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What are the disadvantages of starting an undergraduate medical degree at 23/24 y/o? Watch

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    In secondary school, I was pretty keen on studying Medicine. I achieved AAAAA in my Scottish Highers (roughly the equivalent of AS) in 2013 (which is the necessary entry requirements for Scottish medical schools) but due to a number of issues in my personal life, I ended up not applying to university and dropping out of school in my final year. I won't go into too much detail but I was in a bit of a depressive rut for a while and any real career aspirations that I had took a back seat.

    Thankfully, now at the age of 21, things are looking up for me and I'm starting to seriously consider pursuing what I originally wanted to do. The thing is, a lot of medical schools now consider my exam results "out of date" as they tend to specify that you should have achieved them within the last 3 years. I also have to sit the equivalent of A2 examinations, get work experience, voluntary work and prepare for the UKCAT. Given that I haven't actually done any academic studying in about four years, if I want to be competitive, I'm realistically looking at applying at the age of 23 and beginning a 5-6 year course at the age of 24.

    So the question I have is quite simply, are there any genuine disadvantages to beginning a medical degree at this age compared to at the age of 18? I realize that it's nothing like starting at the age of, say, 45, but the people I'm going to be competing with throughout my career are going to have 5-6 years on me.

    I have always been extremely interested in surgery. I know this sounds ridiculous given how far away it is, but considering how competitive these areas are, will I be at a disadvantage when it comes to getting into specialist training and becoming a consultant later on in my career? I'm going to be about 29/30 when I graduate and 31-32 when I apply to do specialist training. Is that young, average or old for an ST1?

    I suppose I also have to take into account that I'll be on a relatively small salary for my age until I reach my mid-thirties. Although I'm a guy and have no intention of getting married or having children until I'm 35-45, so that's not too much of an issue.

    Thanks for any input/information. Please be as brutally honest as possible.
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    Literally no difference. Age ranges at all grades vary wildly.
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    (Original post by Etomidate)
    Literally no difference. Age ranges at all grades vary wildly.
    In undergraduate medical degrees, are there a lot of first years who are in their twenties?
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    (Original post by TSRDummyAccount)
    In undergraduate medical degrees, are there a lot of first years who are in their twenties?
    Yeah of course there are. And as you progress, any difference in age soon evaporates into insignificance.
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    (Original post by TSRDummyAccount)
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    Nothing. You sound a lot more clued up than a lot of school leavers that turn up on TSR lol. People go into medicine at age 18, and also at age 40. It's the kind of study and career that isn't really restricted by age (obviously the older you get though the shorted your career may be if you go into some specialities but that is irrelevant). It's also said that people who go down the path when they are older tend to bring the 'life experience' advantage to the clinical setting.

    I wish you the best of luck
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    As above really, there are a lot of grad entries on my course who I didn't even know were grad entries until they told me, so you'd fit in no problem
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    Go for it, if medicine is what you want? If you decide to apply and achieve a place in medicine, you would still have 35-40 years of working life ahead of you. I personally would rather spend 30 years of my life working in a field I am passionate about, rather than spending 40 years of my life working as a depressed drone in a field I do not enjoy.

    You have plenty of time to work hard later in your life (and earn money, as it seems to be a factor for you). Studying medicine in university is also hard, but a few years is nothing in your life. Preferably make the decision now, rather than wake up wondering after 30 years what your life would have been IF...
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    (Original post by Science Fiction)
    Go for it, if medicine is what you want? If you decide to apply and achieve a place in medicine, you would still have 35-40 years of working life ahead of you. I personally would rather spend 30 years of my life working in a field I am passionate about, rather than spending 40 years of my life working as a depressed drone in a field I do not enjoy.

    You have plenty of time to work hard later in your life (and earn money, as it seems to be a factor for you). Studying medicine in university is also hard, but a few years is nothing in your life. Preferably make the decision now, rather than wake up wondering after 30 years what your life would have been IF...
    Assuming I got into medical school, do you think that being around five years older than the school-leavers on my course would have any real implications? Would people even be able to tell or are the majority of medical students roughly around their early-to-mid twenties?

    Also, do you think that being a little bit older would make any specializations off-limits for me later down the road?
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    I started at 23 and loads of others in my year are similar or older. People always seem so surprised that I’m a grad & even more so that I worked after graduating 😂

    There’s no difference. You might find it harder at the start to get back into “school” mode but it works in the end.

