32 year old lawyer considering a medicine degree at some point?

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boredlawyer
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I think the pandemic has really made me interested in medical science and has deepened my want to aid communities rather than what I'm currently doing - a lawyer for essentially an asset manager. I think I've grown up quite a bit the past few years into realising what some of my actual passions are, whereas before it was always studying for a means to an end.

I don't think I'd be personally in a position to do this for a few years though, and I'd like to gain some experience and really think it through. I've had to work as a means to pay the bills and to be able to afford a better lifestyle as I'm not from a background of wealth so financially it'd be a big decision for me. I'd somewhat just ended up doing a law degree and interviewed well enough to qualify as a solicitor a few years back.

A few questions, if anyone could help please?

1. What's the oldest person you've encountered on a medicine degree?

2. There appear to be zero real options for student loans or grants for someone taking another degree. Are there any Universities that offer grants/assistance specifically for older students that have already done one degree? It seems strange to me that still, the government doesn't incentivise students to take up the degree as a graduate. I've searched but not seen anything. So I'd need to essentially work enough and save enough to cover 5+ years of University.

3. I don't have any science A-Levels other than a Chemistry AS Level which it appears can't be 'carried forward' to a full A-Level, plus things seem to have changed in the structure of these things anyway. So the option seems to be doing an extra 'foundation' year. Instead of doing that, would it be possible for me to do a Biology and Chemistry A-Level 'on the side' i.e. just self-study over a few years and hopefully get good enough grades? I have AAA already but from subjects that probably don't really mean much for a Medicine degree (Business Studies, Law, Psychology). Or would it make more sense doing a foundation year?

4. Is there anyone here that has done this as an older student? How have you found getting back to studying? Was it difficult to adapt?

5. Any recommendations on what I can do to get some experience and more understanding of the degree? I'll look into open days, but I'd really like to find a way to get some sort of experience to be 'sure' of this decision. I'm volunteering randomly at a vaccine centre as a steward (which doesn't really count for much!) at the moment but I'll be looking into better ways to get a feel for the area.

Thanks a lot. I remember using TSR a lot over a decade ago so it's funny being back here, lost again! lol
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lyonbabe
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(Original post by boredlawyer)
I think the pandemic has really made me interested in medical science and has deepened my want to aid communities rather than what I'm currently doing - a lawyer for essentially an asset manager. I think I've grown up quite a bit the past few years into realising what some of my actual passions are, whereas before it was always studying for a means to an end.

I don't think I'd be personally in a position to do this for a few years though, and I'd like to gain some experience and really think it through. I've had to work as a means to pay the bills and to be able to afford a better lifestyle as I'm not from a background of wealth so financially it'd be a big decision for me. I'd somewhat just ended up doing a law degree and interviewed well enough to qualify as a solicitor a few years back.

A few questions, if anyone could help please?

1. What's the oldest person you've encountered on a medicine degree?

2. There appear to be zero real options for student loans or grants for someone taking another degree. Are there any Universities that offer grants/assistance specifically for older students that have already done one degree? It seems strange to me that still, the government doesn't incentivise students to take up the degree as a graduate. I've searched but not seen anything. So I'd need to essentially work enough and save enough to cover 5+ years of University.

3. I don't have any science A-Levels other than a Chemistry AS Level which it appears can't be 'carried forward' to a full A-Level, plus things seem to have changed in the structure of these things anyway. So the option seems to be doing an extra 'foundation' year. Instead of doing that, would it be possible for me to do a Biology and Chemistry A-Level 'on the side' i.e. just self-study over a few years and hopefully get good enough grades? I have AAA already but from subjects that probably don't really mean much for a Medicine degree (Business Studies, Law, Psychology). Or would it make more sense doing a foundation year?

4. Is there anyone here that has done this as an older student? How have you found getting back to studying? Was it difficult to adapt?

5. Any recommendations on what I can do to get some experience and more understanding of the degree? I'll look into open days, but I'd really like to find a way to get some sort of experience to be 'sure' of this decision. I'm volunteering randomly at a vaccine centre as a steward (which doesn't really count for much!) at the moment but I'll be looking into better ways to get a feel for the area.

Thanks a lot. I remember using TSR a lot over a decade ago so it's funny being back here, lost again! lol
One thing I would say about medicine, it's not something to pursue unless you absolutely can't live without it, and can't see yourself doing anything else.
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Nitebot
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(Original post by boredlawyer)
I think the pandemic has really made me interested in medical science and has deepened my want to aid communities rather than what I'm currently doing - a lawyer for essentially an asset manager. I think I've grown up quite a bit the past few years into realising what some of my actual passions are, whereas before it was always studying for a means to an end.

