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Career Changers, who is the oldest to enter Medical School?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by helpfuldoc2b, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. helpfuldoc2b

    helpfuldoc2b Banned
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    Career Changers, who is the oldest to enter Medical School? What was your reason, how could you afforded to do it, at what age did you make the move, what job, marriage status, financial status did you make the move, how do you feel about your decision overall now (honestly).
    Thanks
     
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  3. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    There's a whole forum for this issue, and this isn't it. Also, I believe there have been numerous threads on this issue, so I don't know that it's necessary to start a new one.
     
  4. Critical Mass

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    :thumbup: Trudat.
     
  5. helpfuldoc2b

    helpfuldoc2b Banned
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    Why was it wierd, poor lady just wanted to be a doc like everyone else...
     
  6. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Moving to Non-Traditional the forum for career changers.
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    While I respect your opinion, I disagree with your premise, and think you are missing the mark here. It rarely has anything to do with "calling" -- acting based on emotion and feel is actually more common with traditionals, the younger set, in my experience. Nontrads tend to be more grounded and realists -- they have been in the rat race and are no longer wide-eyed idealists. There are perhaps one or two folks who assert a calling on the nontrad board but these folks represent a tiny minority and far smaller than the number of folks who have claimed on the pre-allo board that they have a calling, or are doing medicine purely for emotional or altruistic reasons. You will find more jaded cynics on the nontrad board -- one's expectations of a career tends to be much more realistic once you've had one.

    Nontrads, simply, are folks who have tried their hand at one career, but ultimately came to the conclusion that what they were doing wasn't what they saw themselves doing for the rest of their lives. No calling, no divine inspiration, just a change of focus. People sometimes err in their choices, and undoubtedly there are some traditionals who are going to come to this revelation themselves a few years further down the pike. They generally will have considered a change over a period of years, and so are not as likely to make rash, career impacting decisions as the traditional set tend to. Not everyone knows at 20 what they want to be for the rest of their lives, and those that think they do often learn they were wrong. Life is short, and the best and brightest in our society are rarely "stuck" in one path forever. So they figure out what they want to do and make it happen.

    The oldest nontrads I have heard of are mid-50s. They have certain disadvantages and certain advantages. Dealing with patients is generally in the advantage column, so I disagree with your "patient expectation" notion. The patient base is older, and they expect physicians to look the part, so young looking twentysomethings often face more challenges than nontrads with this. Dealing with younger attendings, for some, likely presents more challenges -- but is more often more uncomfortable for the attending (who has to boss around someone his parents' age) than for the nontrad. And a lot of folks coming from other industries will already have had younger bosses in the past, so this is not new territory.

    You might find you identify with older nontrads and career changers when you get a few more years under your belt, or if you find that your chosen career path isn't doing it for you.
     
  8. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    Do you think that person cares how "weird" they make you feel? I don't. Let's hope you never end up serving on an Admissions Committee. BTW, there's a 52 yo in my class and he's a better student and has more energy than most of the class. I'm willing to bet he'd leave you standing, too.
     
  9. Krisss17

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    Well, I've read the whole thread and think if anyone is on their high horse,it is you. We, who are nontrads in our 30's, 40's and 50's, know that this isn't an easy journey that we going to embark.

    If you are going to post on the nontrad thread, how about having more respect for nontrads...one day, you may find one of them saving your ****!
     
  10. hilseb

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    This is the statement I have a problem with. Why don't our "arguments" (as if we all have the same reasons for applying) resonate with you? Why do we have to argue at all to apply to medical school? There is no youth requirement. Why is it more valid for a 22 yr old to know that they want to be a doctor than a 34 yr old? I think, as do many on admission committees, that older students tend to be more realistic, experienced, and mature, and are not just on some sort of course they have been set on since adolescence that they may or may not have chosen for themselves or given much thought to.

    That being said, I think it is ridiculous to make generalizations about older or younger students. Many of each group, I am sure, will be good doctors. I am annoyed by your statements that she makes you feel "weird", and that you are happy to not have to do rotations with her. I hope there are no students in my class that feel that way about me, and if they do, I hope they keep it to themselves or share it anonymously on a forum such as this. And I hope that other biases that make you feel weird do not get in the way of your providing good care. I think it is better to confront what makes us feel weird rather than avoid it.
     
  11. menaniac

    menaniac Moxious!

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    I think it is better to confront what makes us feel weird rather than avoid it.[/quote]

    Amen, sister! :D
     
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    In all fairness, I actually think that's worse. Better to address people to their face rather than discussing the "weirdness" of nontrads on a largely trad board.

    Hopefully you will outgrow some of your notions. Perhaps you will someday grow tired of medicine and become a career changer yourself.
     
  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Some do. (Certainly not all). But some think very little about quite a few of the folks their own age too. Cliques run rampant in med school and everyone wants to feel like they are in the in crowd. For some, that means painting others as being weird. People outgrow this.
     
