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53 year old graduates from medical school

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by wisconsindoctor, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. wisconsindoctor

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    http://www.med.wisc.edu/news/item.php?id=3120

    “Every category said ‘fulfilled,’ and the whole idea of it began to really sink in - goodness, I've really done it,” said Kocourek. Graduation was wonderful, says Kocourek who, at the age of 53, received her medical degree from the UW SMPH.

    It’s been a long road to medicine for Kocourek, who at an early age has always known she wanted to be in medicine. However, opportunities for women in medicine in the 1970s were not what they are today.

    After graduating from high school, Kocourek met with a counselor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “He said medicine is too hard for women and that we should be nurses or social workers,” said Kocourek, emphasizing that she doesn’t fault the counselor and says it was just a reflection of the times.

    Kocourek says medicine wasn’t right for her after high school. She surmised that if she couldn’t stand up to the counselor, at that time, she wouldn’t have had the kind of courage she thought it would take to get through medical school during that era.

    Kocourek choose to study criminal justice. She said she chose it because it was an offshoot of social work and was in a medical-related area. Her criminal justice studies lasted three years. “I was never in it,” said Kocourek."
     
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  3. Begaster

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    Awesome. Five years of residency and then seven full years of work before she retires!

    Not to be an ass, but I'll never understand why schools accept these candidates, especially when there's a doctor shortage that's only getting worse.
     
  4. PunkmedGirl

    PunkmedGirl Freshman Member
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    WOW.. You are an ASS...You will make a wonderful doctor.
     
  5. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    There are laws against upper end age discrimination. She won't necessarily choose a 5 year residency, and there is nothing magic that forces people to retire at 65. For all we know, she could work another 20 years, if she's physically and mentally capable, and still interested.
     
  6. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Let's keep it civil and refrain from insulting others. Insulting other members is against our Terms of Service.
     
  7. Doctor D

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    Sorry but I have to agree with him. A US medical schools focus should be on providing doctors for the country and if they graduate at 53 how much value are they really going to get out of that person when compared to someone who graduates at 26?
     
  8. PunkmedGirl

    PunkmedGirl Freshman Member
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    Agreed. I know a couple doctors who are well in their 80's who are still practicing. And looking damn good while doing it too.

    Edit: I apologize for my comment. It was that knee-jerk response.
     
  9. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Family medicine is 3 years after medical school and you can certainly work well past your 70's if you choose to.
     
  10. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    BTW, who is to guarantee that a medical student graduating in their 20's will practice for XYZ years? regardless of AGE nobody knows how long anyone will practice.
     
  11. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Just because someone is graduated at 26, doesn't mean that he will practice for a great number of years. Life has a habit of unexpectedly getting in the way. Illness, accident, and personal goals can and do change what we expect to do.

    As I said, There are anti-discrimination laws that protect older workers/applicants.
     
  12. Begaster

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    Undoubtedly. That being said, if we took averages, we could also undoubtedly state with certainty that your average 20-something graduate will work for longer than your average 50-something graduate.

    Again, good for her. She did something incredibly difficult and should be commended. That being said, medicine is a field that is sorely running out of doctors. Schools should be focusing their time on pumping out physicians who will hopefully practice for a very long time.
     
  13. Lshapley

    Lshapley Old Man Med Student
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    I would think this person is looking to be a family practice doc, or geriatrician. When I interviewed at UVM, they discussed someone they had admitted who fit this mold. It is easy to argue that a 53 year old graduate who is focused on 100% certain to practice primary care, particularly in an underserved area, is a better investment for a state school (particularly in a rural state like Wisconsin) than a young student who may leave the state to practice a specialty elsewhere.
     
  14. Begaster

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    Hmm. A very good point. If that's the case, I'll retract my other statements. :p
     
  15. cpa2md

    cpa2md Amending my life
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    I'm starting this fall - 6 days after I turn 40. When people ask me what I'm going to specialize in, I tell them "something I can finish residency before I retire, i.e primary care."

    My mother graduated from nursing school at 53, and has spent the past 17 years as a GREAT nurse. She has reduced her work hours, but has no intentions of retiring permanently for a long time.