    As for career, nothing is off limits! You might find that once you hit F2 you mightn’t want to be a surgeon etc. And would prefer a run through post but that’s not normally due to age lol.
    I’ll graduate (fingers crossed) when I’m 28 - which is a much better age imo than 23, i know at 23 i would have found the job very daunting then!!
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    I'm at King's and there are about 60-80 grads on our undergrad course. I'm not sure how many non-grad mature students there are but I've met a few.

    Most of them tend to be quite clique-ish but to me it seems to be because they have chosen to mainly socialise with each other. Most of those who do socialise with school-leavers seem to fit in well - nobody really cares about your age at university.
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    (Original post by StationToStation)
    I'm at King's and there are about 60-80 grads on our undergrad course. I'm not sure how many non-grad mature students there are but I've met a few.

    Most of them tend to be quite clique-ish but to me it seems to be because they have chosen to mainly socialise with each other. Most of those who do socialise with school-leavers seem to fit in well - nobody really cares about your age at university.
    Of the non-grad mature students that you've met, were most in there twenties? Or are you talking 30/40+ year olds?
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    (Original post by ahorey)
    I started at 23 and loads of others in my year are similar or older. People always seem so surprised that I’m a grad & even more so that I worked after graduating 😂

    There’s no difference. You might find it harder at the start to get back into “school” mode but it works in the end.

    As for career, nothing is off limits! You might find that once you hit F2 you mightn’t want to be a surgeon etc. And would prefer a run through post but that’s not normally due to age lol.
    I’ll graduate (fingers crossed) when I’m 28 - which is a much better age imo than 23, i know at 23 i would have found the job very daunting then!!
    Yes, I think there might be some genuine benefits to starting a little bit later. I certainly feel as if I'm more mature and well informed now than I was when I was 18. I'll also have the advantage of being over the bulk of my "partying/going-out" phase.

    You're doing the grad course, aren't you? What was your undergrad degree in? I'll be a mature non-grad student so my course would be 5-6 years as opposed to 4.
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    I am a graduate (we will be next year) and will be starting Medicine (probably in Poland or Czech Republic).

    You are at an advantage! Life experience makes you focus on your studies more seriously than many students who have been spoon fed straight from A-level.

    Go for it!!!
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    It does depend on med school. At Oxford almost everyone is 18-19 when starting, but it is much more common elsewhere as pointed out above.

    You will probably be at an advantage in that you have more life experience and you already have a lot more independence. Having to make your own food and wash your own clothes isn't a total novelty like it is for many med students. There aren't really any other differences. Age will be a consideration at all unis, but we're talking once you get to the 50ish mark, not 20s.

    Socially, you may notice a difference though. Combined with that independence comes a maturity that will be lacking in many of your younger colleagues, who will party like they've never had alcohol before... largely because they've never had alcohol before. It will depend on your personality how much that bothers you and and after first year such differences largely equalise
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    (Original post by TSRDummyAccount)
    Of the non-grad mature students that you've met, were most in there twenties? Or are you talking 30/40+ year olds?
    Most in their 20s but one is 30ish. I've also met a few grads in their 30s with families and stuff and while they (understandably) don't e.g. go out clubbing with us we do chat with each other and sometimes sit together in lectures etc just like with everyone else. I really wouldn't worry about the age thing!
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    (Original post by TSRDummyAccount)
    Yes, I think there might be some genuine benefits to starting a little bit later. I certainly feel as if I'm more mature and well informed now than I was when I was 18. I'll also have the advantage of being over the bulk of my "partying/going-out" phase.

    You're doing the grad course, aren't you? What was your undergrad degree in? I'll be a mature non-grad student so my course would be 5-6 years as opposed to 4.
    Nope, I’m a grad on an undergrad course, in Belfast. Because I’m a NI resident my fees are still only 4K (started at 3.5 but has been increasing each year went up to 4) so there are a lot of graduates doing it here as although an extra year it saves so much money! Eg. 4 years grad of 9k is 36k whereas 5 years of say 4K is 20k debt - huge difference!

    There are loads of grads from all stages, there is a barrister currently in final year and a dentist in 4th year Med, as well as the standard biomed/human biology ones. Belfast is fond of grads, I’d say there’s about 100 in a year of 260.

    There are less mature non-grads, but there are a some. I’m not sure what the entry requirements are though sorry. But no one cares about age, don’t worry!
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    Makes no difference whatsoever. If anything it is an advantage. And most of all - who cares what other people think? If medicine is what you want then do it.
 
 
 
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