  14. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year

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    I guess only someone substantially younger is expected to pursue this career without an obligation for proper reasoning. Please.
     
  15. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    As one of those "weird" non-trads, I would highly encourage you to find something else to do with your life.

    That's the advantage the weirdos around here have...we've been there...we know more about what we like and don't like and what we want to do with our lives, and you haven't had that advantage (it's obvious).

    I feel sorry for you if you hate what you are going to spend your life doing ...trust me, it sucks.
     
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  17. Chulito

    Chulito El feucho

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    Well, hating med school is not the same as hating medicine. How many doctors do you know who look back on their training (and especially their residency) with nostalgia?

    I wonder whether our perspective on school doesn't fairly commonly result in an advantage for us non-trads. We have typically been away from it for a while, and may find the complete change of pace enjoyable in a way, in spite of the great difficulty. We'll see how I feel about that next year, of course. It may just be my private little pipe dream.
     
  18. hilseb

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    No, you are the one that categorized our reasons for going to medical school as arguments, not me, and I was pointing out that it was a poor word choice. Thanks for agreeing.

    I am not "wrapping myself in a cloak of victimhood". Weird you would accuse me of this and then tell me that yes, ALL of my traditional classmates will be whispering behind my back about my age and weirded out about doing rotations with me. Who is blowing things out of proportion here and making my situation sound worse than reality? I find it unlikely that hundreds of my classmates will be as petty as you, and have already gotten an incredibly warm welcome from many of them.

    You can draw any conclusions you like about what other "isms" may be running around in your little psyche. As long as they make you feel weird, be sure to rationalize it and lash out at anyone who points out to you that maybe you should just think about it a little more and humanize this group you are weirded out by. Keep saying everyone feels like you (they don't) and it's OK to feel like that and talk about it openly (it's not).
     
  19. hilseb

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    I see no outrage (other than your growing anger with each post) and no mention of racism. I see you exaggerating again, and then telling me to "grow a skin" when I am not the one overreacting. Hmmm, sometimes maturity can be a good thing.
     
  20. unsung

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    Wow, it's quite impressive that the high school clique mentality thrives on in medical school. How old are YOU, anyway?

    Then again, maturity doesn't necessarily correlate with age...

    Btw, I'm 25 and a "nontrad". I've gone through my share of ups and downs, did some traveling, made my share of mistakes and learned from them... and all of my experiences have made me much more open to people and accepting of differences.

    I find it much more rewarding to be inspired by others than to deride them for being "different."
     
  21. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    I'm a traditional student (and yes I realize that I'm totally crashing this thread) - to be honest, I actually liked having non-trad students in my anatomy lab group. They had better stories to share during fat-picking sessions, which are tedious and gross. Hearing someone at my lab table talk about his experience acclimating to this country over the past decade (he was originally from Africa) made the time go by faster.

    That being said, I kind of see where Tired is coming from. I wouldn't call it "strange," but I do wonder. Med school (if you're not there yet) is not a lot of fun sometimes (duh), and I especially hate being made to feel like a pre-schooler all over again. If it's bad for me, as a traditional student, I can imagine that it's worse for a non-trad, who has had the opportunity to build his/her own life up already. That feeling of relative autonomy and confidence in yourself...I don't know. Knowing what I know now, I imagine that it'd be hard to trade that feeling in for the opportunity to be a doctor.

    I mean - I'm sure that a lot of you have some confidence in yourself and a sense of ease about where you are in society. In med school, you really run the risk of losing that. There's a lot of nagging self-doubt, at least for me. This tends to be reiterated by my attending who, basically, often confirms my suspicion that I am, in fact, an idiot. It's days like this that make me wonder why anyone would give up a salaried job to come to med school.

    Based on what I've seen, it varies. Some people really hate the loss of autonomy. They HATE being bullied by an MS4/resident/attending who, honestly, may be younger than they are. They hate being in debt for the first time in years. They hate the loss of free time.

    Other people absolutely thrive in med school. They like the new intellectual stimulation that they didn't get at their previous dead-end job. They like meeting new people who are embarking on this med school adventure with them. Seeing patients, for them, is really exciting.

    Furthermore, for some non-trads, med school provides some very convenient ways to become involved in political issues that are important to them. Many of the non-trads at my school have been very actively involved in issues like women's reproductive rights, immigrant health, etc. I think for them, med school provided a very convenient venue for them to get involved.

