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Is 55 years to old to enter Medical School?

Discussion in 'China and Eastern Asia' started by driwantobe, Dec 26, 2009.

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  1. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    Dear all

    Could you please give me your honest opinion? Am I at 55, too old for Medical School?

    I always wanted to be a doctor, but becuse of my grades I could not enter medical school at the age of 19. So, I did the next best thing - that was to enter an alternative career and hope that one day I could get into medical school.

    Before I knew it, 26 years had passsed and still the desire to be a doctor had never left me. I continued with my (alternative) career because it helped me support a family and put my child to university.

    Now I am almost 'retired' and I had saved the money for medical school.

    I wish to enrol in a medical school in Indonesia, but because I speak a smattering of Bahasa Indonesia, I need to enrol in an International curriculum where the teaching is in English.

    I would appreciate it, if you could please give me your honest opinions. I would also be glad if medical students in Indonesia could give me some insights into the problems I may encounter if I wanted to study in Indonesia as a very matured (read: old) student.

    Thank you and I await your feedback.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2009
  2. benjee

    benjee Member

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    yes, it's alittle old but what's your intention of being a doctor, do u plan to practice medicine?? or just to study medicine for pleasure since you already retired and need something to do??
    and why in indonesia?? why not india??where they have english speaking medical schools. and you don't have to struggle.
  3. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    benjee

    First, I want to wish you a very happy new year and also I want to thank you for your reply. You are the first to reply.

    Yes, I want to study medicine to learn something more and I want to practice medicine and licenced in order for me to help people.

    I have been working in Indonesia for almost five years (not as a doctor of course) but in a different occupation and I have seen so many poor people. So, I want to study medicine in Indonesia and to be licenced so that I can help the poor in Indonesia.

    I have never been to India, so that is why I never thought of an Indian medical school. But I am open to studying there.

    Any way, I am open to studying any where so long as the medical curriculum is not too tough and competitive. Remember I am 55 yrs old.

    Please, give me your opinion and advice.

    God bless and thank you for your reply.
  4. benjee

    benjee Member

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    Same to you , happy new year.
    I appreciate your motives-- help others. But I would like to point out few things . First, medical schools are supposed to be tough and vigorous , if not, then , I would doubt the quality of the school. Second, there are many other ways to help others, not have to be a doctor.Third, practice medicine is a process of handling lives , any decision is critical which is totally different from other occupations. people go into medicine actually don't not treat it as an occupation or a job but rather part of their life. Here only my personal opinion,hope did not offend you in any way.
  5. Relativista

    Relativista

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    It has been 26 years, and the wish to enter Medical School has not gone away.

    If there are no other things that will prove hard for your conscience, like giving away your saved up money to your kids, spouse or whatever, you will feel worse if you don't enter medical school.

    I know this woman who entered med school at close to 50, after having worked in a closely-related profession, and she is finished now at 55. I don't like her, but not because of her accomplishment, which I think oozes respect-worthiness.

    Go 4 it.
  6. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    benjee - Thank you for your reply and I really appreciatie your honest opinions and they in no way have offended me.

    Yes, I agree with you there are many ways of helping people. At the moment, I can only give (not sell) over-the-counter medicines to the poor for simple ailments like ringworm, headaches, gastric pains, iron pills and vitamins. But what I really want to do is to be licenced so that I can help the poor because many of them cannot afford basic medicines (though generic medicines are not really expensive) and hopefully save lives too. I hope this explains my wish further.
  7. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    Relativista - Thank you for your reply.

    Can I ask you the name of the medical school which the woman you mentioned graduated from? I might want to apply there, provided itis not in the USA, because medical schools are too expensive there for foreign students.
  8. benjee

    benjee Member

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    well, if you really want to help out. then go for it. But by any chance do you know the process of getting to practice medicine in Indonesia? I would suggested you to do more research before you started because as far as i know globally ( no matter where you go to meds school and training), the process is pretty rough and vigorous, physicallly and mentally challenging,could be many sleepless nights,sacrificing lots of social life, family life,risking your own health and safety..etc. i guess at your age, if you have nothing else to do and have lots of energy, resources, passion, have no family or kids or no social life , then go for it. this could be your final destiny. good luck.
  9. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    benjee - Thank you for your reply.
  10. cho15

