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any old(er) applicants feel like a dud sometimes?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by sendwich, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. sendwich

    sendwich you rock! 10+ Year Member

    May 2, 2002
    anyone feel like somewhat of a loser (aka not on par) when compared to ones friends who may be heading into residencies or well on their way up in the real world? i've been fortunate enough to get accepted to medschool this fall and i'll be just starting school this fall as a 27 yo. i know there's no such thing as doing what you know you want to do "too late". i'm not a "second career applicant", i'm a bit on the later side due to bad grades and the like, doing catchup/major revamping in terms of academics.
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  3. 4theanimals

    4theanimals 2+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2006
    Fort Collins, CO
    In a word, nope! :D I've had a lot of people who are very impressed that I would give up a career on the way up to pursue a career that will be fulfilling. There are a lot of people who are on the way up who are miserable. And they will stay on that path because they think it's the only thing they can do. I'd much rather be where I am with a bright future ahead of me. Now, I will say sometimes I envy these "kids" who cram the night before and get a grade just slightly less than mine even though I studied for a week. There are some benefits to youth but that just means I'm more determined because it's not easy for me. ;)
  4. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    I've had a great life thus far; can't complain. Now, it's even better: I'm on my way to becoming a doctor. :D
  5. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Look at it this way: in spite of your detours and wrong turns, you're ending up in the same place where they are in the end. :)
  6. Krisss17

    Krisss17 2+ Year Member

    As another poster stated...nope, and I've got 15 years on you. If anything, I feel like I'll make a better doctor going into now than if I did this on a traditional track. Because of my own life experiences, I have more empathy for others.

    Don't feel like a loser...a loser is one that doesn't even try, they blame circumstances and expect life to come to them. Also, don't compare yourself to those that you think are your contemporaries just because they are the same age as you...your contemporaries in medicine can range from any age. You'll never get the years back that you may feel were lost to bad grades and whatnot, but don't'll just drive you crazy. Think of the success that you have by starting medical school this fall...that's great! Your experiences may actually help, because you realize that human nature is not black and white.
  7. ExtremeUnderdog

    ExtremeUnderdog Megalomania Extirpator 10+ Year Member

    Sendwich, I know what you mean and I feel that way too from time to time. Most of the older applicants here are career changers (from what I have read thus far) - they have invested themselves into something else for a period of time. They often talk about careers/lives they have given up for med school, etc. Unfortunately, that is not something to which I can relate. Yes, I have been employed since the end of my undergrad freshman year (almost 14 years ago) in various part-time and full-time jobs. After completing my bachelor's I even spent a year working as a software engineer in a "grown-up" career track job (I studied comp sci along with biology/chemistry as an undergrad).

    The problem is that I never intended to do anything but medicine. I have wanted to be a doctor for more than a quarter of a century and that desire seems permanently and relentlessly attached to every cell of my body. The only reason I took a job as a software engineer was because I had just graduated with a GPA which had spectacularly blown up my chances of getting into med school into a million infinitesimal pieces. I needed time to recover from my life, so I took a job that I could do well with little effort (math and computers come easily) and receive decent compensation.

    I look around and everywhere people are actualizing their potential, fulfilling their dreams, living their lives - whether as medical students, doctors, stay-at-home-moms, software engineers, accountants, teachers, etc. Me, in some ways I seem to be stuck in the antechamber of my life (unlike you, I have a few more years before I can even have a realistic hope of holding a seat in a medical school class, and I am 31). Sometimes, I am envious... envious of anyone who does not sit up in bed at 3AM suffocating under the oppressive weight of a life not lived. Sometimes, I am filled with incredible terror at the thought of never making it into medicine. There are certainly things I can do, some things I can even do quite well, but if any of them had held a remote promise of happiness, I would have certainly abandoned this harrowing pursuit long ago. And this brings me to the inevitable conclusion that I am living my life in the way it was meant to be lived. I have come to believe that life cannot be lived in comparisons or regrets, and it can be enjoyed only when seen through the wonder of one's own eyes.

    Congratulations on your acceptance! It is a great accomplishment... whether you are 21, 27, 34 or 42. You are holding the reigns of your future... so rather than lamenting the absence of the sun in your sky, marvel at the beauty of the silver rain. :luck:
  8. 71263

