Jun 27, 2009
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I am 34 years old and just started back to school after an 18 year absence, I am bad at math but with lots of hard work on not giving up I passed my math course and now go on to the next level. My goal is to be a doctor , either ER doc or addiction psych doc. I have such passion for those two fields. I am in community college now and plan to transfer to school with premed program after I get my associates degree, and then hopefully to med school - some people tell me I am too old and cannot do it , or I worry that with my struggles in math if that will stop me ... but I really want to be a doctor, I am taking Human Biology this next semester but wonder if I should not take any of the required courses to get into med school until I get into 4 year , as someone told me that med schools look down on community college required courses... any advice or input would be great... so, am I too old or can I really do this ?
 

Narnian

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34 is not too old for what you want to do( ER doc or Psych doc). I would say if you wanted to be a surgeon, then maybe your a little too old. Surgeons do a 7 year residency on top of 8 years of school. That would put you at 49 or 50. I have heard of people on this board that start school in their 40's. So you will be about 38 when you start. As far as community college Vs. university, it makes no difference. Just make sure the class counts as a prerequisite, and make sure you get an "A" ;) Gen Chem is Gen Chem, whether its at a community college or university. The only reason you need to go to a University at all is that most med schools require a degree.
 
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punkiedad

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34 is not too old for what you want to do( ER doc or Psych doc). I would say if you wanted to be a surgeon, then maybe your a little too old. Surgeons do a 7 year residency on top of 8 years of school. That would put you at 49 or 50. I have heard of people on this board that start school in their 40's. So you will be about 38 when you start. As far as community college Vs. university, it makes no difference. Just make sure the class counts as a prerequisite, and make sure you get an "A" ;) Gen Chem is Gen Chem, whether its at a community college or university. The only reason you need to go to a University at all is that most med schools require a degree.
I am 38 and just started med school this week. You are never too old. You can do it.
 

NTF

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I love doing these breakdowns.

You're 34.
Matriculate med school at 38.
Intern at 42.
Attending at 45-48.
17-20 years to practice as an attending until you're 65 (and hopefully longer)

Sounds like a great career to me.
 

PunkmedGirl

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Even if you want to be a surgeon you are not too old.
 

dazed1980

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starting med school 2morrow. most of my prereqs were at a junior college.
Age is what u make it 2 be.
 

spicedmanna

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Well, only you can decide whether you are "too old" or not. I can tell you from personal experience that it can be done and that there are plenty of success stories out there from the 30+ crowd. In fact, there are several at my medical school. I'm well into my thirties and currently starting my third year of medical school.

If it's what you truly want and you have the heart and ability for the difficult journey, then don't let your age stop you. Forget the naysayers. I found a few along the way, too. I think they were just jealous that I chose to take the risk to do what I truly wanted. Most, however, were very supportive.

Good luck.
 

njbmd

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I am 34 years old and just started back to school after an 18 year absence, I am bad at math but with lots of hard work on not giving up I passed my math course and now go on to the next level. My goal is to be a doctor , either ER doc or addiction psych doc. I have such passion for those two fields. I am in community college now and plan to transfer to school with premed program after I get my associates degree, and then hopefully to med school - some people tell me I am too old and cannot do it , or I worry that with my struggles in math if that will stop me ... but I really want to be a doctor, I am taking Human Biology this next semester but wonder if I should not take any of the required courses to get into med school until I get into 4 year , as someone told me that med schools look down on community college required courses... any advice or input would be great... so, am I too old or can I really do this ?
34 is not too old for what you want to do( ER doc or Psych doc). I would say if you wanted to be a surgeon, then maybe your a little too old. Surgeons do a 7 year residency on top of 8 years of school. That would put you at 49 or 50. I have heard of people on this board that start school in their 40's. So you will be about 38 when you start. As far as community college Vs. university, it makes no difference. Just make sure the class counts as a prerequisite, and make sure you get an "A" ;) Gen Chem is Gen Chem, whether its at a community college or university. The only reason you need to go to a University at all is that most med schools require a degree.
I started medical school at age 46, graduated at age 50 and now finished General Surgery residency (6 years) + vascular surgery fellowship. Can it be done? Yes, because I did it with average intelligence (IQ = 100) and uGPA of 3.9 with double major of Chemistry and Biology minors in math/physics. Yes, I had some community college credits and a very sound baccalaureate degree from the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!). I did residency at UVa after medical school and I got into every medical school that I applied to back in the dark ages of the 1990s.

