.
2- (I have to ask this -Please take no offense) Is it possible that being a white male at this age is a disadvantage in regard to other applicants over 40.
3- GPA. With my poor performance from the past, even if I ace all prereqs
my GPA will still not be that good.
4- Am I totally insane?
I’m going to go for the 4 year degree anyway. I’m considering whether or not PreMed is the way to go. I started years ago, but got distracted. I’m not looking for people to respond with “Go for it, what have you got to lose. You can make it” type stuff, although I can appreciate that. I simply want more understanding of the feasability of this.
Hope this makes sense.
Thanks to all for OPM.
ps - Can’t accept EMails at this time. Thanks.
I must admit that I still wonder if this site is real. OLD (er) PRE MEDS!
Welcome! Gotta say, I loved reading your note. Well said!
First of all, I believe dreams are important. Daydreams, “alert”/waking dreams, and dreaming while asleep all tell us a thing or two. In this case, yours got you to revisit something important about who you are now and were back then.
These are my answers to your questions, so take 'em with a grain of salt!
1.) Only you can determine whether being a 50-something applicant is a viable course of action. You could come back and spike a 4.0 in pre-med science courses and rock the MCAT, do CPR, EMT, CNA or some other certification, research, volunteer, etc., etc. and be a great applicant. Or, you could mess around grade-wise and do not a whole lot of anything else to distinguish yourself from the applicant pile. You see what I mean! You determine your application even though you can’t change your past, academically or otherwise.
2.) I’m a 40-something, white-by-appearances female. A good applicant is a good applicant. I worked at a Pennsylvania ICU recently that is in a teaching hospital. Several of the Family Med, Ob/Gyn, and Radiology residents were definitely older, non-trad white males; age, gender, and race hadn’t hurt their applications. (And no offense taken!)
3.) OK, this is where you need to come back and spike VERY good grades so that your overall average on AMCAS and/or AACOMAS makes the first cut in the application process. If your old GPA is a 2.0 and your new GPA is a 4.0, it shows that you’ve matured considerably. You will need to discuss your past performance briefly in your essay, plus maybe in your interviews (but only if they bring it up). Coming back as an older student, you must get your professors on your side so that your letters are top-notch. Fortunately, I’ve found that as an older student, faculty tended to ask my opinion and generally treat me as if I’m a colleague. Remember: never whine, complain, or pass in assignments late (like some students do, young or old).
4.) A full psych exam might answer this one! You sound no more insane than anyone here. Seriously, older, non-traditional students can become excellent pre-meds, med students, residents, and practicing physicians, so why not you too? It’s a reasonably sane thing to do, IF you truly are motivated to do the work.
The whole process is “nutty” in my words, “capricious” in OldManDave’s words. I can not tell you if you will be accepted, but this is a great place for info, support, encouragement and resources. You can throw out a question on the forums and, almost always, someone here will respond. So welcome!
(The only thing I wonder/question in what you wrote is your possible assumption to go “pre-medical”. These days, med schools don’t give a grain over what your major is. I know of a cello major who attended Yale Med School, a dance major/Broadway dancer who is now a psychiatrist and a former teacher and church organ repairman who is doing cardiothoracic residency at Columbia. Major in whatever you LOVE, but get all the med school requirements done in the process. Do well on everything and be active! — I got A’s in Jazz Dancing as well as most of the science requirements. The “dancing A” probably got more notice from the schools than my “science A’s” at my ripe age of 43! — You will need the undergard degree, but like I said above, major in what you love while getting the pre-reqs done well.)
Med schools are in flux over the pre-reqs, so contact the schools you’re interested in and check the MSAR too. Some schools are nixing the second semester of organic chem and replacing it with a semester of genetics or biochem, so double check with 'em. (Networking with your schools is also important; let 'em get to know you well before you apply).
Most of all, good luck! Things will undoubtedly happen along the way. Any successful applicant I’ve met has found a way over, around, and through obstacles. You probably can too. Take care!
I think you are correct that I need to revisit something from my past. Apparently I never resolved this issue.
OPM may be the only type of a “support group” available to me. I’m single, so there is no spouse to offer encouragement and my siblings will think I’m on another one of my unrealistic fantasy trips. I appreciate your words. (Linda W. also! - thanks for the Emails. [my email is currently not working])
I have 14 years hospital experience (patient transporter, “orderly” (remember that term), phlebotomist)
so I have some idea of the playing field. When I started doing computer work, I thought I’d never miss the hospital environment, but I’ll tell you I miss it. (bedpans excluded, of course )
I’m not asking for a guarentee that I will be accepted; I just want to be sure that this has been done and can be done. No doubt many deserving applicants are not accepted.
What is the secret?
I don’t think anyone knows for sure. A combination of factors no doubt.
Thanks again for your time and reply.
I’ll chime in here with what I think is the secret…keep in mind that I’m in the application process…
What “old” premeds have as an advantage over “new” ones:
an honest love of medicine discovered through life experiences + a sense of “centeredness” that only comes with living out on your own for a while (whatever that means- having children, losing parents, working, etc.)
I’m not knocking the newbies fresh out of school. They certainly have their strengths. But there is a difference between someone who “always wanted to be a doctor” and went to college, majored in premed, went straight into med school…and the person who took a different path, worked in a few careers, got married and had kids, has weathered life’s storms, and has grown into themselves and finally discovered their true calling.
I think our dreams are important. About three years before I was able to actually start in my premed postbacc courses, I was working in a bank in order to pay off my old student loans and to start getting my life in order and in a place where I COULD go back to school and not have anything to worry about but classes.
I found myself starting to have these vivid dreams where I was late for my physics class and that I couldn't find the classroom; sometimes I would be wandering thru the building looking for the class. Once I admitted to myself that I was going to do this goal, come what may - then the dreams started to change to where I had found the class but was maybe just a few minutes late. Eventually the dreams became me there on time with my notebook and textbook, and then they stopped altogether.
I absolutely think these are important ways for our unconscious to communicate with us - and the sense of urgency, or serenity or whatever the feeling attached - is very important too.
Good luck and welcome to the journey !