Seeking to network with OLLLD (35+) non-trads doing their pre reqs

Apr 13, 2020
62
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  1. Pre-Medical
I have started my dream to get into med school and finished my first set of courses after 15 years of working in technology . I have a long way to go and hope to apply in 2022 cycle . I dont have any cold feet as I will be transitioning to full time student next year but I could use the support of older students just to know that I'm not alone. A little voice in me says this is crazy but my wife and family support it and I want to do it as this has been a dream . Am comfortable with the finance part of it ( working spouse and savings ) and hopefully can manage my studying habits.
 
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dnyal

5+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2015
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  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I am not 35, but I am 31 and became a sophomore after last Spring. I am married and my spouse works full time (no children), so he is able to support me. I don't work because I am taking like 15 credits per semester (a few less over the summers to keep me from getting burnt out) while involved in clubs and volunteering, on top of family responsibilities and house chores. So, I supplement our income with student loans (my savings were gone in the first year).

It is doable. My husband is very supportive and that truly gives me motivation.
 
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About the Ads
Apr 19, 2020
23
24
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  1. Pre-Medical
I'm 41 and taking pre-reqs. Will not be ready to apply until I'm 43. But I have some advantages, I think. I have a super supportive spouse, no kids, I'm told I look young, I train for and run a marathon every year to stay in shape. I've worked 50+ hours a week in health care for a decade+, so I have a sense of what the lifestyle is like. My dad, who doesn't take care of himself at all, was a med student in his 40's (when I was in high school). If my dad could do it (with 3 kids, a small business, and subpar health) in his 40's, so can I.
 
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Apr 13, 2020
62
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  1. Pre-Medical
I'm 41 and taking pre-reqs. Will not be ready to apply until I'm 43. But I have some advantages, I think. I have a super supportive spouse, no kids, I'm told I look young, I train for and run a marathon every year to stay in shape. I've worked 50+ hours a week in health care for a decade+, so I have a sense of what the lifestyle is like. My dad, who doesn't take care of himself at all, was a med student in his 40's (when I was in high school). If my dad could do it (with 3 kids, a small business, and subpar health) in his 40's, so can I.

Thanks for the connect @Sn00pygrrl will connect . I have started my prereqs and working fulltime . Finishing up my Physics II ( finals this week ) . I am currently doing it at a CC but plan to switch to a 4 year in spring or next summer . I will have Bio , Chem and Ochem to go
 
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Aug 17, 2020
55
40
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  1. Pre-Psychology
I have started my dream to get into med school and finished my first set of courses after 15 years of working in technology . I have a long way to go and hope to apply in 2022 cycle . I dont have any cold feet as I will be transitioning to full time student next year but I could use the support of older students just to know that I'm not alone. A little voice in me says this is crazy but my wife and family support it and I want to do it as this has been a dream . Am comfortable with the finance part of it ( working spouse and savings ) and hopefully can manage my studying habits.
I read this morning about the Moderna Covid vaccine trials taking place in rural Oregon, led by an immunology specialist out of Medford/Grants Pass. An interesting detail about this 63-year-old doctor: he worked in physics for NASA until he was in his 30s. THEN he did Princeton's History of Science master's program, THEN went to medical school at University of Colorado. This was in the 80s, he didn't finish his residency until the 90s, and he would have been in his 40s by then. Now he's the leading immunology expert in Oregon at this point. Go figure.

I started this journey after a lot of reading and self-discovery pointed me in this direction. A pretty influential book was Working Stiff, a memoir of sorts co-written by a NYC medical examiner fellowship trainee and her husband. Dr. Melinek originally trained as a surgeon and had completed her residencies, but was suffering from burnout. She described in the book having an epiphany when she was sick with the flu and could barely stand and yet was expected to perform a procedure on a patient while feeling faint. She thought, "This is unreal. Why are we doing this to doctors and thus to patients?" So she spoke to some mentors who put her in touch and recommended her for a fellowship as a medical examiner. She left her surgeon role and went to work 9-5 in the NYC OCME, during which time she was present for 9/11. After her fellowship, she moved to San Jose as a fully licensed medical examiner. Part of her book points out that she was pregnant during her fellowship and was doing paperwork at the OCME the day she was scheduled for delivery, and then she just waltzed over to the hospital on schedule. Not every pregnancy goes so smoothly, but she pointed out that it was a much more collegial, welcoming environment for a woman carrying a child to work in medicine. The pressures weren't there to pull 24-hour shifts. The morgue doesn't need you at midnight.