My MCAT score was very competitive on one take, previous health care experience and a graduate degree (Ph.D) with significant research [molecular modeling and electron spin resonance/mass spectroscopy (TOF-MALDI)]. I didn't set out to become a physician/surgeon but was always a scientist (biochemist) and enjoyed what I did.

Now, I have a growing academic practice, an up and coming research lab and in a tenured position at a great university. I work 16+ hour days and work with a group of 7 surgeons of which I am the oldest and the only woman. Would I do anything differently? No, I am in great physical condition and love my demanding career. My guess is that my physiological age is far younger than my chronological age.

Am I heading for burnout? Not likely as that word isn't in my vocabulary nor is the word "tired". I am living my dream and enjoying the hard work. Retirement isn't in my future either. I am not superhuman (far from it) but I do have certain innate abilities/gifts that have made me quite suited to surgery/medicine not the least of which are good instincts, an ability to learn quickly, an ability to function well on less than 4 hours sleep and good hands.

What you have to ask yourself realistically is are you mentally and physically able to do this job? I have medical students who are age 21-24 who are not going to be able to do this job and medical students who are over 40 who will thrive in medicine (one of which is a natural surgeon). I will be the first to tell you that everyone who "dreams of being a physician" isn't even close to being able to do this but age isn't the determining factor.
 
May 26, 2009
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Am I heading for burnout? Not likely as that word isn't in my vocabulary nor is the word "tired". I am living my dream and enjoying the hard work. Retirement isn't in my future either. I am not superhuman (far from it) but I do have certain innate abilities/gifts that have made me quite suited to surgery/medicine not the least of which are good instincts, an ability to learn quickly, an ability to function well on less than 4 hours sleep and good hands.

I would KILL to be able to do this... I swear I'm half narcoleptic and I have hibernation tendencies in the winter months! Have you always been this way or did you just train yourself to handle it? I'm in awe of people who don't need much sleep... maybe I can train myself to be one of them. Until then, I'll just keep dozing off with my face in my 4th cup of coffee of the day. :)

Jokes aside, you have an amazingly inspirational story and attitude in general. Congratulations! You've earned it.
 

njbmd

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I would KILL to be able to do this... I swear I'm half narcoleptic and I have hibernation tendencies in the winter months! Have you always been this way or did you just train yourself to handle it? I'm in awe of people who don't need much sleep... maybe I can train myself to be one of them. Until then, I'll just keep dozing off with my face in my 4th cup of coffee of the day. :)

Jokes aside, you have an amazingly inspirational story and attitude in general. Congratulations! You've earned it.
I have never been a long sleeper. My cousin (neurosurgeon) and I were always the ones reading with a flashlight under the covers at 2am. I was lucky to find a job where I can get paid to be up besides exotic dancing.:laugh:

Seriously, I did a "gut-check" at every stage of my training. Was I kidding myself? As I moved along in training, with experience each year was easier. In the end, it worked for me. Good luck!
 

Bernoull

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I started medical school at age 46, graduated at age 50 and now finished General Surgery residency (6 years) + vascular surgery fellowship. Can it be done? Yes, because I did it with average intelligence (IQ = 100) and uGPA of 3.9 with double major of Chemistry and Biology minors in math/physics. Yes, I had some community college credits and a very sound baccalaureate degree from the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!). I did residency at UVa after medical school and I got into every medical school that I applied to back in the dark ages of the 1990s.

My MCAT score was very competitive on one take, previous health care experience and a graduate degree (Ph.D) with significant research [molecular modeling and electron spin resonance/mass spectroscopy (TOF-MALDI)]. I didn't set out to become a physician/surgeon but was always a scientist (biochemist) and enjoyed what I did.

Now, I have a growing academic practice, an up and coming research lab and in a tenured position at a great university. I work 16+ hour days and work with a group of 7 surgeons of which I am the oldest and the only woman. Would I do anything differently? No, I am in great physical condition and love my demanding career. My guess is that my physiological age is far younger than my chronological age.

Am I heading for burnout? Not likely as that word isn't in my vocabulary nor is the word "tired". I am living my dream and enjoying the hard work. Retirement isn't in my future either. I am not superhuman (far from it) but I do have certain innate abilities/gifts that have made me quite suited to surgery/medicine not the least of which are good instincts, an ability to learn quickly, an ability to function well on less than 4 hours sleep and good hands.