    cho15

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    I think you need to answer the question for yourself. Economically speaking, you would be too old for it to be worthwhile monetarily speaking. Now, I'm not saying this b/c it's all about the money or "getting rich". The Dean of Admissions at Tulane mentioned a study that was done (not published yet) that says at 50 yrs and older it is really no longer economically a good choice in essence b/c of the debt you will rack up while in medical school and then the limited number of years you will be in practice to pay off that debt. You may barely break even, or may actually loose money. Now, if money is of no worry to you, then this wouldn't matter. As several other people have said, there are plenty of other ways you can help people, even medically, that are less time consuming and vigours/challenging to achieve. I'm not trying to deter you. If it's what you truly desire, by all means go for it, but if it's for the satisfaction of helping people in a medically related way, I would suggest you look into other options first before fully committing. Personally, at 55, I would want to be enjoying my free time traveling, volunteering, taking art classes etc... But to each their own. Good luck with whatever you choose to pursue :)
  11. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    cho15 - Thank you for your reply.

    Quote:>>>As several other people have said, there are plenty of other ways you can help people, even medically, that are less time consuming and vigours/challenging to achieve.<<<

    Could you please give me examples on the ways I can help people medically (without being qualified as a doctor)?

    Thank you.
  12. Saipan

    Saipan Junior Member

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    Providing medical care to poor people actually necessitates helping people develop a medical system which is effective, accessible, affordable, and sustainable.

    A doctor is only one element in such a system.

    If you can help provide/improve any element in such a system, then you are providing effective help.

    In urban areas, poor people often have access to doctors, but their poverty denies them access to the medications, laboratories, or surgical facilities.

    Before you rush off to medical school. look at the big picture, and decide exactly how you will help. Have you even defined the "problem" that you plan to help with.

    Really helping people is more about enpowering people to solve their own problems, and involves long-term change within a community. It also involves a lot more clear thinking than just going to medical school with a vague idea.

    More specifically, without going to medical school, a person might help local people devise and implement a plan to start a co-operative pharmacy in a community without access to medicines.

    There are hundreds more ideas. You're only limited by your imagination.
  13. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    Thank you Saipan

    I have this thought of starting a free-clinic and employing a doctor to treat patients and prescribe medicines in an area where people do not have the money for basic medical care.
  14. mykii

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    DrIWantToBe, if you really want to be a Doctor then go for it. Don't let other people tell you otherwise. As already stated, there's no real monetary benefit for you going to Med school now, so I find it easy to believe that you really do want to just give something back to the community - whilst simultaneously achieving a life dream.

    You should realize though, that medical school is tough. There are no shortcuts and you will have to work just as hard, if not harder, than classmates half your age. I was studying medicine as an undergraduate and my average day was 8am-6pm at school,only to come home to find that you need to put in another 4-6 hours of study on a daily basis just to keep up. This may not sound so grouling, but this will be your life for the next 7-9 years (med school 4 years+residency 3-5 years) and all of that pressure, stress, and lack of sleep wears on you.

    If your serious about it though, don't let that defer you - just be ready and prepared that way it won't be too much of a shock for you once you start.

    Also, don't misconstrue this, but if you are planning on enrolling I would go have a full checkup to make sure you're perfectly healthy because it would really blow to study for a year or two then find out that you can't continue due to a serious illness etc. One thing that comes to mind could be coronary heart disease as it may persist as a condition without being symptomatic, which is what happened to my father. He randomly woke up one morning at 3am, collapsed outside my door and I had to rush him to the ER where he was on the operating table within 2 hours. He was never symptomatic and lived a relatively healthy life.

    BUT BY ALL MEANS! BE PREPARED FOR IT, AND GO FOR IT!
  15. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    mykii - Thank you for your reply and advice.
  16. pastorphysician

    pastorphysician

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    Hi DrIwantToBe,

    There are few other opportunities to work in medical field other than being medical doctor.

    You might try to apply for Master Degree in Public Health. They have different major and concentration that fit your desire better in serving the poor, underprivileged community like Indonesia without having to go through the rigor of Medical School.

    Other alternative is to be a Medical Social Worker, i am not sure whether Indonesian Hospital or Medical System has this kind of service to their citizen but even if not then wont it be a great opportunity for you to start?

