{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m a LCSW, have been working in mental health for 10 years, and have a job that enables HRSA to pay off my student loans. I really want to go back to medical school to be a psychiatrist. I’d like to pay my student loans off before taking on more debt but worry I will be way too old to go back since I already feel way too old at 38 to do it. Has anyone over the age of 35 gone back to med school? What were your challenges? Was it worth it?", "post_id": "6247334f3ac9ba002b6d1bb0", "reply_count": 14, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5e77c585cba148001ab93ed9", "bowl_name": "Healthcare", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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I’m a LCSW, have been working in mental health for 10 years, and have a job that enables HRSA to pay off my student loans. I really want to go back to medical school to be a psychiatrist. I’d like to pay my student loans off before taking on more debt but worry I will be way too old to go back since I already feel way too old at 38 to do it. Has anyone over the age of 35 gone back to med school? What were your challenges? Was it worth it?

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I have a cousin who did it but she went to NYU and the psychiatrist program there was only 3 years. They expedited the residency too because of the shortage and I think she got a bunch of scholarships that offset her loans. If something you want to do, go for it! Age is just a construct, don't let it determine your decisions

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Me! I decided to make a complete career change at age 37 and become a nurse. My biggest challenges involved balancing my personal responsibilities (home, marriage, family, bills, etc.) with my studies. It wasn't easy, but it made the accomplishment so much sweeter. If this is something you want to do, I'd say go for it!

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During my grad school program, I met many people over 35. Many of them are not in their Ph.D. programs. Don’t let your age stop you from setting goals or doing something new. Also, your experience working in the mental health field will be useful.

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Agreed, don't let age stop you!! We all take different paths in life and you'll find that in higher studies like grad school etc, age becomes less of a factor. It's our undergrad thinking that stops us!

I would say go for it and don't put it off for too long. Everything I have ever witnessed tells me that medical school is exhausting. At 40, it's probably manageable. At 50, I wouldn't even suggest attempting it.

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You may have to take your prerequisites over again, depending on how long ago you took them. Do you feel ready to study for the MCAT?

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Yes, that’s my concern is that I took all of my maths and sciences at the very beginning of my undergraduate career which was in 2002. I will have to retake them all, which has posed a challenge since I am considered non-degree seeking and I have to beg professors to get into classes.

I think the career path you've chosen involves lifelong learning anyway. If you really want to be a psychiatrist, go for it. they say you'll turn 40 or 50 anyway, why not be a lawyer/doctor/psychiatrist by then?

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I haven’t thought of it that way. Thank you!

What are *your concerns about it? I think the challenge would be whether or not you'd want to finish the course. I've had classmates in Medical School who were older than my age group. They were the more driven ones, probably because they knew they wanted to become a doctor. If you think you can sustain the grit and the drive, then you'll be fine.

My concerns are that I won’t be able to keep up with 20 something’s physically or that I will be overlooked because of my age. I also have concerns that my math/science part of my brain is rusty given that I graduated from undergraduate in 2007 and none of my graduate school programs used math save a few research courses. I feel very driven to do this though.

Never ever let your age be in the way of your dreams! I do understand where you are coming from though. Medical school is a big investment. I know someone who worked as a nurse for 10 years and went back to med school at 35. Now she's a psychiatrist :)

Don't ponder too long on this goal, just do it. I believe that you would make an excellent psychiatrist.

When we were children we never thought “how long is this going to take me to learn, am I too old?, I feel old”. We identified something we wanted to do and would try and try and try until we accomplished it. How many times do we literally fall on our ass before we learn how to walk? This can be accomplished, you definitely can do it and not too old. I think the main question is if it's a practical goal; is it worth the time, stress, and money?

If you're concerned you're going to be in school for too long, you might want to explore becoming an Psychiatry Nurse Practitioner. NP's are advance practice nurses, you can earn a Masters or a Doctorate (DNP) and in some states, after meeting certain practice requirements you can practice independently without physician supervision.

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