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Feeling Very Sorry for myself....How to move forward

Discussion in 'Mature Students' started by laurajb, May 16, 2014.

  1. laurajb

    laurajb New Member

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    Hello People, I have posted on here a few times.

    My back story, decided wanted to be a doctor, worked as a HCA/phleb for the past 5 years. Husband was in armed forces so only got settled last year when he left. Completed my Maths GCSE and Anatomy and physiology. Got on the Access to Medicine programme at Stafford( finish in two weeks). Secured all my credits at distinction level( two exams to go).

    Watched six of my cohort interview and secure places to study medicine(there are 10 of us.)

    me, no interviews, 4 rejections, nothing, devastated would be an understatement. I put my heart and soul into this. I realise its a long shot and extremely competititve. So am stuggling to find the energy and enthusiasm to try again, its what every one tells you to do but i just dont know if I can go through all of that again, it was emotionally exhausting.

    So the actual question is this, I have secured a place to study public health, I know would enjoy this but dont want to look back in 10 years and think what if, why didnt I try one more time. When do you realise that you have reached the point of letting go, I am so unsure what to do.
    Oh did I mention I am 38, which I have been told is not too late, another long shot but not too late.
     
  2. Nate

    Nate Member

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    Hi

    I am an anaesthetic registrar. I also came to medicine late, starting my grad course at the age of 27. Now 35, I still have 5 years of specialist training in front of me. So the journey I began in 2005 will be completed in 2019. If you mirrored this, you'll be 52!

    Professional exams are also tough and specialist training posts are competitive. Just this week I've had 2 friends fail to get training posts for the 2nd time and another fail his surgical exams for the 4th time. These guys are good drs!

    Further, to proceed in training successfully you will probably have to work a minimum of 48 clinical hrs a week, with extra revision/audits/teaching on the side. I probably work a total of 60 hrs a week. Further, as specialist trainees, we move from hospital to hospital year to year, which in some cases means you either have a lengthy commute or you move.

    In summary, don't base your decision on a desire to be a Dr, but a realistic expectation that if you go down this path it will be a minimum of 10-15 yrs of hard slog, with limited social stability.

    Sorry to be negative, but although being a Dr is fulfilling, one has to be realistic about what it takes........

    Nate
     
  3. laurajb

    laurajb New Member

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    Sorry Nate I should have specified Public Health is the route I would pursue after a medical degree
     
  4. anybeth

    anybeth New Member

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    No interviews? How was the support from A2M staff regarding applications - personal statement, etc? I'd better state here and now I have absolutely NO authority on applying, I'm further back than you are having only decided to go for an access course when our first child decided to butt in....... now we have two and I'm wondering what possessed me to think I had a chance in such a competitive arena. So well done for all you've achieved! Distinctions!? The lack of interviews can only be due to 2 things, surely: 1. sheer number of applicants and randomness of selection, bad luck, but try again exactly because in 10 yrs you will be glad you did whatever the outcome, like you say - to come so far and be defeated by bad luck? 2. did your personal statement reflect you well enough? Before settling for applying to an access course, I actually applied for medicine (hoping to get A-level chemistry in a year but the sixth form college eventually refused), however I guess it was only my insanely, ridiculously, extensively researched, edited and re-edited PS that made an admissions officer contact me repeatedly to find out how the Chemistry outlook was going. That is my one exigent hope....... so how do you feel about yours? - I don't know if I can help, like I say, I'm a complete and utter nobody!...... Distinctions! Come on! Don't give up now. Emotionally exhausting but you'll soon recover from the initial blow and find it better going. Much better. You must be chuffed with distinctions, come on!
     
  5. Nate

    Nate Member

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    Hi

    Public health is a very competitive specialty. In 2013 there were 8.6 applicants per place, with only cardiothoracic surgery being more competitive. It is a 5 yr training program, after F1 and 2, with 2 sets of exams to pass. Therefore there is a minimum of 7 yrs post grad training. So, with 4 yrs of medschool that will make it a minimum of 11 yrs before finally finishing. Minimum.