    When people go into a profession at an older age, it is because of love for the profession, not money, not prestige or glory. My son will start college when I start residency. I am extremely realistic that I will never be rich.

    Hooray for the woman from MCW, and hooray for me and all the other nontrads out there who will continue making the profession better!!:)
     
  16. VPDcurt

    VPDcurt 2K Member
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    And some people wonder why there is a doctor shortage in this country. As far public health and the general benefit of Americans, it makes no logical sense to spend 7-10 years to train a physician (regardless of the field they enter) that will only practice for 10 yrs max. This is just silly. Those same 7-10 years could have been put toward the education of someone who would practice for the next 50 years. As my parents are essentially baby boomers, it pisses me off to think that she is one too - and she is going to retire along with them! I don't mean to sound rude, but I think she missed her calling and should have stuck with another career. Everyone is getting way too PC just for the sake of being PC. There are a lot of things that people have always wanted to do since they were children, but it doesn't always make sense to do them. It's funny because people say they go into medicine to help people - that story portrays her as someone that things about no one but herself - and that is probably why she did this in the first place.
     
  17. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Sigh... If you don't understand now, you'll probably understand later.

    I hate entering these threads since there are already sooooo many threads which address this exact same issue.

    A med student that enters school later will ad a new perspective to the class. The majority of med students have never had a life outside of medicine, which makes for a very narrow perspective. Having students from other walks of life produce a different breed of doctor. Good for their patients, and good for fellow medical students who can learn from them.

    Diversity is a good thing. You may want a class of 22 year old rich white and asian science majors, but med schools have determined they like diversity. Age qualifies.

    In regards to the "old people won't work as long", there are a whole lot of flaws to this line of thinking:

    1. Folks who enter medicine without any other career experience are much more likely to abandon the field of medicine than folks who enter medicine after another career.
    2. There is not guarantee that traditional applicants won't do the bare minimum and then retire.
    3. If you want to keep harping on "yes, but on average", ask yourself if women have any place in med school as on average they work less career years than men. That'd be silly, wouldn't it?
     
  18. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine
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    What's the acceptable number of years a physician should practice for before retiring?
     
  19. PunkmedGirl

    PunkmedGirl Freshman Member
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    Unlike most professions, becoming a doctor is something that never ends. You will always have that knowledge and for the most part is the reason why you see so many people in the golden years still practicing. Someone who is 40 can still easily have 30 to 40 yrs to practice. I do not ever recall only seeing young doctors walking about hospitals and clinics. So there goes your theory as too older students not being able to contribute to the physician shortage.
     
  20. HanginInThere

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    And on average women work less than men. People have argued on this forum that med schools shouldn't give spots to women when there's a shortage of doctors - do you want to take that stand?

    Edit: Oops - notdeadyet beat me to this point.

    So do you think schools should set a hard age limit, or should this just be one of the factors to weigh in someone's application? I'm 35 - how much higher does my MCAT need to be to offset those lost 10+ years?
     
    #19 HanginInThere, Jun 5, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  21. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I'll drop off this thread, because I already see more posts popping up from folks who I worry have what psychiatrists would probably call medical school-preisthood perception disorder.

    Many of you undoubtedly go to bed with dreams of standing on the top of a Land Rover as it crosses a muddy, swollen African river with a wet shirt plastered to your ripped chest (hey, it's a dream, right?), a beautiful nurse in one arm and a neat-o trauma bag in the other. You can quote every episode of ER by rote. You answer every question and form every philosophy based on the concept of "WWDD?" (What Would Doctors Do?)

    Medical schol will make the most sense when folks in their drive for admissions they stop drinking the kool aid and come to terms with the fact that they are applying for medical school, not the preisthood.

    It's just medical school. It's job training to be a doctor. Nothing more. It's just graduate school. This doesn't diminish the experience. But what med schools do and what they'll be when you get there makes a lot more sense when you come to terms with this.

    So when you come up with ideas of saying who should or shouldn't take your spot (term used intentionally: folks who talk about who has the right to go to medical school are inevitably the folks who feel that if they don't get in it is undoubtedly because someone has taken their spot), take a deep breath and ask yourself: would I say the same thing if we were talking about an EMT course? We need EMTs too.