    71263 Guest 7+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2005
    I have several friends who started med school with me who were 27-28 at the time. I know one guy who is a year below me and 31! It never bothers him when hes hanging out with us! Age is really just a number, honestly. My friend is going to be 29 this month, and hes arguably the smartest guy in our class.
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    This isn't a race and death is the only endpoint -- you want to accomplish things in your life but needn't be in any particular order. Thus "catching up" is a silly term to use, because the only thing you need to peg your life against is your life. For all you know, some of your peers will get sidelined by something else down the road. People get married at different times, have kids at different times, do schooling at different times, start their career at different times, get ill or die at different times. There is no ahead or behind, it's just life and life is not wholly predictable. At any rate, your peers won't have had the same life experiences you had, and in that respect they have also missed out/fallen behind. Many people who go straight through to school are forever plagued with angst about whether they are on the right path, whether they missed out on some aspect of life, tried enough things before deciding their path, etc. There are people in pre-allo who are in a rush to get to med school because of how horrible college is, while others are having a blast there. There are people who spend years in med school whining about how they lost their "twenties" while their peers were out having fun. The grass is always greener.
  10. Krisss17

    Krisss17 2+ Year Member

    L2D, I so totally agree. I was definitely one of those "grass is always greener" people, and at 42 (I'll be 44 hopefully when I get into medical school), I realized it is such a fable. It's taken a while, but I'm defiintely trying to take in everyday and every experience. I'm taking Ochem and physics next year, and I'm going to look forward to taking these classes at this time instead of looking at them as just prereqs I need to get through.

    As my friend Oldpro says...Enjoy the Ride!
  11. neurorat

    neurorat 2+ Year Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    I can see both sides (being on your own track vs. feeling that you are "behind").

    I am 29 and will begin med school this fall. I cannot count how many times someone in my extended family has asked "HOW many years do you have left?!!". It is also kind of unnerving to go to a friend's house warming party and discover that she has purchased a half million dollar house and she is just a few years older than me.

    In the end, I guess my mother was right. I will surpass them in the first few years of my career and I will be doing what I love. Plus how many of them could get into medical school:p

    Hang in there...
  12. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Well, if I wanted to accentuate the fact that some of my friends and students are actually attending physicians and have 7 y/o children, then I suppose I could conjure up some thoughts of inadequacy. But when I question them, many of them will actually say that I got the better deal out of life thus far, because I took my time. As non-traditional students, many of us have the advantage of a symphony of life experiences and have had more time to reflect on our life, our purpose, and the world around us. Many traditional students miss out a little initially because they are caught in the busy-ness of medical school and residency right away; for many traditionals, being a physician is their first job. Nevertheless, the question is not what you are doing, or where you are, per se, but how fully you are living your life and experiencing everything around you, both your inner and outer surroundings. This way of living is ageless and timeless. It has been said many times and cited in many ways, but the richness often lies in your journey. The way I see it, you can use your time to feel "inadequate" (which is a state of mind, mind you), or you can choose to live it fully. Pick one. It's a no-brainer for me; I choose the latter. :D

    I tell you what, though, my journey has been filled with so much richness. I wouldn't change a thing, and if I could have done it differently, I would have. Yeah, I definitely took the path less traveled by, if there ever was one. I started out in biomedicine, but then missed the "left turn at Albuquerque," only to become a wellness coach, who integrated the use of yoga, martial arts, and somatic psychology in promoting wellness in my clients. Yup, my path has been anything but linear. Now, I find myself full spiral; only this time, I am a different me. A much more mature, loving, open, conscious me, ready to give of myself to a career in medicine. I know I have plenty to offer in terms of my ability to relate with my patients and my refined ability to rapidly assess what's going on through observing posture and movement. I am not as easily rattled off my center by things in life since I've had more opportunities to handle stressful situations and the like, and to learn from my mistakes. I, too, have had my share of mind-numbing, undesirable JOBS (just-over broke jobs) and have slaved away handing work-out towels to people, carrying their bags to their hotel rooms, or trying to sell perfume and the like to people, for $9/hr or less; from these things, I learned patience, humility and how to truly listen. In these ways and many more, I offer plenty to my classmates and my patients.

    Also, FWIW, don't get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to others; everybody's journey is unique. One is not necessarily "better" than another. Hey, OP: you are on the roller coaster ride that you created; you are on that ride, whether you like it, or not: learn to enjoy the ride. :cool:
  13. Trismegistus4

    Trismegistus4 Worried Wellologist Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Location: Location
    I thought I'd post because everyone seems to be answering "no"... I have to admit, my answer is "yes". Like ExtremeUnderdog, I've never really done anything else that I've devoted myself to. I spent my twenties just stumbling along, working in a job I didn't like only to pay the bills. I often think about how if I had gone to med school right out of college, I could already be in private practice by now, or at least at the very end of residency/fellowships, depending on my chosen speciality, hopefully already married and having started a family. Instead, here I am at 30, about to move to another city where I will know no one and will be immersed in extremely intense studies, with no love life prospects, and taking on enormous debt to do it, starting down a path in which I won't be making a decent income again until I'm 40. If I could offer advice to my past self, it would definitely be, "go to med school straight out of college."
  14. neurorat

    neurorat 2+ Year Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    There is always the lack of income! Has anyone ever seen that Simpson's episode where Bart cut the pony-tail off of some guy during a presentation and he holds it up to the back of his head and says

    "Hey look at me, I'm a grad student! I'm 30 years old and I made $600 last year!"

