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How old is too old to study medicine

Discussion in 'Mature Students' started by matmed1, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. matmed1

    matmed1 New Member

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    I am in my late 30s I have a good job with an okay salary but for some reason I have found myself after all that accepting a place in medical school this year. Not sure if this is just ridiculous at this stage and am beginning to panic as the resignation time comes closer.. I know a few Doctors who have said that must be crazy to consider life as a junior Doctor in my 40s. Has any one done medicine as a mature mature student?
     
  2. Frank's mum

    Frank's mum New Member

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    I started at 41 and am sitting finals now, and I was not the oldest in the year. It's been a bit of a different experience I think from that of my fellow students. I have no problem being older than most of them but have had some poor reactions from a minority of students/nurses/doctors etc. One particulary lovely remark was made when I took the prospective students on an open day and one of them in the q and a session actually said 'What are you doing here. you're really old, older than my mum'
    However, as the current govenrment want us all to work until death then we may as well be doing something interesting with our time.
     
  3. matmed1

    matmed1 New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback and good to know there are other OAPs out there. When applying age did not bother me however now that I have a place I just think of how old I am!!! I really want to do this, but major financial issues and having to move house all of which on a good day I know I can do, but then just worried that I will fail...It is not the study which worries me so much (although that is daunting) it is being a junior doctor on a ward in my 40s... but I guess if others have done this it is achievable??? I have worked in health settings for years so I have some idea of the grim reality! I suppose just looking for some assurance that it is achievable... looking at either 4/5 years of study..
     
    #3 matmed1, Jun 18, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  4. yazoo

    yazoo New Member

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    I have mixed feelings on this (as someone graduated from med school and who has done foundation in my late 30s - I have now moved beyond that point and am glad of it!)

    Pros:
    1. Med school was great - really interesting, fun and very easy to have good work-life balance. Nothing negative to say about it at all.
    2. I achieved my ambition of becoming a Dr - something I will always be proud of.
    3. The job is, at times, a privilege and a pleasure.
    4. There is good job security provided you are above average and make it onto a training programme.

    Cons:
    1. Med school was the easy part. Starting work as a junior Dr is stressful for everyone. Add to that the joy of shift work - working e.g. Mon-Thurs days, then Fri-Sun nights, then Tues to Fri days. It's a physically and mentally tiring job that doesn't readily accommodate the rest of the family! But things do get easier as you become more senior.
    2. That's just the job. There are also the postgrad exams to consider. They are essential for all further training (GP or hospital Dr). Most of the exams are much harder than med school. They also cost a lot of money.
    3. Then there is the conflict between career and family. Most training programmes require experience in a range of hospitals - so on top of the shifts and the exams, you may face a sizeable commute each day. Or you may get on a training programme but face moving or living apart to enable you to take up the training job.
    4. The NHS. Founded on great intentions and with great aims. However, you will not believe how badly you will be treated as a junior Dr by the monopoly employer. You may not know where or when you will be working in 6 weeks time, you may have to accept a job without knowing the salary (or risk looosing it). My non-medic friends are amazed!

    I could go on and on with more pros and cons, but those are some of the more important in my view.

    But how old is too old? Only you can decide if you are too old as it's a very personal decision and may have considerable knock-on effects for family. Good luck!
     
  5. matmed1

    matmed1 New Member

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    Thanks for your honest answer Yazoo, I suppose with all the stress and bother of getting a place it is easy to forget that this is only the start. I am not so worried about the study but the competition and work afterwards. I will be competing with people around 20 years younger than me! Anyway you appear to have survived it so good for you!
     
  6. Martigan

    Martigan Super Moderator

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    Matmed.
    You are not alone, I'm 38.
     
  7. dotvicky

    dotvicky New Member

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    Good to see you back on here Martigan. I'm sure that this is your year!

    Cheers
    Vicky

    Ed: Looking at your list for 2011, can I ask why you don't fancy QMUL 4-year? You should have no problem getting to the assessment day with a UKCAT score like that and I'm sure that you'd cruise through the day with all the transferrable skills you have (teamwork, time-management, prioritisation, presentation/interview etc. etc.).

    Ed2: And does KCL not automatically consider you for the 5 year if you at least get an interview on the 4 year?
     
    #7 dotvicky, Jun 30, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  8. Martigan

    Martigan Super Moderator

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    Cheers Vicky

    I'm hoping too! Knowing I already have an interview at Kings and will probably have one at SGUL to is a great boost.

    RE QMUL, the entry requirement for admission to the GEP is a good honours degree (first or upper second class) in a science or a health-related subject. I don't think they will take Accounting and Finance as that... :)
    - I can always double check at the open day next week. ;-)

    I sit UKCAT within the next fortnight and am crapping myself, as I feel that I need to "beat" last years.
     
  9. Jolt

    Jolt Member

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    25.
     
  10. Martigan

    Martigan Super Moderator

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    25 what?
     
  11. dotvicky

    dotvicky New Member

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    Doh! Good point, well made - and even worse I'm now having a deja vu moment that I've suggested it to you before as well. Thank you for your patience. Heheh. :D

    As for UKCAT, I imagine anything comfortably into the 700s will be plenty (although I completely understand how you feel about wanting to do better).

    In other news, and completely hijacking this thread (ROTFL about the 25 commenter by the way - gotta love people with those super clearcut views on stuff), I'm hoping to join Bristol Uni's ballroom dance team so hopefully I'll get to do a bit of that particular life goal as well.

    Cheers
    Vicky
     
  12. EddieP

    EddieP New Member

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    28 and starting a 6 year course this year. I wouldn't want to be much older.
     