    No one signs any form saying they will be a physician for 50 years. Most people reading this won't. In fact, some of you very well might do an ad for Hydroxycut and then run to the nearest consulting gig. And that's okay. It's job training. How you go to choose it is up to you.

    And as for the doctor shortage, let's keep things real, shall we? The powers that be try to keep a very specific number of doctors-to-be going into medical school and on to residency. This controls the job market and makes sure there isn't saturation and unemployment. This is why you see lots of lawyers finding it hard to get jobs but physicians from the lowest ranked med and residency programs able to get work just fine. If folks who pull the levers really worried about a physician shortage, they'd just accept more students. Because as much as it hurts to admit, schools could increase enrollments by 50% tomorrow without a noticeable dropping in physician quality.

    Do you look at someone who goes to law school with a BA in English who did Teach For America and say, "My God, how could you abandon a teaching career when it's such an important job and there is such a shortage?" Probably not. So don't apply any special rules to medical school.

    It's just... graduate school. Honest and truly.
     
    #20 notdeadyet, Jun 5, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  22. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    And at my age, no less. Why, I must be what the kids call "spry"!
     
  23. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
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    That was brilliant. :clap: I have nothing to add.
     
  24. HanginInThere

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    The whole post was great, but I'm highlighting this sentence because there are so many interesting adjectives in it. I like that you could swap them around and make lots of new, equally powerful sentences. It's alomst as good as Mad Libs! For instance:

    Many of you undoubtedly go to bed with dreams of standing on the top of a Land Rover as it crosses a beautiful, wet African river with a ripped shirt plastered to your swollen chest (hey, it's a dream, right?), a neat-o nurse in one arm and a muddy trauma bag in the other.
     
  25. ihatescience

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  26. engineeredout

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    While it is certainly great that she can do it and put in the dedication, I understand where people are coming from when they say its not fair to give a spot to someone who isn't going to be practice for as long.

    Its a fault of the system that there aren't enough spots, not the applicant. Good for her!
     
  27. katarzyna

    katarzyna neutrino. neutritious?
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    [youtube]e-NSI6WLpFg[/youtube]


    well, he's more than 100 now. :)


    anyway, wthe?!?! his wikipedia entry is gone?!
     
  28. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"
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    Last I checked, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey was still practicing medicine and he's 100 years old now. She's already graduated from med school. Just let her be.

    Sheesh.
     
  29. katarzyna

    katarzyna neutrino. neutritious?
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    oh yeah, that guy too!
     
  30. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    Yes, but I would feel more comfortable putting my bet on the 26 year old than the 53 year old. Wouldn't you? It is a nice, heartwarming achievement and all, but it doesn't make it practical.

    As for the "just graduate school thing"...well duh. You don't see too many 53 year olds in graduate school either do you? Sure, we all know some, but it has much more to do with their bucket list and personal betterment than the job intention. I'm not trying to put down her achievement at all. Good for her, but there are practical aspects. Ok, so she only does a 3 year internal medicine residency..what is next? If she isn't selective then she is going to look for a gig with great bonuses and if she is selective, well then she is stuck building a client base which takes a few years to hit full swing. There are doctors that work for quite some time. My dad is approaching 70 and still works part-time as a radiologist, but he is damn drained at the end of the day. He has gotten to the point where 3 weeks or a month is about as much as he can handle without needing a bit of a break.
     
    #29 MossPoh, Jun 5, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  31. RainerMaria

    RainerMaria Most days and
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    Actually, it's debatable whether there will be a doctor shortage. Primary care is getting replaced by NP's and PA's. Org's like medical schools and AAMC will tell you there will be a shortage, others won't.

    Besides, I'd rather have someone who is competent practicing for 7 quality years than someone who is conceited who screws up at their job for 40 terrible years. Not mentioning anyone in particular...
     
  32. Sharka

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    my mom's 53 and she's already considering retirement. haha wow what a change of perspective.
     
  33. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    Not THAT debateable. It is all about region and distribution of specialities. Even if the market is flooded with NPs and PAs there still needs to be a doctor for a lot of the stuff. Also, who says that NPs want to go practice in the middle of nowhere more than MD/DO? I even see NPs and PAs not going into primary care because the money sucks. People are following money..make the pay tastier and people will miraculously want to become primary care physicians. Its weird how money works like that.
     