I don't think I'd be personally in a position to do this for a few years though, and I'd like to gain some experience and really think it through. I've had to work as a means to pay the bills and to be able to afford a better lifestyle as I'm not from a background of wealth so financially it'd be a big decision for me. I'd somewhat just ended up doing a law degree and interviewed well enough to qualify as a solicitor a few years back.

A few questions, if anyone could help please?

1. What's the oldest person you've encountered on a medicine degree?

2. There appear to be zero real options for student loans or grants for someone taking another degree. Are there any Universities that offer grants/assistance specifically for older students that have already done one degree? It seems strange to me that still, the government doesn't incentivise students to take up the degree as a graduate. I've searched but not seen anything. So I'd need to essentially work enough and save enough to cover 5+ years of University.

3. I don't have any science A-Levels other than a Chemistry AS Level which it appears can't be 'carried forward' to a full A-Level, plus things seem to have changed in the structure of these things anyway. So the option seems to be doing an extra 'foundation' year. Instead of doing that, would it be possible for me to do a Biology and Chemistry A-Level 'on the side' i.e. just self-study over a few years and hopefully get good enough grades? I have AAA already but from subjects that probably don't really mean much for a Medicine degree (Business Studies, Law, Psychology). Or would it make more sense doing a foundation year?

4. Is there anyone here that has done this as an older student? How have you found getting back to studying? Was it difficult to adapt?

5. Any recommendations on what I can do to get some experience and more understanding of the degree? I'll look into open days, but I'd really like to find a way to get some sort of experience to be 'sure' of this decision. I'm volunteering randomly at a vaccine centre as a steward (which doesn't really count for much!) at the moment but I'll be looking into better ways to get a feel for the area.

Thanks a lot. I remember using TSR a lot over a decade ago so it's funny being back here, lost again! lol
It would be good if things like this were possible but I think the problem you may have is that medicine is such a competitive field that there isn't really the need for the government/profession to set up systems to allow people wanting to do a latish career change from a non-scientific background. Having said that the government is looking into a medical apprenticeship scheme but I'm assuming that it's not aimed at graduates/professionals. Discussion here. It's probably a case of starting from scratch with science A levels and hoping!
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artful_lounger
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Hi, I've moved your thread to the medicine forum but left a link in the mature students forum as well

Hopefully some current/former medics can answer your questions and/or provide some insight into doing medicine as a mature student!

Some basic information that might be helpful though:

If you already hold a degree there are two potential options for earning a primary medical qualification: 1) there are accelerated graduate entry medicine (GEM) courses which are 4 years long, several of which accept any degree subject for your first degree, only open to graduates and 2) standard entry medicine which is a 5-6 year course applied to by school leavers and graduates. GEM tends to be a fair bit more competitive than standard entry medicine though.

In terms of financing, medicine is an exception subject so there is some funding from SFE available to pursue medicine as a second degree. Exactly what and how much depends on whether you are doing GEM or standard entry medicine. For GEM you should receive a maintenance loan in your first year, and partial tuition fee loan - you have to pay the first ~£3000 of the tuition fees yourself (although you could of course use some of the maintenance loan for that purpose). For standard entry medicine there is less funding available; for the preclinical years of the course (the first 3 or 4 years, I think it's 4 but not entirely sure) you are entitled only to a maintenance loan and have to self fund tuition fees. You could use the maintenance loan to pay the tuition fees if you agree a payment plan coinciding with the disbursement dates of the maintenance loan with your uni, and then support yourself with other sources of funding (e.g. work, savings, if you own property that might make things easier). In both cases for the clinical years (years 2-4 of GEM and I believe 5-6 of standard entry medicine) you will be funded by the NHS which is separate to SFE funding, and they will pay tuition fees and award a bursary I believe for those years.

In terms of entry requirements it might vary a bit depending on whether you apply to GEM or standard entry medicine and which GEM courses you do apply to if you go for that route. Some GEM courses have no requirements in terms of degree subject and I believe some do not require any particular A-levels, but instead require you take the GAMSAT which is I gather a very difficult exam covering material from A-level Biology/Chemistry/Physics and beyond (particularly I think the chemistry section extends to first year uni level chemistry). Others may require you take one or two A-levels at least in relevant science subjects, or equivalent - such as an Access to Medicine course. Note that "medicine with a foundation year" courses are normally only open to those meeting specified widening access criteria/contextual flags. The course for those with the "wrong" A-levels is "medicine with a gateway year".