  13. matmed1

    matmed1 New Member

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    See the thing is that when you are 28 you think that you will have all your life sorted at the age of 38 but that does not happen or at least not for me.
    I think 38 is old and then do a double take when I realise that is my age...maybe a bit of early onset dementia going on..
    The worst part is that I actually have a good and interesting job in the health sector but the problem is afraid that this is it until I keel over.... Oh dear fact is I have an offer sort of and now actually have to do something about that. Life as a junior doctor can be rough and despite the public image does not in fact pay that much.. not that money should matter with with a massive student loan to pay off. so really not sure why I am still probably going to go for it, I think it is either very exciting or else I am subconsiously comitting career suicide! Maybe 25 is the right number because at that age you have not invested so much in to getting where you are already so giving it all up is a lot easier?
    Oh well...Vicky good luck to you very impressive with 2 children going to do medicine well done that is true comitment..
     
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  14. astronaut

    astronaut New Member

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    I constantly worry about this matmed. I'm 34 and I'm starting a GEP in September. I decided finally to take the plunge when I read some guidance on SGUL's website: something along the lines of "we would advise anyone over the age of 35 to seriously consider the implications of starting this career at this age". If I find the link I'll post it up.
     
  15. dotvicky

    dotvicky New Member

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    I think the bottom line is everyone will have their own reasons and their own cut-off points. I'm an ancient (!) 34 but I don't really feel that old. I also have the advantage of the sagas of pregnancy behind me and while parenthood isn't a walk in the park, I'm vaguely confident that it should be more predictable than the truly awful and complicated and difficult time we had getting the children.

    As for the money, I've been fortunate that I've earned plenty of money in my first career so have been able to pay off my mortgage already (as well as it affording me time to meet my husband, go travelling for a year and have children) so I'll have minimal debts coming out the other end. I think I'm very very lucky and very unusual, but I guess that's the point - us old farts are more likely to have a more varied background than those coming straight from school or even straight from a first degree and the decision on whether it's right to go into medicine has to be made on a case-by-case basis.

    Most of my peers can't think of anything worse than having to start again at the bottom and think I'm mad - I think most of them are mad to stay in a job that they're going to have to do for at least another 20 years that doesn't inspire them. Give me something difficult to do and while I'll moan and cry and question what the hell I'm doing at times, it'll also energise and excite me; I've handled a whole heap'o stress and difficulty in my life already and come out the other side smiling.

    So, to answer the original poster's question - I don't believe anyone can stick a specific number on it because people are all so very different. [cheese-alert]I sure that medicine will further encourage us to revel in the diversity of humanity and realise that there is rarely a one-size-fits-all answer to things![/cheese-alert]

    Cheers
    Vicky
     
    #15 dotvicky, Jul 1, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  16. Dr Amy

    Dr Amy New Member

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    Well said dotvicky, I couldn't agree more. When I left work to do Medicine, one of my collegues asked me what the point was as I would never make a consultant as I was too old (I'm 27!?). I later found out he had previously applied to do Medicine and was rejected...
    Even though the debts worry me as does being a Jr Doctor in 30s, I'd much rather be in that position then still doing my old job day in day out. How boring!
    Congrats on your Bristol offer!
     
  17. safis

    safis New Member

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    My uncle and his wife met at university both studied medicine in their country of origin but were forced to leave the country due to polical issues. Fast forward about five years, they live in Sweden and start medicine from scratch in a foreign language both in their 30's. Some people couldn't imagine reading medicine again let alone in a different language, but if you have the motivation and dedication then nothing will stop you from reaching that ulimate dream. Now in their early 50's both consultants with teenage children. It can be done I think. I will probably be 32/33/34/35 I start(if I am luck)y but to think the thought of being stuck in a job that makes me miserable for the next thirty actually frightens me to be honest.
     
  18. matmed1

    matmed1 New Member

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    SGUL Website: 'Applicants for all courses delivered at St George’s must be 18 years old on the start date of the course and we do not have an upper age limit. We do, however, advise applicants for medicine who are over the age of 35 to seriously consider the implications of starting a demanding career at this age. You should note that it takes a minimum of nine to 10 years to complete training in some medical specialities, and some specialities may be reluctant to allow a candidate who is very much older than is usual to begin that training.'http://www.sgul.ac.uk/studying-at-st-georges/how-to-apply-1/age-limits/?searchterm=age

    Oh well thanks Vicky agree it is the prospect of still doing what I am doing now in 20 years time (although my job if fine now) which is making me do this I love a challenge (although probably not this much!). I am fairly employable so should manage financially to some extent I am not married so do not have major comittments another reason for doning something as mad as this. Hope Bristol works out for you...
    Safis your relations managing to do medicine all over again in a different language in their 30s really puts my procrastination into perspective.
     
  19. dotvicky

    dotvicky New Member

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    Yes, it's all about getting that life balance between boring and stressful - think I may have tipped myself too far into the 'stressful' camp choosing medicine but we'll see! Ask me again just before finals or after 3 weeks of 1 in 2 shifts but I think I'd prefer a bit too much stress than a bit too much boredom.

    Cheers
    Vicky
     
  20. EvaA

    EvaA New Member

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    I think its very individual, depends what ppl expect from the course and how they see their future career. Im gonna be 30 when I start the course and I personally feel this was the last call for me as I wouldnt want to be older but I can easily understand that someone else might feel the same at the age of 38. But I agree with all of you, I just cant imagine staying at my current job for the next 30 yrs. Im in full time employment for slightly under 4 yrs now and have changed jobs 4 times already which is a bit ridicoulus. But as much as I enjoyed studying chemistry I just hate working as a chemist. So if someone feels the same the age doesnt matter as long as the person is motivated and 100% sure abt medicine.
     

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