Older Medical Students

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by [email protected], Feb 14, 2001.

  1. RL@UT

    [email protected] Junior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2000
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    I'm addressing my concerns specifically to those students in my age bracket (mid 30's) who have have met their goals for med school admission and are in the thick of it.

    What unusual challenges and benefits have you experienced due to your "level of maturity"?

    Have you ever experienced any age discrimination either during the application process or in your workaday interactions?

    I have a degree in psychology and I have been working as a study coordinator in academic medicine for several years. I also work part time as a medical assistant at a local hospital..frankly, what else should I be doing?

    I am well into the process of preparing to apply to medical school and I look forward to
    hearing from those in the know.

    ----It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.

    RL Stevenson
  2. I'm not sure I ever noticed it, but some of my chronically challenged classmates (ie, 22 yo) said that they thought I had it easier in clinics and other patient contacts because I "looked like a doctor". Looking more mature will likely get you a bit further in clinical situations, especially with older patients.

    I was asked a few times during residency interviews how I'd feel about "being in your late 30s when finishing a surgical residency", but I don't think my age was really considered an issue.

    The only drawbacks I saw to being slightly older (my class average was around 28 - we had some in their mid 40s) was that it was more difficult for me to stay up all night if I wasn't physically doing something (ie, just studying) and I think it was harder to learn as quickly as I did when I was younger. The average age of medical students has been steadily creeping up, so you won't be the lone geriatric in your class.

    Probably classmates of mine who did have *some* problems were those that were self-imposed: family responsibilities which took away from educational responsibilities and socialization.

    Hope this helps.

    [This message has been edited by kimberlicox (edited 02-14-2001).]
  3. wooo

    wooo Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2000
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    Let me tell you what's wierd. When I am at school, I do not feel any older than anyone else in my classes. I am 33 years old, and have had close friendships with 19-22 year old classmates. When I interviewed, I didn't even think about being older. To me, I don't think age discrimination exists. In fact, I think my maturity will benefit me greatly because I am considered to be serious about my goal.
  4. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed
    Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 1999
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    Attending Physician
    In addition to what Kimberly wrote, I would add two things. The first is you bring more "people skills." I am about 10 years older than the house officers, and because of experience I am much more comfortable with bad news/confrontation than they are.

    The second thing is, if you haven't been in school, get back in. Most schools want to see what you are capable of now.

  5. Good thoughts Annette - being older and having worked in the "real world" (ie, outside of academia) does bring you people skills. You may indeed find that you are not only more comfortable delivering bad news, but that you are more comfortable in general. I would say that it may be in my nature, but that it is likely that being older and having worked with older people all my adult life makes it easier for me to engage someone in conversation and worry less about whether I look/sound/act ok.

    Finally, having worked also made it easier to transition to the clinical years when the hours we were expected to put in in the hospital increased. Many of my classmates had never worked a 8+ hour day and you should have heard the pissing and moaning about the "draconian" hours we were expected to put in. Obviously if you've ever held a really, really boring or physically demanding job which required a full day's work you will be much better prepared to handle the workload of medical school. [​IMG]
  6. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Oct 7, 2000
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    In my experience, there are quite a few schools out there who actually prefer non-traditionals. In particular, most DO schools like non-trads. and I think it can often be more of a benefit than a hindrance.


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