However note also that since your A-levels were presumably taken some time ago, universities would generally probably expect to see some recent academic study (in the last three years typically). This could be satisfied by doing A-levels, an Access to Medicine course, or some OU credits. For the A-level route you could look into various distance learning providers, but be aware that medical schools generally (not currently due to covid) require the science endorsement i.e. that practicals to be taken. I gather it can be hard finding an exam centre that allows you to take these practicals and that they can be expensive as well. You may be able to get A-levels funded by an Advanced Learner Loan, but it depends on the provider. It's unclear whether the ALL covers the science endorsement as well.

The Access to Medicine route might be more straightforward in some respects, being a 1 year intensive course to prepare for applying to medicine (or dentistry/vet med sometimes), which can also be funded by an ALL (and as an Access course, if you subsequently complete a degree the ALL should be written off - although as it's a second degree, I'm not too sure). Note however not all medical schools accept all Access to Medicine courses. So if you are considering that route you should contact the medical schools you wish to apply to with details of the Access to Medicine course you are considering, including the provider of the course and the course units undertaken. Medical schools sometimes publish a list of acceptable Access to Medicine courses on their websites.

The OU option is less clear, and you should contact any medical schools to see if they would accept OU credits for entry, and if so if there are specific required modules you would need to take. I believe KCL accepts OU credits and lists the number of credits and modules expected on their entry requirements section.

Note also usually medical/caring work experience is essential for applying to medicine. Some GEM courses require quite extensive work experience in the NHS (I think one used to require ~6 months of full time work as a HCA or equivalent), and some Access to Medicine courses likewise expect you to have already gained relevant medical work experience before starting the course.

In terms of age I gather it's not uncommon to have older students studying medicine; by necessity all on GEM courses will have a degree and be usually 21 or older. Because GEM courses are quite competitive and it may take a couple of years of applying to get in, I gather the median age is usually a bit higher anyway.
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Nitebot
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That was some good info artful_lounger. It looks like that it's more of a possibility than I thought but I was probably right about the complete non science background making things tricky. I did maths and physics A levels long ago with mixed results but when I had a second go at science by way of the OU, it was a real struggle just to get a half decent mark with some parts of the Level 1 and Level 2 modules.
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nexttime
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(Original post by boredlawyer)
I think the pandemic has really made me interested in medical science...
You and everyone else

1. What's the oldest person you've encountered on a medicine degree?
About 35 I think.

However, I've heard on TSR of people in their 50s.

4. Is there anyone here that has done this as an older student? How have you found getting back to studying? Was it difficult to adapt?
There is that aspect.

There is also being a junior doctor in your 40s or 50s. Your rota can easily be something like 9-6 Mon-Weds, 9am-9pm Thurs, then switch to nights doing 9pm-9am from Friday night finishing your 3rd night 9am Monday morning, then expected to be back at 9am Tuesday again. So 2x12 hours jetlag within a 4 day period. All with 12-14 hour days, but that's not what gets you - its that rapid switch back and forth from days to nights. Hard when you're young, harder when you aren't!

Obviously weekends and restricted leave patterns (so you can't necessarily take it when you want) might be novel for you too.

5. Any recommendations on what I can do to get some experience and more understanding of the degree? I'll look into open days, but I'd really like to find a way to get some sort of experience to be 'sure' of this decision. I'm volunteering randomly at a vaccine centre as a steward (which doesn't really count for much!) at the moment but I'll be looking into better ways to get a feel for the area.
As with anything, I think its about talking to as many people as possible. One opinion is good, but not as good as 10 or 50. A good way of doing this is work experience of course, which should be F2F again after the pandemic. And of course observing what things can be like for yourself is also very useful, though you'll likely only get a tiny sample from one or two different wards.

Most hospitals these days do have some kind of work experience coordinator to contact, though where that isn't the case just trying to contact clinicians directly is often attempted.

(Original post by lyonbabe)
One thing I would say about medicine, it's not something to pursue unless you absolutely can't live without it, and can't see yourself doing anything else.
I think that's a big strong. You can have doubts, but its a huge undertaking and you need to be certain its your best path forward.
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mispelt
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The Medic Portal is a great resource for researching all the stats etc for different degree options (i.e. GEM). I’d suggest looking through it and familiarising yourself with the schools, requirements etc.

As someone who’s spending quite a bit more money now to pursue GEM, I feel that one major thing to keep in mind is just; truly decide if you want to commit. If you do, there’s days to months of research for entrance exams, interviews, personal statements (don’t get me started on references). Then four years of intensive study; I am going into this knowing that I will be nearly at my wits end exiting the degree. The real life job is also not any less relenting.