    All I want you to do is to think realistically whether you want it that much that you are willing to devote the next 11 yrs of your life to eat, drink and sleep public health. Medicine is so competitive that anything less just will not cut it.

    Regards

    Nate

    (He types, while on call in Hospital!)
     
  6. AussieBoy

    AussieBoy Member

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    Bloody hell! A realistic post... and two in a row!

    The problem with being an oldie / parent at med school is the post-graduate part. Med school wasn't so bad, except for the lack of cash. This is something I overlooked when applying. I'm now in the stage of deciding whether to try the hospital doctor route. It's competetive, the basic hours are long and there's after hours teaching to prep for membership and fellowship exams seven or more years post-graduation.

    The bar is getting higher and higher, and the thing with public health at least here is Australia is that an MPH is essential. So that's a load more study in your own time (such as it is) on top of all the other stuff.

    The path to GP is easier and shorter here but it's still exam-riddled.

    AB
     
  7. laurajb

    laurajb New Member

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    In reading posts and taking all into consideration, I am actually quite angry. Do you not think maybe I have done my research, spent hours trolling the internet, undertaken much opinion from qualified doctors( yes i work with them too). I am aware of the risks and how hard it would be, I have the finances in places not an issue, my youngest child is in High School, (thanks for asking). Also the fact I will be 52 when qualified makes no difference to my ability to do my job, bearing in mind I will have to work for at least another 15 years.
    So I may never make consultant but I will be a bloody good doctor, so thank you that was the kick up the backside I needed.

    I do on the other hand take great offence to being called OLD at 38. :mad:
     
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  8. AussieBoy

    AussieBoy Member

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    The biggest problem with this forum is that anyone who posts anything which might possibly go against the "you can do anything you want if you try your hardest" line gets this kind of reaction.

    I'm not sure who called you old. Possibly it was an inference from me referring to myself as an "oldie". But that's what I am / was: an oldie, a late starter at medical school.

    And that is what you will be too, should you get into medical school: an oldie and an outlier. To take "great offence" and become angry about this fact is quite a strange reaction, particularly given the last line of your first post on this thread and the general timbre of what you have written previously.
     
  9. Nate

    Nate Member

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    Hi

    Sorry if you took offence to what I posted, but it is the reality of the situation. Your original post indicates that your desire to be a doctor wavered at a rejection. If this is going to be a pattern then medicine is not for you; you will stumble many times on the journey to qualification. All I tried to do was to give you a good dose of reality, rather than the usual "stick at it and try harder and you'll achieve your goals" attitude. The reason? Because if studying public health will get you to a point where you would be happy in your career, there is no reason to spend 14yrs of slog to get to the same endpoint. Career satisfaction should be your goal.

    As to your age, don't be naïve. As an F1 I did weeks where I was working from 7.30 am to 10pm regularly (despite the European working time directive). 7 night shifts in a row, 14 hrs in length. Now, at 35, as an Anaesthetic registrar my on calls are slightly easier, but I fatigue more than I did at 30. So, you may have the desire in your 40s, but the mental fatigue will get to you.

    So, make your decision based on what you are prepared to do to go down this path, and more importantly, is this the only path which will make you truly happy.

    Nate
     
  10. laurajb

    laurajb New Member

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    thanks for reposting, I am not going to lie, I did take offence to both posts, although there should have been a silly tongue out face at the end of the angry one, I am not offended that easily by the age thing honestly...

    I also think in my word I should have made myself clearer, I am looking for a way to seek closure on something I have dreamed...yes it is a dream, and chased for a long time now. You remember being down the botttom thinking you will never get anywhere, at some point. Maybe not, maybe you are one of the lucky ones that gained a place first time. I know I could try again but I really did give it everything this year and it obviously wasnt enough. That is tough, really tough. I also know I could try again, but it was exhausting and my family have suffered, it doesnt change how you feel. Call me sentimental but thats how I feel, rejection is difficult so is failure.

    Maybe I just wanted to vent, to hear somebody else say something I didnt want to hear, I am not by any means rude or ungrateful. Thanks for your opinions, but I guess they are just that opinions. Only I can decided on where to go from here. Have I said too much, maybe but that is just me.
     