    There are plenty of other way to work in healthcare setting without having to be a doctor. Those two are just few from many other way. You may go and do research yourself.

    You can even try Alternative Medicine such as Chiropractic, Naturopathic, or Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, put in mind these profession requires almost the same length of education time with Mainstream Medical school (Allopathic) its probably just a little bit easy on your pocket.

    But at the end , if you really feel Medical Doctor should be part of your title, dont hesitate to chase your dream.
  17. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    pastorphysician - Thank you for your reply.
  18. woi89

    woi89

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    Hi..driwantobe...

    I'm medical student in indonesia..
    anyway, I've already answered your question before about medical education in Indonesia in this thread...

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=572139

    Well, as long as I read and know your background..
    I'm afraid to inform you that you have a very little chance to attend medical school Indonesia ( both local and International MD program)...

    It's because I never heard about someone less than 25 yo entering med school in Indonesia...

    in Indonesia, medical education is undergraduate degree, which means that you enter med school after you graduated from high school...

    and for Indonesia student, you have 3 chances to take national exam for entering medical school...
    and the national exam held once a year...
    this means that the oldest student who enter medical school in Indonesia in first years is someone in 20-22 yo..

    and FYI, even for residency program, we have strict rules to not taking general physician more than 35 yo...

    Sorry..

    but, why dont you apply to US med school???
    I heard that they dont have age limit for student??
  19. shoesaddict

    shoesaddict

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    Hi,

    I am from Indonesia but currently studying in the USA. Actually, your post really touch my heart and yes, you encouraged me in a way. Just in case I don't get into any dental school this year, I should keep on trying since I am currently still 24. I was close enough to just say to myself, "I am only going to try 1 more if I don't get in this year."

    As I read your story, posts, and your replies, I am just wondering whether you have considered Physician Assistant instead? I think, PA is not as "respected" back in Indonesia as in the US. Here, I pretty much say PA is the doctor. They're the one who does everything, the doctor just monitors.

    Another thing you have to consider, I am not sure where you originally came from, but in Indo, people go to Med School right after high school. Here in the US, medical school is a graduate degree. So it doesn't matter what your degree is during your undergrad, as long as you kill the MCAT, and all the prerequisites, you are in. What I am trying to say is the age.... It is normal here to see people who go to Dental/Med/Pharmacy school up to 41 (this is the oldest person I know, he is from Japan, and in dental school). But in Indo, I doubt it that you will see anyone pass 35 years old in a med school. I may be wrong for sure, but if there is, probably just not more than 20 at the whole Jakarta.

    And the last, do not apply to US Med School. I know you have 26 yrs of experience with your work and I am sure you are doing good. However, Med school here also ask for your clinical experience (if you have any and not long ago, then cross this out). Plus, there are a bunch of prerequisites of classes like chem, phy, math, etc, if you have all of them, then cross this one as well. Almost at last :D, the time you have to spend for studying is HELL HELL and HELL! (I am not trying to say in Indonesia is easy - no med school is easy - but what I see in real life, at least, my friends back home still have a life even though they are in med school; that's all. So please for the Indos, don't get offended). This is the last :thumbup:, the money you spend will not give you pleasure in any case.... :laugh:

    So I agree you should stick with anywhere outside USA... Especially places like Indo, India, Costa Rica, Dominican Rep, anywhere in Africa, those places are amazing for doctors in learning. Because you know why? We have all the diseases you will never imagine... ;)
  20. Raigon

    Raigon This is an emergency.

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    Just summarizing what others have said:

    1. Money: See if you have money to support medical school and if you have means to live off the amount of years you'll have to go through before you start getting the big money from medical school to residency/internship. And by the time you are eligible to make the big money, you'll have reached into the late retirement age. (See my point #3)

    2. There are other options: Like others have said - there are other ways and not just a doctor. To be more specific, any career can help people, just depending on how. You can do some hospital volunteer or nursing. Pharmacy, chinese medicine, physical therapy, etc.

    3. Time: Be wary of age - the first comes to the amount of factor you'll be able to work for. As the poster above has said, you may be a little too old for medicine in Indonesia. Even in other countries, however Medicine is a VERY long route - 4 years of medicine, then 2~3 years of residency/internship. After that you'd have to get into fellowships (in the United States) or specialty colleges (UK/Australia/European countries).