What you have to ask yourself realistically is are you mentally and physically able to do this job? I have medical students who are age 21-24 who are not going to be able to do this job and medical students who are over 40 who will thrive in medicine (one of which is a natural surgeon). I will be the first to tell you that everyone who "dreams of being a physician" isn't even close to being able to do this but age isn't the determining factor.
Quite inspirational!!! I'm hoping to matriculate at 27yrs, and I always wanted to do surgery (neuro or cardiovascular). I finished my BS at 22yrs but due to special circumstances, I couldn't directly apply to Med Sch so I've been working as a scientist (pharmaceutical) and doing grad school. Lately I've been considering the "age issue" and reconsidering specialties. However, your story lends some perspective and if I "get in", I'll just follow my passion and do surgery!!!
 

Skelfie

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I started medical school at age 46, graduated at age 50 and now finished General Surgery residency (6 years) + vascular surgery fellowship.
njbmd, thank you for your inspirational post! I am 34, an MS3, and I just finished my surgery clerkship. I have found over the past couple months that I absolutely love surgery -- the variety, the hard work, the patient care aspects, the fast pace, the efficiency, the majority of the residents and attending with whom I interacted, and especially being in the OR!

I really threw myself into my rotations and did my best to make myself a useful part of the team, and I had a blast. I'm sort of an insomniac anyway, so the long hours and the lack of sleep didn't bother me (it was nice for once in my life to fall asleep within five minutes of my head hitting the pillow, haha).

Anyway, I've started to consider surgery as a career, but one of my major concerns has been my age. After reading your post, though, I'm seeing that it's definitely not something to be too hung up about. :)

I have medical students who are age 21-24 who are not going to be able to do this job and medical students who are over 40 who will thrive in medicine (one of which is a natural surgeon). I will be the first to tell you that everyone who "dreams of being a physician" isn't even close to being able to do this but age isn't the determining factor.
So how does one know that someone is a natural surgeon?

Sorry to go off topic.. just took the surgery shelf this morning so my brain is kind of all over the place! :laugh:
 

agirl

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I started medical school at age 46, graduated at age 50 and now finished General Surgery residency (6 years) + vascular surgery fellowship. Can it be done? Yes, because I did it with average intelligence (IQ = 100) and uGPA of 3.9 with double major of Chemistry and Biology minors in math/physics. Yes, I had some community college credits and a very sound baccalaureate degree from the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!). I did residency at UVa after medical school and I got into every medical school that I applied to back in the dark ages of the 1990s.

My MCAT score was very competitive on one take, previous health care experience and a graduate degree (Ph.D) with significant research [molecular modeling and electron spin resonance/mass spectroscopy (TOF-MALDI)]. I didn't set out to become a physician/surgeon but was always a scientist (biochemist) and enjoyed what I did.

Now, I have a growing academic practice, an up and coming research lab and in a tenured position at a great university. I work 16+ hour days and work with a group of 7 surgeons of which I am the oldest and the only woman. Would I do anything differently? No, I am in great physical condition and love my demanding career. My guess is that my physiological age is far younger than my chronological age.

Am I heading for burnout? Not likely as that word isn't in my vocabulary nor is the word "tired". I am living my dream and enjoying the hard work. Retirement isn't in my future either. I am not superhuman (far from it) but I do have certain innate abilities/gifts that have made me quite suited to surgery/medicine not the least of which are good instincts, an ability to learn quickly, an ability to function well on less than 4 hours sleep and good hands.

What you have to ask yourself realistically is are you mentally and physically able to do this job? I have medical students who are age 21-24 who are not going to be able to do this job and medical students who are over 40 who will thrive in medicine (one of which is a natural surgeon). I will be the first to tell you that everyone who "dreams of being a physician" isn't even close to being able to do this but age isn't the determining factor.
 
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BigBoi

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R U 2 Old?

Hec No! A few things:

1. U're as old as you think
2. U can do ANYTHING u put your mind to
3. The late Ted Kennedy worked till his grave cuz work didn't feel like work
to him! He loved what he did...RIP Teddy!
4. U'd always regret if u don't give Med School a BIIIIIIGGGGGGG SHOTT!

34/Double majoring-Bio+Social Science+Chemistry minor/No wifey or kids...thanks goodness!! Lol...No offence to the GREAT Parents out there...

"U can do-it put your back into-it..." Ice Cube