is 30 too old to start med school?

  • yes

    Votes: 6 7.6%
  • no

    Votes: 73 92.4%

  • Total voters
    79

Waldeinsamkeit

5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2014
137
101
Philadelphia
Status
Medical Student
Hello all,
Sorry if this is a lame post, but I just need some reassurance or harsh truth. I got into a good med school, and so far my performance has been fine--so none of that is an issue. It's just I've over heard other students making a big deal about being 28 when they graduate, and it really does make me feel bad or down on myself. I'm 30 going into my first year. Is that as bad as people are making it out to be? Any other nontrad students have an opinion? I realize I won't be practicing until I'm ~38-39 (looking for a shorter residency), but I'll be making ~50-60 K in 4 years which I don't think is too bad (plus the wife has quite a salary and is helping with tuition). Idk, sorry if this is obnoxious. Just doubting myself now.
 

petyr_baelish

5+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2009
755
551
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
The truth is you are only too old if you think you are because nobody else cares (in a good way).
Is 35+ years of practicing medicine enough for you?
 

futuremdforme

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2013
883
675
Status
Non-Student
What pushed you to do med school at this point? Obviously you wanted it badly enough to do it, so don't let your insecurity get you down. In 10 years, you will be 40, but you can either be a doctor or not.

I'm also MS1 around your age. I'm uncomfortable with it, but I don't think it really matters. My med school experience won't be the same as my 21 year old colleagues who want to party everyday, but that's okay -- I got to have that 10 years of fun and exploring before committing to this!
 

futuremdforme

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2013
883
675
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Non-Student
You're going to be a doctor for the rest of your life. You were also able to do something most of your peers will not: thoroughly enjoy your twenties sans med school stress.
And hopefully enjoyed at least a few years of financial DINK (dual income, no kids) comfort.
 

ortnakas

DO PGY-2
5+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2013
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I'm a second-year now and I'm almost 30; I have quite a few classmates who are my age, a few years older (your age), and several years older. It's weird socially every once in a while, but it's never a big deal. If it's what you want, keep going for it!
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,605
65,281
4th Dimension
What they are complaining about isn't being 28, but missing all of the years in between and being too old to do the sorts of things they would have done during those years. They're worried about the crazy times they'll miss, the dating scene, not being able to be young and careless for a bit longer. You already enjoyed those years, you missed out on nothing. You get the best of both worlds- to enjoy your youth, and to be a doctor, all in one lifetime.
 

devildoc8404

5+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2009
8
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Switzerland
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I am a third-year resident at 47. My .02: You are too old for it if/when you think you are too old for it.

Granted, as a married dude with two little kids, I will admit that my life in this specialty training regimen (urology) often sucks more than it seems to for the single, unattached set at my hospital. I am still glad I did it, though, and cannot see myself doing anything else besides something in medicine. I guess that is kind of what it comes down to in the end... can you see yourself doing something else for the rest of your professional days, or not?

Really -- as long as YOU are cool with it, being 30 is nothing to worry about. Don't sweat it. (Hell, I will finish residency at 51!)

Further, FWIW, I have a friend who started residency (psychiatry) in his late 50's, and his extensive life experience as a counselor and clergyman help to make him outstanding at his job. Just take the right attitude into the process.

I wish you well.
 

ChrisMack390

2+ Year Member
Jan 15, 2015
3,379
4,507
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Medical Student (Accepted)
I won't start til I am 27 or 28.

Could I have started younger if I hadn't partied my ass off and traveled around the country/world when I was younger? Yeah probably....but would it be worth it?
 
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MusicDOc124

Staff member
Moderator
5+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2013
1,013
699
It's all about perspective. Remember - if they went straight through, and their whole live was pre-med and med school so far - they haven't really lived yet, so being that age could be a big deal when that's when they're finally doing things they want. You and I, and plenty of others on here who are older, we've done other things we've wanted to do, and experienced life to some degree. I'll be 30 when I graduate as opposed to 26/27 had I gone straight through, but in those few extra years - I did A LOT.