  11. ajax

    ajax Member

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    I've been following this thread with interest, as I am about to start a four-year course and I am in my mid-30s. Ther are some very helpful, realistic posts on here and I have read them with interest.
    Obviously I do not know you and am only going on what you have written, but if I were you I would be rock-solid in my motivation. From what I can see, it looks like your motivation is more to satisfy your ego (this is not meant in a critical or negative sense) than to actually practice medicine. I cannot help but think that this is a very expensive and costly way to prove something to yourself. Again, I am not trying to attack you, but rather just be as objective as possible.
    Rejection is very difficult for everybody - many people have gone through numerous cycles before getting interviews, let alone offers. You're not alone.

    But I would urge you to reconsider one thing you said: "I really did give it everything this year and it obviously wasnt enough. " What I hear you saying is "I am simply not good enough, not matter how good I am" and I just don't think that is true. The application and interview process has a lottery element in it at the end of the day. Your luck affects the questions you are asked in the interview, the tasks you are asked to perform in the group task, the other people alongside you, and so on. I would give it another shot - your luck might change.
    I'm a bit confused about what you actually want from this thread and why you started it in the first place; are you not looking for other peoples' opinions? Do you want reassurance? Reality? If you wanted to vent, then airing your views on a public message board is pretty much a guaranteed way to get public feedback, like it or not.
     
  12. laurajb

    laurajb New Member

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    Thanks for the reply, I think when I originally posted I wasnt sure what I was looking for either. It was a very emotional day, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve( not a good trait I am told). I think I just became really defensive when the other two posts were probably much more objective than I could be at that time.

    I read your post with interest and agree with the majority of what you have said. I still am in two minds and I know if you aren't sure you shouldn't do it. I really love my job, I have been working in the NHS for 6 years now, and medicine is so.......can't put it into words, that said where my motivations lay anymore is anyones guess. It was a very trying and emotional rollercoaster of a year, harder than most things I have ever tried to do. If I have the emotional and physical energy to do it again, probably screams as to why I shouldn't attempt a second round.

    That said, I wish you the best of british. and thanks again.
     
  13. ajax

    ajax Member

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    You're very welcome. I hope my musings were helpful.

    I don't think anyone around here is trying to be intentionally harsh, but I can see how some comments could be construed in that way. Obviously the frame-of-mind of the observer can colour how they are interpreted as well.

    Please allow me to make a few observations. I promise you that these are intended in the most constructive way possible.

    First, I am sorry that you were not successful in your applications. Unfortunately, I think there are many people who are in your situation - some of whom post around here, or at least have done in recent years. There is no easy piece of advice to give, other than that if you really want to do it then you should try again.

    Speaking of really wanting to do it, I know I've said this above, but if I were you, I would think about why I really wanted to start a career in medicine. I sense you might be struggling putting it into words above. Don't feel you have to explain it to me, but you definitely need to be able to explain it to yourself and of course to any interviewer who will invariably ask.

    I wouldn't say that being a doctor, especially a junior doctor, is the most emotionally nurturing of career choices. It's bloody tough (although if you work in the NHS you surely know this), both physically and emotionally. People, both colleagues and patients, can be awful. You've got to have the hide of a rhinoceros. If you're the type who wears their heart on their sleeve, you may wish to ask yourself whether you are tempermentally suited for such a career. Maybe you are - it's not my place to judge. But maybe you're not and you got lucky that you didn't end up making a big and expensive mistake.

    The only other thing I would say is that medical school is bloody difficult as well. I've never been a medical student (although I plan to be shortly), but I have gone through the application roller-coaster this past year whilst working full-time 60 hours per week and bouncing around all over the UK and abroad for personal reasons, and I have no doubt that medical school will be even tougher. If the application process is the hardest thing you have ever done, then should you get into a programme you should prepare yourself for a lifetime of even harder graft from there on in. If you're struggling to find the energy to go through an application cycle, you will be struggling much more to succeed in medical school.

    With all that being said, I have always believed that were there is a will, there is a way, and if you are bound and determined to do it, then eventually it should come about.