Go get experience before you decide on anything. See the job, maybe look over the GAMSAT materials etc and see if you want to commit. It’s definitely feasible. But it’s not easy.
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AF2Dr
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(Original post by lyonbabe)
One thing I would say about medicine, it's not something to pursue unless you absolutely can't live without it, and can't see yourself doing anything else.
I would disagree with that.
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GANFYD
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Hi, I've moved your thread to the medicine forum but left a link in the mature students forum as well

Hopefully some current/former medics can answer your questions and/or provide some insight into doing medicine as a mature student!

Some basic information that might be helpful though:

If you already hold a degree there are two potential options for earning a primary medical qualification: 1) there are accelerated graduate entry medicine (GEM) courses which are 4 years long, several of which accept any degree subject for your first degree, only open to graduates and 2) standard entry medicine which is a 5-6 year course applied to by school leavers and graduates. GEM tends to be a fair bit more competitive than standard entry medicine though.

In terms of financing, medicine is an exception subject so there is some funding from SFE available to pursue medicine as a second degree. Exactly what and how much depends on whether you are doing GEM or standard entry medicine. For GEM you should receive a maintenance loan in your first year, and partial tuition fee loan - you have to pay the first ~£3000 of the tuition fees yourself (although you could of course use some of the maintenance loan for that purpose). For standard entry medicine there is less funding available; for the preclinical years of the course (the first 3 or 4 years, I think it's 4 but not entirely sure) you are entitled only to a maintenance loan and have to self fund tuition fees. You could use the maintenance loan to pay the tuition fees if you agree a payment plan coinciding with the disbursement dates of the maintenance loan with your uni, and then support yourself with other sources of funding (e.g. work, savings, if you own property that might make things easier). In both cases for the clinical years (years 2-4 of GEM and I believe 5-6 of standard entry medicine) you will be funded by the NHS which is separate to SFE funding, and they will pay tuition fees and award a bursary I believe for those years.

In terms of entry requirements it might vary a bit depending on whether you apply to GEM or standard entry medicine and which GEM courses you do apply to if you go for that route. Some GEM courses have no requirements in terms of degree subject and I believe some do not require any particular A-levels, but instead require you take the GAMSAT which is I gather a very difficult exam covering material from A-level Biology/Chemistry/Physics and beyond (particularly I think the chemistry section extends to first year uni level chemistry). Others may require you take one or two A-levels at least in relevant science subjects, or equivalent - such as an Access to Medicine course. Note that "medicine with a foundation year" courses are normally only open to those meeting specified widening access criteria/contextual flags. The course for those with the "wrong" A-levels is "medicine with a gateway year".

However note also that since your A-levels were presumably taken some time ago, universities would generally probably expect to see some recent academic study (in the last three years typically). This could be satisfied by doing A-levels, an Access to Medicine course, or some OU credits. For the A-level route you could look into various distance learning providers, but be aware that medical schools generally (not currently due to covid) require the science endorsement i.e. that practicals to be taken. I gather it can be hard finding an exam centre that allows you to take these practicals and that they can be expensive as well. You may be able to get A-levels funded by an Advanced Learner Loan, but it depends on the provider. It's unclear whether the ALL covers the science endorsement as well.

The Access to Medicine route might be more straightforward in some respects, being a 1 year intensive course to prepare for applying to medicine (or dentistry/vet med sometimes), which can also be funded by an ALL (and as an Access course, if you subsequently complete a degree the ALL should be written off - although as it's a second degree, I'm not too sure). Note however not all medical schools accept all Access to Medicine courses. So if you are considering that route you should contact the medical schools you wish to apply to with details of the Access to Medicine course you are considering, including the provider of the course and the course units undertaken. Medical schools sometimes publish a list of acceptable Access to Medicine courses on their websites.

The OU option is less clear, and you should contact any medical schools to see if they would accept OU credits for entry, and if so if there are specific required modules you would need to take. I believe KCL accepts OU credits and lists the number of credits and modules expected on their entry requirements section.

Note also usually medical/caring work experience is essential for applying to medicine. Some GEM courses require quite extensive work experience in the NHS (I think one used to require ~6 months of full time work as a HCA or equivalent), and some Access to Medicine courses likewise expect you to have already gained relevant medical work experience before starting the course.

In terms of age I gather it's not uncommon to have older students studying medicine; by necessity all on GEM courses will have a degree and be usually 21 or older. Because GEM courses are quite competitive and it may take a couple of years of applying to get in, I gather the median age is usually a bit higher anyway.
You have picked up a lot along the way, excellent post!

