Should I just forget about it?

Home Forums Thinking of a Becoming a Doctor Should I just forget about it?

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    I am a 39 yr old female who has always wanted to go to medical school. I have been thinking about it more and more now. I don’t know where to start at this point and feel I am too old now to go to school. I was pre-med in college and didn’t want to spend 8-10 yrs of my life in school. Back then that sounded like an eternity. However, if I had done that, I would be a doctor now. Is it tooo late now? If not any suggestions on where to start.



    You need to do a browse through this forum and you will soon find out that many of us are in our mid to late thirties, forties, and even fifities and applying and are being accepted. Age will not be a factor if *you* do not let it be a factor. When it boils down to it medical schools want the best future physicians regardless of age. Start by knowing for sure if this is something you are going to want and to know this volunteering in a local hospital will do the trick. Once you know stick to your plan and do not let anyone steer you away from it…Start one step at a time it may take two or three years before you apply unless you have all the pre-reqs…good luck.

    DO HopefulDO Hopeful

    Hi TJ,

    I’m 34 and just realized that I want to be a doctor. Since I was an English major in my undergrad days a looonnggg time ago, I have to complete my prereqs and take MCATs before applying to med school. By then I will be close to 40 myself. I was really worried at first about my age and starting “late.” After talking to a few friends (which was a mistake), I began to think that maybe I’m crazy for even thinking about going to med school. I won’t be finished until I’m almost 50! I even researched other areas that are in the medical field whose path of education would be shorter, but I truly believe that this is my “calling.” I’ve met a few women here at MomMD who are in similar situations. The support has been so great, especially because I know that I’m not alone . . . I’m not the only one crazy enough to pursue my dream! Good Luck!



    There’s a guy in my boyfriend’s class who started med school at 45. He decided in his 30s that he wanted to become a doctor, but he didn’t have a college degree. So, he went and got his degree and applied two or three times before being accepted, but there he is!

    If you want to do it, go for it!!


    Almost 32 and have applied to only one school. I will probably be a reapplicant next year – my MCAT is holding me back tremendously…..its great to hear I am not alone.


    I’m 39 as well and will be taking the MCAT in April. If accepted on the first run, I’ll enter medschool at the age of 41.

    One of the folks I spoke with early on in this decision was a woman who realized what she wanted to do at 38, took 2 years of fulltime pre-reqs (she was a chef), entered medschool at 40 or 41, and was finishing her residency in OB/GYN at 48.

    Check out the site “” and you will see a lot of late bloomers. There are a couple of ladies who started in their early 40’s.

    It’s certainly not too late.


    I will be 38 this month, and have applied to only one school as well, due to not wanting to move my family. It’s weird, but sometimes I look at the “stuff” of my life, DH, 3 kids, house, minivan… and just think… whose life is this anyway 😮 . Anyone know what I mean?? I really feel like I am still 19 years old and the world is mine for the picking. But my 38 year old legs might be a little wobbly up on the ladder now… :laughing:


    You all are such a comfort to me! I am almost 32, pregnant with my second child. I love my family, but still feel as if I haven’t done enough with my life. I don’t know where I went, what happened to the person I was at 22. I’m just starting my pre-reqs and hope to apply to medical school in 2-3 years. I just figured out that I want to be a doctor, and it’s such a relief!


    I say go for it!
    And don’t forget that it isn’t just being a doctor, the way to becoming a doctor is quite an adventure, one you may even enjoy. If I told you you would live
    10 years more than most people, would you do it?
    Good luck



    I’m 39 and I estimate that with my family obligations (5 kids who are currently homeschooled) and my refusal to take student loans (just yet) it will take me up to 6 years to finish my undergrad. If you are too old, then I am, too…. don’t do that to me (or the others like us…)! I have to believe that we are not too old or too behind. Please believe it with me. I am looking at my age and life experience as a plus, not a minus. I’m gonna be a heck of a doctor!

    So just start. Just start. That’s all. Just start.