    I try not to think about the fact that I will be 40 before beginning my "real job". I never tell my grandmother that...she seems happy for the time being just telling people that I am in medical school...
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    You cannot predict what might have happened if you took another road. For all you know, if you went to med school before you were focused, as you likely are at this stage of life, you might have floundered, and not been on as good a track, maybe even dropped out. It's silly to look back at what could have been, because you are now going into it more mature. Regardless of how you stumbled along in your twenties, you likely learned something, matured, came of age in some way. That dose of real life is going to pay dividends when you have to deal with patients who are often themselves, stumbling along. And love life prospects are everywhere -- you just need to be very proactive.
  16. sendwich

    sendwich you rock! 10+ Year Member

    May 2, 2002
    wow, thanks for every one of your posts guys. i feel some relief knowing that i'm not the only one feeling this way. hearing it from your posts just made me realize, i need to stop "waiting for my life to start....when i become a medstudent (or whatever)" and just start living now.
  17. sendwich

    sendwich you rock! 10+ Year Member

    May 2, 2002

    thanks for your encouraging words!! :thumbup: i understand where you're coming from. i tell most people who have the option to take a few years off or start medschool and i tell them "start right away" or something to that effect. i dont know how much longer you have until you apply and get in but the intensity of how much you want medicine shows! you're gonna make it!

    comp sci? you write well as well (descriptive/poetic) :). much luck to you!!! :luck:
  18. gdawg102

    gdawg102 Guest 10+ Year Member

    May 26, 2005
    Yes, I feel this way sometimes, and I'm the same age as you and won't even be starting this fall!

    But I am learning to get over it. I think some of us have to try have faith that there is a reason and purpose for why some of us have to travel this path and not the quicker way like some people. I don't believe that we can always travel through life the way we want, so it's probably better to believe and trust that you are where you are suppose to be because it was meant to be to begin with.

    Afterall, there are only a limited amount of things you have control of in this world and in this life, but not EVERYTHING is within your means of control. COngratulations on your acceptance to medical school!
  19. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student 7+ Year Member

    I get feelings of being old when I make references to things that goes over the heads of some of my classmates---and I'm only 2-3 years older than most of them! I entered med school when I was 27 when average age of first year medical students is 24. And although most students do not realize I am a couple of years older than them, it sometimes makes me feel like I did something wrong when some of them didn't even start college until I got my college degree. Also, some of my old high school/college buddies are already in their residencies, working for a paycheck, while I'm still trying to slog through physio.

    However, we have to take a step back. How much is a few years in the grand scheme of things? Ideally, we all want 'find' our true passions early in life, but some of us have to take detours in order to find that passion. If I had gone straight from undergrad, I think I would have missed out on a lot of emotional growth and self-reflection that I did during my tenure in the 'real world'. I found a renewed focus on medicine while getting to 'enjoy' my life going out with friends, having free weekends etc.

    In the end, I think the only regret about starting later is the nomadic life I was forced to lead which prevented me from settling down with a guy. Other than that, I really think I am better off having taken a few years off and gotten to know what life outside of school was like, however brief.
  20. Faze2

    Faze2 2+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    Jessica Biel's Closet
    Yeah, 27 is not old. That is about how old I'll be when I start school. Maybe even a little older. But like everyone said, if you think about it, what does a few years matter in the grand scheme of things? To be honest, most people I talk to think that it is awesome that I went back to school for this. A lot of them say they do not like their job and it would be cool to have an idea what they will be doing for the next ten years. Me, I know exactly what I'll be doing, (for the most part).

    Another positive way to look at it is an example I can give about myself. After college when I just worked, I could party all the time cause all I had to do was wake up and go to work, which did not require me to be at the top of my "mental state.":laugh: So I would party all of the time and have all the fun I wanted. Now that I am a little older, not that much, I realize that partying all the time and working is not what I want. It was fun while I did it, but now I want to do something more fulfilling. I know quite a few med students that did it the "traditional" way, and even though they love what they are doing, a lot of them do say all the time that they feel they "missing out on their 20's". Me, I had my fun. But now I know what's ahead of me, and I know what I'll be missing and what I'll have to sacrifice to become a doctor, and I can't wait to do it. I am ready to make those sacrifices, more so than I would have been at 22 or 23 when I finished college.
  21. mrs_lady

    mrs_lady 2+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    TOtally. :) It's great to know firsthand, if it's true, that the carefree partying life of a non-doctor is just not fulfilling to you, so that you'll never have to wonder "what if?"