Personally, I'm hoping to be a DO applicant after completing basic gen chem and o-chem requirements through UNE that I didn't do in undergrad. I will qualify for certain DO programs with just the chemistry covered. I'm 32 now. My primary concerns going forward are being a competitive applicant as I had some B- science grades, but at a Top 10 undergrad (I later learned MOST people had B- grades in their courses). Right now my options are the following:

Complete a bunch of extra bio pre-reqs through UNE while paying a la carte, which will take a while. Time and money are a factor here.
Apply for a neuroscience program (this would fit my current background as a former teacher and current instructional designer).
Apply for a physical/forensic anthropology master's as this would support my interest in a potential pathology residency.
Apply for a generic biology master's, but the only one local to me is a bit weak looking, otherwise the rest in NYC area all seem PhD-focused or specify applicants should be STEM undergrads, and I am not.

I'm wondering what might be the best avenue based on the above options. I probably will just reach out to the DO program again and pose this same question to the advisor. Which of these would have the greatest weight?

In terms of the application process, I have a narrative that reflects wanting to become a psychiatrist, and that will fit a non-traditional applicant who isn't necessarily STEM-focused. Since I haven't even had a microbiology course yet I feel I have no business talking in an essay about pathology. A neuroscience program would line up with my overall narrative so that might be best. My narrative plan is to point out how my life has been shaped by significant mental health problems within my family, how I encountered severe mental health struggles among friends and among students as a teacher, and how I have arrived on this spot feeling I can do greater good in medicine, etc. etc. So I want to play that up a bit if possible through education.
 
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Apr 19, 2020
23
24
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  1. Pre-Medical
Thanks for the connect @Sn00pygrrl will connect . I have started my prereqs and working fulltime . Finishing up my Physics II ( finals this week ) . I am currently doing it at a CC but plan to switch to a 4 year in spring or next summer . I will have Bio , Chem and Ochem to go
Followed back :)

How has physics been? I’m about to start physics I and lab in the coming week.

So far I’ve done a year of bio, bio lab, and gen chem 1. Have 1 yr physics/physics lab, gen chem II, o-chem I & II, chem labs, and biochem left. I only have time to do 1 class plus lab at a time at the moment due to work obligations. Hoping to decrease work hours after Jan 1 so I can focus a little more intensely on my post-bacc efforts.

Are you thinking about applying to DO or MD schools or both? I’m going to cast a WIDE net (advice from the few people I’ve told that I’m doing this).

That’s another question—how/when do you tell people you’re on this journey? I’ve REALLY resisted telling anyone but my husband because I don’t want the added pressure and questions from family, work colleagues, social group, etc. But at some point I’m going to have to ... I really actually am dreading that part.
 
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Aug 17, 2020
55
40
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  1. Pre-Psychology
Followed back :)

How has physics been? I’m about to start physics I and lab in the coming week.

So far I’ve done a year of bio, bio lab, and gen chem 1. Have 1 yr physics/physics lab, gen chem II, o-chem I & II, chem labs, and biochem left. I only have time to do 1 class plus lab at a time at the moment due to work obligations. Hoping to decrease work hours after Jan 1 so I can focus a little more intensely on my post-bacc efforts.

Are you thinking about applying to DO or MD schools or both? I’m going to cast a WIDE net (advice from the few people I’ve told that I’m doing this).

That’s another question—how/when do you tell people you’re on this journey? I’ve REALLY resisted telling anyone but my husband because I don’t want the added pressure and questions from family, work colleagues, social group, etc. But at some point I’m going to have to ... I really actually am dreading that part.
I so relate to this. I had to tell my partner and I told another friend in a similar boat of frustration with career and needing to do something else that is a better fit—more "like the career dreams I used to have" rather than just Office Space. She understood. But I'm hesitant to really share anything else until I'm farther along. I will need to reach out to at least one or two college acquaintances for some advice, but I'd rather just follow through on my own and surprise my circle of friends and family instead of risking failing publicly. Plus, this might sound weird, but now that I'm in my early 30s, I am actually afraid to say it out loud, "I want to be a doctor." It almost sounds far-fetched or foreign to me. I never really allowed myself to entertain notions about STEM because I had a very fixed mindset about math during high school and college. It's only been from working and becoming a teacher that I have appreciated my abilities as a learner. And I figure, like someone else said here, "If I'm going to be 40 eventually, do I want to be 40 and a doctor or 40 and bored doing something less?" I can spend 50 hours a week in my current job with a side gig doing another 20 or more and scrambling and hating what I am doing or I can devote time and learning to something that will offer the emotional and intellectual payoff I've really wanted.
 