  34. wisconsindoctor

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    You might want to look in the mirror with that comment.
     
  35. bozz

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    lol we spend wayyyyyyy too much time focusing on who is fit for medicine and who isn't. If we spent half that time worrying about ourselves, we'd get pretty far :p

    What does a 20 year old in college understand about life other than doctor shortages from reading a few statistics online? We pretend like we understand everything... yet we don't. I'm young and I'd like to meet some older folks in med school.
     
  36. sunny1

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    yay for bozz :clap:
     
  37. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    This is kind of ridiculous.

    I wish people would stop talking about who med schools "ought to admit" and cite the "public good" as the most important factor in this decision.

    If you took those same people and said, "Fine, you're right...med schools exist to provide badly needed doctors to the public...so we're only going to allow a certain number of you apply to radiology, ophtho, derm, or ortho. The rest of you MUST apply to a primary care specialty 3 years from now." Those same people would be up in arms.

    Med schools don't exist, and should NOT "focus," on providing doctors for the public good just because some pre-med decided that they should.
     
  38. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Some would say this is the definition of a doctor shortage. If you need to resort to nonphysicians to fill physician roles, you have a shortage.
     
  39. wisconsindoctor

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    I posted this link for several reasons. For one reason, I know what it feels like going to college as a non-traditional student. I got to know several people that were in their 30's and 40's that went back to college to change careers. I enjoyed my time with these folks a heck of a lot better then the anoying...i got so drunk last night, did you see me, 18-21 year olds? God I hated that crap.

    I graduated high school with no idea what I was good at or what I enjoyed (beyond football). I had to find my passion. So I worked several jobs.. personal trainer, factory worker, feed mill, and several others. Then one day I applied for a patient transporter position at a hospital and loved the environment. It was during this time that I found my passion. So at the age of 21 I started at the local tech school, then community school, and then a private 4 year college to get to the type of job I want. I'm now in at the spot of applying to graduate programs. I came from a poor family and I had to pay myself all the way to graduation.

    I turn 27 this fall.

    When I read this story it reminded me of how I felt lost and wasn't enjoying myself. So I wanted to post the stroy on SDN as it meant something to me.

    Then you have people responding about how selfish she is and crap like that. My god, some of you need a good court sentence of living in the streets for a month or be forced to work an entry level job for 20 years. This lady knew what she liked and went for it. Who cares if she was 49 when she started medical school. I have a heck of a lot more respect for her starting college in her 40's, working full-time, and doing a good enough job to get into medical school then I do with all of the 21 and 22 year old medical students that don't really know anything about life. These 21 and 22 year olds are generally the ones that bitch about how much time it takes to learn the material in medical school and how it changes your life style. Sorry folks, it's called being an adult. No longer can you get drunk every weekend and every Thursday night (oh no, the world has ended). The majority of college students that claim to have worked full-time during college work crappy and easy jobs. I'm sure her job was by no means easy (meaning, I can study for 4 hours while working or surf the net for 3 hours ever day on the job).

    I'm proud of what she did and will be doing. I can't tell that most of you that responded in this thread DIDN'T READ THE STORY!!!!!
     
  40. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    If you look at actuary tables, someone who is still in good health in their 50s actually will have a longer life/work expectancy than someone in not so good health, and/or a smoker in their 20s. So if you want to apply your logic to the extreme, med schools shouldn't take folks who are out of shape, smoke, have family histories of diseases, or other comorbidities because statistically they won't have as long a work life. Guess what, this is all illegal.

    these days folks work into their 70s. Somebody who finishes residency at 56 may still have a good 20 years of work ahead of them. By comparison, someone who graduates med school at 25, does a 10 year surgical residency, and then chooses to retire at 55 also would have 20 years of employment. This was actually the career model for many a couple of generations back. Yet I suspect you wouldn't be so adamant to bar the second person from attending med school.
     
  41. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    I didn't read the whole thread, but she did a rotation at the hospital where and when I was for ob/gyn. One of my friends guessed she was 60. He was close.