    I wish you the best of luck whatever you decide to do.
     
  14. grub

    grub New Member

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    Hi laurajb
    some info for you to use as you wish....
    im a mum of 2 young ones
    just done my first year
    im 36.
    I am very young looking but despite this, I am old in comparison to peers - really hard to fit in - I wanna talk about my kids...nobody wants to hear about that (understandably at half my age) and nobody cares that there are other aspects to me so I do feel lonely as a student
    im lving my dream
    I have no regrets
    my dream was over 10 years.....
    its hard work juggling
    but im so happy
    I moan a lot
    I also wear my heart on my sleeve (WHAT A STUPID COMMENT BY WHOEVER IT WAS TO INFER THIS MAY INDICATE MAYBE NOT SUITED TO BEING A DR OR WHATEVER WAS SAID....OMG!!!)
    ask for advice here (I also did) and use it to help you decipher your own thoughts, but not steer you
    think - live so that you have no regrets........
    :)
     
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  15. grub

    grub New Member

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    oh and meant to say.......shifts....ha.....as a parent there is no start and finish time!!!
     
  16. LePomS

    LePomS Member

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    My days guys, talk about putting someone off! Not me :p. I mean I've worked and do work long hors and travel a lot. But reading all this did scare me a little....I think financially really, not sure how to maintain bills etc with potentially being a student again but this time full time and over time.

    Is there a limit to how many times you can apply? I had applied but didn't put my heart into the application as I did not have any self belief that I would get in. I did the work experience, volunteering, studying etc and all that I should but felt I was not good enough so put my application forward with a defeatist attitude. This time I am applying proper! But feel I still won't be good enough :(

    Ajax what job do you have that's 60hrs? I'm not sure if I missed your mentioning of it.
     
  17. nikami

    nikami Member

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    Wowww, you are a motivation. I am 28 with one lil one and even though having strong mental attitude I feel so lonely as a student too. And I read your comment today and you made my day. I feel much more strong by reading your position.
    Applying for UKCAT. Fingers crossed!

    Since you made it to medical school suggesting what said above is indeed true.
    When there is a will there is way :)

    Thank You and Regards
     
  18. Arra

    Arra New Member

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    Just been reading this thread...


    Sounds to me as if you're looking for an excuse not to do it - as if you're apologising to some "other" for wanting to better yourself.

    However,

    Oh, 52! FIFTY TWO????!!!

    Without giving away my age, I'm a few years older that 38. Maybe I could bring a care worker to uni with me, and s/he could wheel me round the campus before giving me tea and biscuits whilst I tell him/her that "it's not like the old days, you know" or come out with the same anecdote over and over again, or forget where I've left my spectacles (even though I'm wearing them).

    Come on, is age really that much of an issue? Or is it like Logan's Run where everyone has a crystal in their hand that changes colour when they reach thirty? In other professions, say QC barristers or priests, the retirement age can be around 75. That would mean at least twenty or more years work. Plus, what about studying medicine to enjoy it? To improve the self.

    I've been a mature student several times. I've had the "... and how old will you be at the end of it?"

    Maybe it's a British thing. I mean, we don't get asked "... and how old will you be at the end of it?" when we take a "fill-in" job doing office admin, or working in the supermarket, do we?
     
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  19. LePomS

    LePomS Member

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    Age is experience. Sometimes when people come in young and new they get the 'you have no life experiences' and 'your just young and naive about the world'.

    So having more years I always think is a good thing as you have more experience to bring to a job. No 18 year old trotting off to uni has that much experience compared to so done in their 30s who can offer other working life experience etc etc.
     
  20. abcd1234

    abcd1234 New Member

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    Wow!!! Saw your post when i am just going through what i call a mid life crisis career wise. I am 36 too and trying to study for my UKCAT to get into a GEP. I have 2 little ones and i cant even begin to explain the things i am contemplating. I would love to chat to you if you do not mind so as to get that first hand overview of how you have got round a few things- the financials, family time etc. I was struggling to get someone who fits my profile hence i came onto this forum and glad i saw your post
     

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