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Aug 18, 2020
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Let’s be pals! I have orgo chem 1 and 2 left, physics 1 and 2, biochem and the mcat. I’m 35 tomorrow. My plan is to start applying may 2022. I feel like school is a lot easier for me later in life, but I’m sure if I get into Med school then I’ll be trying to keep up with 20 year olds who can live off Gatorade and 2 hours sleep! Aghhh to be young again! But also... I am so much more financially stable in my 30’s! Trade offs!
 
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Apr 19, 2020
23
24
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  1. Pre-Medical
I so relate to this. I had to tell my partner and I told another friend in a similar boat of frustration with career and needing to do something else that is a better fit—more "like the career dreams I used to have" rather than just Office Space. She understood. But I'm hesitant to really share anything else until I'm farther along. I will need to reach out to at least one or two college acquaintances for some advice, but I'd rather just follow through on my own and surprise my circle of friends and family instead of risking failing publicly. Plus, this might sound weird, but now that I'm in my early 30s, I am actually afraid to say it out loud, "I want to be a doctor." It almost sounds far-fetched or foreign to me. I never really allowed myself to entertain notions about STEM because I had a very fixed mindset about math during high school and college. It's only been from working and becoming a teacher that I have appreciated my abilities as a learner. And I figure, like someone else said here, "If I'm going to be 40 eventually, do I want to be 40 and a doctor or 40 and bored doing something less?" I can spend 50 hours a week in my current job with a side gig doing another 20 or more and scrambling and hating what I am doing or I can devote time and learning to something that will offer the emotional and intellectual payoff I've really wanted.

I know, it feels surreal to be on this path, and that feeling is why I can't be public about it yet. I don't think I'll feel comfortable talking about it until the pre-reqs and MCAT are done and I can actually assess my odds. Everything feels pretty hypothetical until then. At that point I will need to ask a few people for LoRs, so I'll have to open up more. But until then, my life is school, clinical work (direct patient care), and volunteering.

I was OK at science and math growing up (A's and B's), but since I wasn't hitting it out of the park like my older sister (a STEM goddess), I wasn't encouraged to pursue it further despite having a lot of curiosity and interest in medicine at an early age. It's amazing how the things adults tell you as a kid can form so much of the narrative you tell yourself as a young adult, which leads to certain career choices that are actually not right for you ... at least, that's what I think kind of happened in my case.
 
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Apr 17, 2020
6
2
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  1. Pre-Medical
Happy to join the club! I'm 31 and taking pre-reqs to apply to medical school right now. I am also planning to apply in the 2022 cycle. It definitely "aged" me when I was looking for fellow nontrads on here and found that even the majority of nontrads are much younger. My fiancé is on board with this path. I am also struggling with sharing this with my friends and family. I just don't want added pressure, and I know people will judge me. I currently have a different career and am working FT and taking classes PT. I am volunteering at my local hospital as well (okay so it's paused right now due to COVID but pre-COVID I was, and whenever volunteering is allowed again I will continue) and plan to shadow when I am able to.

I feel that I have a lot of concerns that traditional premeds and even some younger nontrad premeds don't have. I'm worried about being a competitive applicant when I won't have any clinical work experience on my application. I am very committed to this path but I can't quit my career until my car loan is paid off/I would also like to utilize my higher income now to save money for med school. Getting involved in any sort of premed club is difficult right now due to COVID. I have also looked at finding some type of part time flexible medical research position without much luck. I guess I feel that my application will be strong just in the fact that I am nontrad, (hopefully) maintain a high GPA, (hopefully) report a high MCAT score, and have extensive shadowing/volunteer hours but if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd appreciate hearing them! I read a lot in the younger nontrad or traditional forums where people will make comments like "if you're really committed to this goal you'll do everything to achieve it including quitting your job and taking out student loans and finding part time clinical work". I am very committed but honestly that sort of mindset is so far from realistic. If I ever had to choose between my job v med school path I would 100% choose med school path but I'm not sure if quitting my job and putting myself in debt prematurely just so I can list some clinical work experience on my application is worth it.
 