    It was really annoying when she wouldn't round on her patients, or when she said she was just "shadowing" a resident, so she wouldn't write labor notes. /rant
     
  42. Character

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    old people are adorable. :)
     
  43. Ynowtex

    Ynowtex MS2
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    Congrats to all the geezers who stumble across the stage with their walkers and oxygen tanks to accept their diploma. I will soon be one of the outlier points in medical school, getting started at 39. I also have several friends who started medical school in their early 20's and quit. What happens to their spots? Nothing, once those first couple of days have passed, no one steps in to replace that empty spot. So for what ever reason, they never made it and they are young, fit, ripped and strong but that physician shortage wasn't helped by them giving up.

    Older applicants and matriculants do have a much different perspective to share since we are further down the road of life (or closer to the gaping chasm of death as some posters would claim). I recognize the extreme sacrifice that my entire family has gone through just to get me admitted, let alone make it through the process. I have put extreme amounts of thought into how they will be affected and to fail would mean to extinguish my dream.

    I might not be as up on the latest reality TV, how many different flavors of jello shots the local bar has or research in biochemistry, but I am willing to learn as much as I can about all of that with my new young cohort. And I bet that some of them will eventually appreciate some of the wisdom from wrinkles, gray hair and cellulite growth has helped me obtain.

    We are all in this together and we all need to support each other through the difficult years. Pointing out that I am old won't help, just like me pointing out someone's naivete wouldn't help either. We all get selected for a reason, not just we could become a physician, but that we can add to the composition of the class to make the whole greater than its parts.

    Once you get past that old people smell, we might just have something to offer.
     
  44. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
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    :smuggrin:

    Ya, I guess I'll just withdraw my application. I'll be 40 when I matriculate, which will only give me 20 years to practice, tops. And really, does medicine really need grownups, or people who have actually seen stuff and lived through stuff? Heck, I can't think of a single patient who doesn't have the perspective of a studious, most often well-off doctor to relate to.

    Darn. And I was really looking forward to residency. I guess there's always Starbucks.

    S.
     
  45. HanginInThere

    5+ Year Member

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    Are you serious?

    With the current shortage of well-trained baristas, you'd better stick to Wal-Mart greeter, granny!
     
  46. daisydowg

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    Very well said! :thumbup: I wish you the best of luck! Some people on here just digust me. The sad thing is..... they are our future collegues. Hopefully, with more people like you around, these people will learn a thing or two about life and change their arrogant thinking. Don't ever forget you have EVERY right to be there just as much as they do and don't ever stop reminding them!
     
  47. neuro1617

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    In my opinion, the truest and best paragraph in this thread. Who are pre-meds to say exactly who each medical school, and the entire profession, needs? And I'm one of the "graduated high school 3 years ago-who apparently knows nothing about life-biology major because this is the only career I would ever want"-college students.
     
  48. elwademd

    2+ Year Member

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    your first day of medical school, just look left and look right, and remember that regardless of age, not everyone who enters medical school with you will graduate, and that not everyone who graduates will actually practice medicine.
     
  49. supertrooper66

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    there was a doctor at home who retired when he was in his late 30s. he made money fast, so retired to live the good life.
     
  50. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    You'll have to look more directions than that. Over 90% of your class at any allo school will graduate and practice medicine.
     
  51. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Actually, pointing out someone's naivete before they go down this road can be hugely helpful, because it is a condition capable of being remedied. You can't get younger, but you absolutely can get broader exposure to other things before you embark down the road to medicine.

    The big difference is that often folks without broad exposure become the folks who get hit with angst during med school when they realize it isn't going to be what they expected/wanted and yet they never really thought about alternatives. These folks tend to become the most negative about medicine, watching college classmates in other fields living the lives they really wanted. Someone who goes into medicine later in life has (1) typically seen other alternatives firsthand, and (2) tends to have spent a lot longer researching this decision. You don't just say, I'm 50, I think I'll go to med school. You start thinking about it years before, talking to people, shadowing people. A lot of folks who show up to college thinking medicine simply didn't put as much thought into it, just thought it sounded cool. Some of this latter group will change their mind, often too late. The 50 year old physicians almost never do, and almost never are caught by surprise, or jealous of college peers in other fields.
     

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