    And for some non-trads, med school opens up MORE career opportunities than they had in their previous careers. Now, instead of being stuck in the same job for years, they can choose to be a surgeon, a family doc, a pediatrician, etc - more choice than they had before. Hopefully you'll all fall into this category! :)
     
  22. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Agree. Most of the career changer nontrads I know are the few people in the class who actually know they "want" to be there. They didn't go to med school because it was a natural progression from premed. It wasn't a whim, but a long thought out process, often spanning several years. They spent years in the salt mines working very hard at a career they ulimately realized was not what they wanted to do. Some logged more hours than a lot of med school, bore significant responsibility, had very stressful jobs already. Some lacked the mental stimulation at their employment, something they are able to enjoy in med school. So most are actually excited to be back in school. These are the folks who attend every "optional" session offered at the school, not because they think it advantageous but because they are genuinely jazzed about it all. I have to say that I personally find a lot of med school to be more "fun" than a lot of my classmates, because I have spent time working and know the alternative. Some of my traditional classmates seem to suffer more angst, and have a harder time wasting those sunny weekends in the library.
     
  23. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Then undoubtedly you have classmates saying things behind your back too, by your theory.
    I won't be too hard on you because I often agree with your posts on other subjects. But I don't think this thread was your high point.
     
  24. horsenurse25

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    Lovely, mature post. You will make an excellent doctor I think!!! Keep going. We need more like YOU and less like, well other people...
     
  25. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    I often wonder if traditional students think that the working world in your 20's is some sort of bed of roses...

    I'll tell you a secret, those people that you think have complete autonomy, etc...are probably way worse off than you are when it comes to freedom of thought and and free time in some ways.

    The grass is always greener.
     
  26. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    No, I don't think that working in the real world is all the much fun either. I mean - let's be honest. Doing any kind of work (even if you find it emotionally satisfying or your "calling" or whatever) has its down sides. It's not as much fun as, say, sailing in the Mediterranean on your own, completely stocked, luxury yacht with 2-3 dazzling guys/girls (whichever you prefer).

    I think, by "autonomy" I meant having better control over what you can do in your "free" time. In the working world, for many people, I think that you have the option to leave your work AT work. You don't necessarily have to bring it home with you, and the workday stops when it stops. In med school, the "workday" never ends. In med school, your work really starts to take over much of your life. For a lot of people, med school permeates almost every aspect of their daily lives. And taking an evening off, while deciding to make it up the next evening, is often not an option.

    There can be a loss of relative financial autonomy - many non-trads have to live on a more limited budget, without the prospect or expectation of any income for a while. I've never had a real income (just a long barren history of student loans) so I don't know what I'm missing. :)

    Plus I think that there's a loss of emotional "autonomy" too. (Please understand that I'm speaking totally for myself, so Law2Doc and Tired may not necessarily agree.) Medicine is one of the few careers where you're often expected to be really enthusiastic and gung-ho all the damn time. There are days when I would have loved, LOVED to tell my attending, "It's lymphedema. I've seen it before. So what?" But that would reflect poorly on my potential as a "team member" so I am sometimes expected to look excited about seeing a 9th case of lymphedema (in the same day). Of course, there are jobs in the real world where you have to fake enthusiasm too, but, for people who were NOT in those types of jobs before med school, the change is annoying, to say the least.

    Furthermore, I feel like people have different expectations of your personal behavior when you become a med student, which they didn't have when you were working in a cubicle or a lab. Some of my non-trad friends have found that annoying. But not all of them have encountered it, so - as always, it depends on your personal situation and experiences.
     
  27. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    All of them? You can universally speak for how all your trad classmates feel about nontrads? Somehow I find that a little hard to believe. Maybe you and your buddies find it odd. It doesn't mean it's a feeling universally shared by all your trad classmates. Personally I don't get off on talking about how "weird" my classmates are, and I bet lots of the younger students at my school are the same way. Also, way back in the day when I was a trad law student, I thought the nontrads were pretty neat.
     
  28. horsenurse25

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    Not a student anymore...

    Been there, done that, got the degree.

    Thank God.
     
  29. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident

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    Tired needs to be sent to bed with no dessert. Immediately.

    Don't worry, Tired, us old folks talk about you traditional students behind your backs, too. Not trying to get even - it's just true. Sometimes I have to cover my mouth until I can get to a place where I can just die laughing over the incredible naivete of someone in his/her twenties.

    Whether the fact that I had been a successful hospital administrator for 20 years before I decided that I wanted to do something different - and more important - with my life in my remaining working years "resonates" with you or not is pretty irrelevant to my future career goals. And, yes, for me at my old age - I sacrificed a great deal of security and money because, for me, medicine is indeed a calling.

    My patients in my clinical rotations are invariably inspired when they learn about my story - which is one of the things I want to do with my life - to remind my patients that, as long as you're still breathing, there is still something you can do with your life.

    Let us know when you've decided what spiritual wisdom you're going to pass on to your patients (we certainly haven't seen it yet), because being a great doctor rather than just a competent one has a lot to do with your spiritual wisdom and with how you minister to your patient's soul as well as his body.
     
  30. Critical Mass

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    I don't know that I'd say "all," but I have seen a lot of this behind the back stuff.
     

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