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Knpnfa

2+ Year Member
Nov 27, 2016
37
12
Just recently retired from the Air Force where I worked in cyber security. Cyber security was not for me. However, it gave me the push to actually invest in myself and follow my dream. I’m 34, have a very supportive wife (both for my chosen path and financially), and am going for biochemistry as my undergrad. Start ochem 1, physics 1, and genetics next week. The fact that they are all online has me extremely worried as I do better in person. Oh well, can’t let the rona completely derail my plans.

I am pretty open to family/friends on my plan to go to med school. My mom is “supportive”, but I don’t believe she thinks I can do it. Had a pretty rough go in my last 2 years of HS and dropped out of college in the middle of my first semester. I don’t really talk to my sister anymore, but I do know she thinks I cannot do it. She is a dentist which made me figure she would be a huge help...nope. All that to say I understand the need to be around/talk to people that are supportive of the dream.
 
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Aug 17, 2020
55
40
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Psychology
Happy to join the club! I'm 31 and taking pre-reqs to apply to medical school right now. I am also planning to apply in the 2022 cycle. It definitely "aged" me when I was looking for fellow nontrads on here and found that even the majority of nontrads are much younger. My fiancé is on board with this path. I am also struggling with sharing this with my friends and family. I just don't want added pressure, and I know people will judge me. I currently have a different career and am working FT and taking classes PT. I am volunteering at my local hospital as well (okay so it's paused right now due to COVID but pre-COVID I was, and whenever volunteering is allowed again I will continue) and plan to shadow when I am able to.

I feel that I have a lot of concerns that traditional premeds and even some younger nontrad premeds don't have. I'm worried about being a competitive applicant when I won't have any clinical work experience on my application. I am very committed to this path but I can't quit my career until my car loan is paid off/I would also like to utilize my higher income now to save money for med school. Getting involved in any sort of premed club is difficult right now due to COVID. I have also looked at finding some type of part time flexible medical research position without much luck. I guess I feel that my application will be strong just in the fact that I am nontrad, (hopefully) maintain a high GPA, (hopefully) report a high MCAT score, and have extensive shadowing/volunteer hours but if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd appreciate hearing them! I read a lot in the younger nontrad or traditional forums where people will make comments like "if you're really committed to this goal you'll do everything to achieve it including quitting your job and taking out student loans and finding part time clinical work". I am very committed but honestly that sort of mindset is so far from realistic. If I ever had to choose between my job v med school path I would 100% choose med school path but I'm not sure if quitting my job and putting myself in debt prematurely just so I can list some clinical work experience on my application is worth it.
I completely respect this. I think you find in this forum a mixture of people: Some who are just looking to get into DO programs and aren't looking for a huge name, and some who are angling for a Top 20 school and have a mindset that you must have the most overloaded resume possible while ignoring the fact that a lot of this job we're all hoping to have someday is about social and professional aptitude. I've found a couple of residency programs doing Q&A-style interviews with different residents who shared "how they got here." It's not a laundry list of research projects and publications and direct patient care volunteering. Some of it is pretty basic. One of them cited their college band performance experience along with volunteering as a tutor for underprivileged kids and that was it. I think their major may have been biology with music but they didn't talk about working one-on-one with professors age 21 in a lab like some people around here do.

When I applied for college I was very active in a forum called College Confidential around 2004-2006. It was full of legacy students and Ivy parents sharing their secrets for how to get into "the top 20." I ultimately got into a Top 10 school based on some stats that shocked some people. I didn't have a standardized test score but there was something about my narrative and something about my background where they saw potential. And I think that's something people underestimate. Admissions officials aren't just looking for someone who can check boxes and move on. So my attitude going into this is to meet expectations where there are requirements and then find ways to stand out and present a total narrative that matches. I want them to at least imagine someone who is hard-working in a full-time job while taking classes and volunteering, and then someone who has had life experience that has led them to a decision that is tied into that volunteering and also tied into their professional agenda post-medical school. I want them to see me as someone who is going to check THEIR boxes.
 
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