A lot of these kids are still looking for a s/o, and learning about a lot outside of school.

You've lived your life to some degree and you're married as per your post. You probably have some money saved up on top of the salary of your wife helping for tuition, which means you'll be in less debt than your classmates as well.

What's the rush? The time will pass anyway...
 

twospadz

2+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2015
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The truth is it would have been better/ideal if you started when you were 22 or 23. Don't let people lie to you and the fact that your having inner conflicting thoughts about starting later only goes to show you have realized that. I have medical school friends that have traveled to Europe, South America, and Africa while they were in school (during M1 and M2) and they started when they were 22 and even one guy 21. Also, alot of them go clubbing and have house parties too. But hey, your in medical school right, so you can't go back in time. Just appreciate the fact that you made it to this point so far.
 
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petyr_baelish

5+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2009
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The truth is it would have been better/ideal if you started when you were 22 or 23. Don't let people lie to you and the fact that your having inner conflicting thoughts about starting later only goes to show you have realized that. I have medical school friends that have traveled to Europe, South America, and Africa while they were in school (during M1 and M2) and they started when they were 22 and even one guy 21. Also, alot of them go clubbing and have house parties too. But hey, your in medical school right, so you can't go back in time. Just appreciate the fact that you made it to this point so far.
Travelling abroad for 1 month in the middle of med school comes with certain sacrifices (like not truly relaxing since travel can be its own stress or not doing research like your peers.) It's also not the same as living and working abroad for a year or two which is what a lot of non-trads have done. Or if a student is older and didn't travel, they may have done other things like found their SO and/or enjoy their child's first steps. Maybe they had money to burn and enjoyed it. BTW, they've been to the same house parties in college so that's a moot point. I'm in my late 20s and if I could go back and do med school at 21 I definitely wouldn't. Not a chance. I've had more fun being out of college than in it. Plus, I did a lot of things that are totally impractical and irresponsible for a physician with a patient base to do -- like take off travelling on a whim after giving two weeks notice. The attending I work under was a traditional student who tells me on the daily that she wishes she would have delayed medical school for a few years because now she is worried about making partner of the group, managing a full time workload with small kids at home and doesn't see an end in sight for at least another 3 yrs. She took her first real vacation, free of stress, at the age of 30 after settling into her new job for a year.

None of this is to say that being a traditional student is a worse way to go through medical school. Just that for me, it definitely would be. I'm a much better person having done the things I've done prior to taking care of patients. We all have our own path so no, people aren't "lying" to the OP.
 
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twospadz

2+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2015
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Im just saying, I know many non trads that regret starting medical school later. I don't know any medical school students or doctors that regret starting medical school too early. But your situation might be unique that makes your stance justifiable. Good luck
 

togaedere

7+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2010
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This is a slightly old original post but I'm just here to shout out that I started med school at 32 and have absolutely no regrets. I know several people who wish they had gotten a little bit more mature before coming to school. You can't go back in time, so no use in being sad for something you can't change. If you want to be a doctor, go for it. The maturity that comes from having experienced other things before school, in my experience, helps a TON, especially on wards. There's zero chance I would have gotten as much out of med as I am now had I gone straight out of undergrad. But it's all about what works for the person.
 
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ComeOnYouReds

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
3
7
Status
Medical Student
This is a slightly old original post but I'm just here to shout out that I started med school at 32 and have absolutely no regrets. I know several people who wish they had gotten a little bit more mature before coming to school. You can't go back in time, so no use in being sad for something you can't change. If you want to be a doctor, go for it. The maturity that comes from having experienced other things before school, in my experience, helps a TON, especially on wards. There's zero chance I would have gotten as much out of med as I am now had I gone straight out of undergrad. But it's all about what works for the person.
I know this is an old original post, and a slightly old reply. I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience. I start my first year next week and I am 32, and while I have no doubts this is what I want to do, your post reassured me. I look forward to taking the next step and learning everything I can!
 
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