    4. And like Woi89 said: medical schools or intern/residency programs may turn you down simply due to age: And if you want to go to the United States for medicine, it's even harder, because right now there's a rule where you MUST complete your undergraduate coursework in the United States before you are even eligible. Believe me, I found out the hard way. That's why I had to take the Australia route. So you need to either take a post bacc (and do ANOTHER 2~3 years pre-med) and then 4 years of medical school, and then 2~3 years of residency, and then another 3~4 years fellowship or try for an international medical school. Both ways amount to at least 10~15 years. It's scary. That's why rarely do people go into medicine at over the age of 35. By the time they actually become a doctor, they'll have reached retirement age.

    5. Health and Competitivity: Can you compete with the minds of younger people? Can your body handle the stress and workload? 55 years old is quite an age, and it will only get harder as you get older, because becoming a doctor takes really long (as stated in point #2).

    That would be what you should be aware of. It's really harsh and cold truth, I'm sorry to have to show that to you, but that's reality. However, that doesn't mean you can't go into medicine.

    But if you have enough money or are able to gather enough money for medical school, you are sure you can actually squeeze into medicine before forced retirement age, and you are sure you are healthy, competitive, and willing to go through many years of studying and labor, then I have one of the more unorthodox, but good route: the Caribbean medical school route.

    It's excessively easy to get in so long as you have enough money (they are known to accept students rejected by medical schools in the US) and they have courses structured to get you into a good residency. Plus they're graduate entry. You can also take your MD and go back to Indonesia. St. George, Ross, SABA, AMA, they're all good schools that the US recognizes and match the most into residency. So they should also be globally recognized.

    I'm not from Indonesia, but I think they should accept foreign MDs. Then you can start your internship in Indonesia and go the rest of the way from there. If not, then the United States.

    The harsh reality is a brick wall. Randy Paucsh (look him up and The last lecture if you don't know him) had a really good quote I'd like to paraphase, "One day you will meet a brick wall in your life where you feel like no matter what you do, you will never be able to get to your destination and reach your dream. However, the brick wall isn't there to keep everyone out, but the ones who are not desperate enough to think of a way to go around it or smash it down."

    The harsh reality is the brick wall. But if you have unstoppable determination and it's strong enough to do it no matter what people say, then and only then will I wish you luck and encourage you to go to medical school. Because if you have that sheer willpower, nothing will stop you.
  21. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    Thank you shoesaddict and Woi89 for your honest opinions.

    Raigon - a big thank you for summarising what the others had said and for your advice too.

    I am afraid Indonesia does not accept any foreign medical degrees for registration and licensing in Indonesia.

    Raigon - yes I am very much encouraged by Randy Paucsh's last lecture and yes the imaginary brick wall must be demolished in order to fulfil one's dreams.

    God bless you all. I am still determined to become a doctor and to help the poor in Indonesia. I am more encouraged by every one who had posted their honest opinions. Thank you all.
  22. Raigon

    Raigon This is an emergency.

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    I wish you all the best and hope you fulfill your dreams one way or the other. Remember, if you can be a doctor, we'll all be very happy for you! If not, then there are always other ways. With a heart like yours, I'm sure you will definitely be able to make a difference even at a senior age.

    ~Nick
  23. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    Raigon - thank you for your words of encouragement.
  24. LocutusofBorg

    LocutusofBorg Member

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    I know the feeling of having a dream and not being willing to give up. I got seriously ill while in medical school in the Philippines, and pragmatically speaking, I should give up the whole venture. But I cant imagine my life as anything other than a physician, so I will go back in spite of risks involved.

    If Indonesia has age limits on enrollment, consider the Philippines. In particular, I recommend Cebu, rather than Manila as a better place to live. All schools in the Philippines are tough, especially for foreigners unfamiliar with their way of testing - so I dont recommend enrolling in their top schools. You do get a decent education, and you'll be able to stand your own when faced with US medical grads. In addition, the programs in the Philippines are all 4 years long, not 6.

    Good luck!
  25. driwantobe

    driwantobe

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    LocutusofBorg - Thank you for your advice. Hope you get well soon.

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