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Insight appreciated: 29 and considering med school

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dogfish

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Hello, everyone. I'm new to the forums, so please bear with me; if I'm posting in an inappropriate location, please just let me know before setting me on fire :D

I think my ultimate goal of this post is to find others that have been in my current position/similar position at one time, and I'd like to hear personal experiences, advice, etc. from those individuals who are in (or have completed) medical school.

So, my situation is this:
I didn't do well in high school -- not because I wasn't capable, but because my head was in the clouds and I didn't do any of the work. (When I randomly decided to do the work, I'd get A's; prior to high school I was put into a number of advanced classes/programs, as well... just to support what I mean by the fact that I truly was capable of doing well if I'd have tried a little.)

Sadly, I settled for an HSED. I'm now 29, and I just began college for the first time last year. Right now, I am not in medical school or even in an undergrad program; I'm currently enrolled in the (Associate's degree) Radiography program at a tech school. I am also married and my husband is in school as well (for water treatment). However, ever since I began, I have become increasingly hungry to do more than what I'm going for, and I have thought a lot about how nice it would have been not only to have done better in high school -- but also to have started earlier -- and gone to be a doctor.

I have had A's in every class so far, and this semester am continuing to get A's (have a 4.0) I'm currently in a biochemistry class (which was unnecessary to my program, I took it because I wanted to) and anatomy. Obviously, I understand that A's aren't everything, but I suppose for me, it really makes me think about how I really dropped the ball for many years by not living up to my potential.

Anyway, last week, my anatomy professor pulled me aside and basically encouraged me to do more with myself, unless my heart was truly set on Rad Tech. He told me that he believes I would be more than capable of medical school. And, ever since, I can't stop thinking about it...

I would really love to pursue medicine, but I'm concerned about a number of things -- the biggest concern is that just a little over a year's worth of tech school certainly doesn't seem like enough for me to gauge my capability to (intellectually) handle med school. I'm not sure how easy or difficult the classes I have completed thus far really are, at least in comparison to the courses at a university. Basically, I don't know if the A's that I have earned were much easier to achieve than if I would have been taking the classes at a university. I don't want to get in over my head thinking "Oh, I got this!", spend a lot more money for my education, and then come to find out that I struggle to do well. Perhaps I'm not giving myself enough credit, but I just want to be realistic with myself, too. I want to make the best decision for me (and my husband). I understand that no one can really do that for me, except for me -- but what I would appreciate is any insight to how difficult the courses at a university are in comparison to a tech school.

Then, of course, I'm worried that my poor performance in high school will come back to haunt me. My age is of slight concern, but I don't think it's the biggest disadvantage I'd have by any means.

Is there anyone wandering the forums here that have had a similar history? From the opinion of those of you who have experienced medical school, based off what you know and have experienced with how competitive it is to get into medical school... do I have a chance in heck, or are the chances slim to none for someone with my history? I'm completely OK with brutal honesty. That's what I'm here for: truth.

If I determine that med school is a realistic option... I'm also curious how married folks in med school manage to keep their relationships strong during the often long days away from each other and endless studying throughout the years of med school/residency?

Any/all information, experience, insight, advice, etc. is GREATLY appreciated...and thank any and everyone who actually read my long-winded post.
 
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Apollo1

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Courses in rad.tech. programs aren't as strenuous as premed courses, and odds are there will be little transfer of applicable knowledge to put you ahead of the curve for a particular course. The starting pay for a program like this can be decent, but you will hit the salary ceiling relatively quickly and for the most part are nothing more than a collator. Anecdote: A couple of rad techs I somewhat know in the E/D I volunteer at have come to regret their choice to go into that field, mostly because of the monotony the job comprises and the aforementioned salary limitations.

Since you are just starting college, first take some time to decide if medicine is truly the field you want to be in for the rest of your life (i.e. nothing else in the world would hold your interest as well as it). For example, an attending I shadow had me construct a pro/con list of "Why Medical School" so that I could thoroughly identify what I'd possibly be giving up versus what I'd gain. I'm also 29, and being in your thirties with +/- 10 years of schooling to complete can hinder parts of your life that those in their twenties have even come to recognize yet.

In addition to the contemplation, look for volunteering opportunities at local hospitals, county health departments etc. Being in the thick of things could help give you a clearer picture if you truly want to be around sick people for the rest of your life.

If you come to the conclusion that medicine is the only way, I'd give consideration to leaving the rad. tech program. While it would count as a measure of clinical exposure and give decent pay, I think it would significantly lengthen the amount of time it would take for you to complete a bachelor's degree and matriculate. If you're ok with that (and there's nothing wrong with it), then complete the program.
 

W19

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There is nothing magic about med school prereqs for an average student... As long as you make an effort to understand the material, you should be able to do well... Of course, some have to study more than others in order to achieve the same results. As for your age, I don't think it's a disadvantage... Med school (especially DO) seems to be more accepting of non trad students... My class has people in their 30s/40s... I am in my 30s and I know a few MS3 at my school that are in their 40s... and it's a MD school.

If you think that medicine is a career you can see yourself into, pursue it. But make sure your spouse is on board though because medical school is long and draining... You might also want to look into PA school...
 

dogfish

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Courses in rad.tech. programs aren't as strenuous as premed courses, and odds are there will be little transfer of applicable knowledge to put you ahead of the curve for a particular course. The starting pay for a program like this can be decent, but you will hit the salary ceiling relatively quickly and for the most part are nothing more than a collator. Anecdote: A couple of rad techs I somewhat know in the E/D I volunteer at have come to regret their choice to go into that field, mostly because of the monotony the job comprises and the aforementioned salary limitations.

Thank you for this insight, specifically. It's definitely something I'm going to bear in mind as I'm figuring out which path I'm going to take. I really appreciate it.
 

dogfish

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There is nothing magic about med school prereqs for an average student... As long as you make an effort to understand the material, you should be able to do well... Of course, some have to study more than others in order to achieve the same results. As for your age, I don't think it's a disadvantage... Med school (especially DO) seems to be more accepting of non trad students... My class has people in their 30s/40s... I am in my 30s and I know a few MS3 at my school that are in their 40s... and it's a MD school.

If you think that medicine is a career you can see yourself into, pursue it. But make sure your spouse is on board though because medical school is long and draining... You might also want to look into PA school...

Yeah, I think the least of my concerns right now is my age, honestly, despite the fact that it's probably my loved ones' biggest concern. I know that there is probably really no way of knowing what to expect going into all of it, but I guess I just wish I had something to go off of... like some uni experience or something.

My husband is urging me to go for it, while at the same time remaining supportive of me if I decide not to. I explained to him that I'm going to have a lot less time with him/at home and that 80 hour weeks are not uncommon during residency and such. He says he's fine with that, yet, I am not sure that he -- or myself, obviously -- will really grasp how challenging that might be until we are in the situation. My marriage is most important, of course.
 

W19

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@dogfish My guest is no one knows what medical school and practicing medicine are like until you're into it. I was a RN for 7 years and was shocked when I started about how time consuming everything was. You want to do it and your husband is on board, go for it.
 
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