    Also, realize that your friends who have big houses and are residents or whatever are such the most privileged people in the world! Few, few people have such an existence. Please do not compare yourself to them. I go on those head trips too sometimes, and I find it so helpful to go back to the fundamental teachings of most religions... If you make your goal about giving and not about gaining, all of a sudden life becomes way more relaxing. A roof over your head, food, safety, and a job you love. We'll all be just fine. We won't have mansions, but we'll be able to buy homes someday... we may not send our kids to prep schools, but we'll be able to send them to college, and they'll be fine too... Ya know?

    None of my friends are rich, and they're all really happy as teachers and city planners and journalists and librarians and nurses and doing just fine, too. Here's a great article I read today in the SF Chronicle about a guy who quit his lucrative career as a civil engineer to get underprivileged high school kids into college:

    Love it! Total inspiration.

    Oh, and it's really a blessing to be able to make this whole transition at all. I ran into an old friend with a perfectly good job the other day, and he got a little wistful when I told him what I was doing, and said he thought a lot of people would love to do what I'm doing if they thought it was possible...
  22. lsumedgirl

    lsumedgirl Livin' the dream! 2+ Year Member

    May 13, 2006
    Not at all! I'll be 28 by the time I start school this August, and honestly, I'm really happy with the way things have turned out. I just look at it this way... I've had the chance to experience some other things in life, so I'm 100% positive about my career decision. Also, I think I'm a little (but not by much ;) ) older and wiser. I'm much smarter than I was as a 21 y/o!!! So I think I'll really enjoy my medical school experience even more than the "younger me" would have.
  23. southpawcannon

    southpawcannon 7+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    I used to think, 'man, I'll be 'over the hill' by the time I start officially practicing after residency.' But I still will have earned my MD in my mid-30's, which is still not all that bad. And yes, I've compared myself to the trad pre-meddie who will be nearly finished with residency by the time I start med school. But, as someone else said, I wouldn't trade my experiences, maturity gained and perception of the world I've come to have as a result of coming from off the beaten path.
  24. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    I'm 26 now, and will be 28 when I (God-willingly) start an MSTP program in 2008. When all is said and done, I should start practicing right around age 40.

    And what do I have to show for lagging 6-10 years later than my counterparts?

    Well... I'm engaged to be married this summer,
    I've traveled (legally) to Cuba 4 times,
    I've had a African/Latin dance career: performed at Lincoln Center's 2001 tribute to Tito Puente, and at the SalsaKorea summer festival of 2000 in Seoul...
    I've been a personal trainer for 2 years,
    Studied, taught and competed in Kung Fu (for about 10 years),
    Earned a graduate degree in Applied Physiology,
    Worked in financial services for 4 years,
    Taught a course in Afro-Cuban dance at NYU,
    Taught General Chemistry Lab while finishing my pre-reqs,
    Learned a lot about business, life, politics, and people,

    and a whole lot of other great stuff that not only will probably help my application, but helped me to decide that my calling was TRULY in medicine and science.

    I don't know about anyone else, but for me, there's NO WAY I would have arrived at such resolution to enter the profession without really getting to live and explore a few other options. So what's there to feel like a dud about?

    Celebrate your maturity, and know that it will inevitably inform your practice for the better.

    :thumbup: MSTPbound
  25. Lucky Buck

    Lucky Buck Peeping Torgo 2+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2007

    We are in the same boat my friend, sailing the ocean of life, desperately seeking that undiscovered country called medical school...with the exception of my being 2 years older....I get to be Captain!

    The sea seems a perfect analogy for what I've experienced. When the wind is on my back, I feel a rush of adrenaline...."I can do this, nothing can stop me!" It's been a long time since I watched Mary Poppins, but I believe she said something to the effect..."the wind can't blow in the same direction forever." Thus, I've had my share of bad days and you will too.

    Like you, I do want to be financially stable, I want to be in a relationship (despite feeling like most of the women I meet are not interested in dating a 32 old guy who's going back to school...despite my handsomely roughish good looks), more importantly, I want to breed and I want those things sooner than later!

    Sometimes, I feel like this dream to be a doctor is sinking other desires that are just as important. Thank God for this board and the wealth of inspiration and encouragement it provides. For anyone sailing with us that I am unaware of, I suggest creating a word document and cutting and pasting stories and responses that inspire you to persevere. Whenever I feel discouraged, I pull mine out and it helps put the wind back in those sails.

    As they say, misery loves company. Though, I don’t consider this to be misery, it is reassuring to know that we are not alone in this endeavor.

    Live for today, don’t look back, we are all unique and we must all find our own truth; it is our path and no one else’s. Love the journey, because it’s just for you.

    I hope this helps in some small way.

    ****and thank you to all the encouragers out there!

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