The only thing I would say is that a lot of Access Courses will not accept grads. They are there to try and widen participation, and having made it to uni once, that need is seen as less. Med schools also may well not accept an Access Course over a degree, in the same way they will not ignore a 2:2 and look at A level s- if you have a qualification, it needs to meet requirements, and if it doe (just a 2:1 in any subject for some places), nothing furthe is needed.

boredlawyer with a non-bioscience degree and no science A levels, you have Warwick, Southampton and Newcastle as UCAT med schools and Swansea, SGUL and Nottingham as GAMSAT ones, for GEM (which is the funded one).
Paying your own fees at A100 actually tends to mean stricter A level requirements, though a couple will let you in without sciences, if you have good grades in other subjects.
No need for a Foundation Year, as med schools are quite used to pulling grads from all walks of life up to speed - but if you do GAMSAT, you will have learned a lot of science anyways!
Work experience is the way forward here - contact as many places as you can and see if you can volunteer/shadow/do something which will put you in contact with Dr you can hopefully chat to
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lyonbabe
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(Original post by AF2Dr)
I would disagree with that.
I think as an adult learner it's an important factor that will drive you through your studies.
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boredlawyer
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I am truly, truly grateful for each and every one of your responses, this forum was so useful to me as a student before it's great to see that it's still providing some amazing advice to this day.

I am going to start with looking at GAMSAT materials to get a feel for the content and seeing where I can arrange work experience. Feel like the work experience may be a little tricky with the pandemic but fingers crossed. Looking back to school I enjoyed science subjects and it's a shame I didn't go to a school or sixth form that had good teachers in those areas as it may have triggered this light in me a lot earlier.

I'm sure I'll be back with more random questions soon! <3
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jzdzm
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(Original post by boredlawyer)
I am truly, truly grateful for each and every one of your responses, this forum was so useful to me as a student before it's great to see that it's still providing some amazing advice to this day.

I am going to start with looking at GAMSAT materials to get a feel for the content and seeing where I can arrange work experience. Feel like the work experience may be a little tricky with the pandemic but fingers crossed. Looking back to school I enjoyed science subjects and it's a shame I didn't go to a school or sixth form that had good teachers in those areas as it may have triggered this light in me a lot earlier.

I'm sure I'll be back with more random questions soon! <3
A lot of questions are likely to have been asked and answered already, do have a browse of these threads:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6100344 for general GEM discussion
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6429934 for GAMSAT discussion
and of course ask when there's other questions!

Re your oldest person question, there is a person in their late 50s on my course. However they have struggled a lot and I believe they have now dropped out. The next oldest person is late 30s, will be early 40s on graduation, and I'm slightly younger (will graduate at 38). Both of us have been progressing fine.
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micholate9
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Hey, it seems like other users have given you some pretty good advice. I'm just here to say that I have decided to change career from finance to medicine and will be applying for 2022 entry. I won't give away my age on here , but I graduated more than 5 years ago...feel free to private message me if you have any specific questions!
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I am 42 with 2 kids and just found out I passed 2nd year 🎉 Was a teacher for 20 years before med school (on a 5yr undergrad course)….
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(Original post by worryguts33)
I am 42 with 2 kids and just found out I passed 2nd year 🎉 Was a teacher for 20 years before med school (on a 5yr undergrad course)….
Well done! Teacher to doctor - that's got to be rare career change!! Isn't it just more stress?
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Lots of excellent advice here but just wanted to add my own experiences as a grad on an accelerated 4-year GEM course. Our oldest was mid-30s when we started and I was definitely one of the youngest at 22. Lots had come from professional backgrounds and had "other lives" before coming to medical school. While I can't speak for them on how they found the transition, I can tell you that they all passed with flying colours and there was no difference in terms of exam score by the end of first year between them and people like me who came straight from studying another degree.

In terms of getting a place, there's quite a few GEM courses that have zero A-level requirements as long as you have a 2.1 in your degree. I'd recommend looking into Southampton, Newcastle and Warwick who all require the UCAT exam. If you're looking at taking the GAMSAT, which would require you to do some science, Swansea and St Georges also don't mind having non-science A-levels. If you have any questions about the Southampton course at all would happy to help best of luck with it

Anna
Southampton Y3 GEM
Medic Mind
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micholate9
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(Original post by worryguts33)
I am 42 with 2 kids and just found out I passed 2nd year 🎉 Was a teacher for 20 years before med school (on a 5yr undergrad course)….
This is fantastic! Well done on passing 2nd year! Can I ask which uni you ended up going to?
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