    I wouldn’t say anyone is “too old” to go to medical school, but keep in mind that there’s more than medical school. After four years of medical school there’s a minimum of three years of residency. Depending on the specialty you pick you may be on call (working a 24-30 hour shift with little or no sleep) every 3rd, 4th or 5th night most of the year. I’m a resident in my early thirties and it really wears me out sometimes. Long nights, longs hours. Have you ever heard, in any other field, of having to limit you to ONLY working 80 hours a week and ONLY 30 hours a shift?!

    If you really want to do it and you feel it’s your calling, then I say go for it. But talk to some residents and docs about it and know what you’re going into. Once you invest several years of your life and close to a hundred thousand dollars it’s hard to change your mind. If I knew 8 years ago what I know now, I may have chosen a different path. I think in the end it will all be worth it, but it’s a tough few years.

    It’s also very important to make sure your family understands what you plan to undertake and that you have their support. People who don’t go through med school and residency (and some of us who do) have a hard time understanding the hours we work and that we have no control over our schedules most days. It can be hard on relationships, but many have endured it.



    This probably deserves a different topic, but do you mind giving me a few details on your situation? I am almost 32 and have a 2 year old and I’m pregnant with my second child. I really want to go to medical school and think I could enter in 2005 if I really push it, but more likely 2006, which would make me 34 or so when I start. How tough is your schedule on your child? My biggest concern is hurting my kids by pursuing my own goals, especially since I didn’t decide I wanted to do this until now. What is your schedule like as a resident? Do you get a day or two off each week?


    I say go for it if that is your passion. You will be able to separate the chafe from the wheat much better, and your life experience and people skills are a HUGE asset. I have taught with a number of physicians in their residency who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, two of whom were grandparents. I love working with people in their 30s and above. They have a different skill set, and have personal confidence.

    Medical schools and program directors seem to know this now. But you have to have the smarts, a willingness to learn, and the people skills to succeed and be happy during the process.

    It helps to have a clear picture of what you hope to do when you are a doctor. FP, pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, a specialty, etc. Where do you want to practice, and in what setting? Are you willing to move to do your residency? If not, this could be a big problem, especially if you don’t live in a metropolitan area. LA, NY, Philadelphia, SF Bay Area, Boston, not a problem. Minneapolis, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Portland, this could be a problem. North Dakota, Vermont, Maine, a BIG problem, if you cannot move your family. Flexibility is very helpful here.

    A last bit of food for thought: Eventually you are going to be 40, 50, 60 no matter what you do. Why not learn something marvelous and pursue your passion during your time on earth?


    I have yet to start medical school this year but I do know that you will be hard pressed to find a residency program that gives one/two days off per week that is practically impossible with 80hr workweeks. The poster above hit it right on the nail *make* sure that you do know what medicine will entail. As women we often want to have our cake and eat it too, well in medicine this will be extremely hard. As long as you go in with your eyes wide open you will be fine but never assume that you will have a “normal” schedule and be able to spend a lot of time with your family. Physicians on average even after residency work very long hours for patients will always get sick at the least expected times. I have shadowed a variety of physicians ranging from FP to surgery and they ALL work a lot period. So you are looking at anything from 60-80hr workweek depending on your specialty. I highly suggest that you shadow a variety of doctors and get a feel of what you are getting yourself into, also talk to as many docs as you can to include female physicians. Being a mother entails many many facets, in most cases women are the main caregivers of children and adding long hours at work to this will be very difficult…many female doctors that have expressed their feeling on this site regarding medicine have small children and are torn between being home for them and being there for their patients….


    Originally posted by mom2noah:
    After four years of medical school there’s a minimum of three years of residency. Depending on the specialty you pick you may be on call (working a 24-30 hour shift with little or no sleep) every 3rd, 4th or 5th night most of the year.

    Just one word………………pathology! Pathologist work decent hours(50-60 hours)and have little or no weekend work to do. They are also rarely on “call”. In other words, don’t “forget about it” just be realistic in your choice of speciality. Other good ones with decent hours include PM & R and derm although I wouldn’t want to have to deal with insurance and managed care “issues”.

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