When I was considering applying to medical school, a friend suggested I talk to his father, “Mr Goodstuff” who used to be a university admissions tutor. He wasn’t involved in admissions for medicine, but I jumped at the opportunity and spent time on the phone with him discussing how to stand out from the crowd (as if at my age I wouldn’t) and I emailed drafts to him to polish up my application.
I remember his exact words: “Don’t worry, we will get you into medical school” and I was genuinely reassured when he said them. It helped me gain the confidence to believe that at my stage in life it wasn’t such a crazy thing to do after all and I almost began believing that people were taking risks by quitting good jobs and applying to medicine all the time. Recently, my friend Goodstuff junior, told me that his father had actually been quite skeptical about my chances of success and was pleasantly surprised that I had got in! Insert facepalm here.
I have yet to properly thank Mr Goodstuff for helping me so for now at least – thank you! The other words I remember him saying were: “You’d better make it look like you’re not going through a mid-life crisis.” If I understand correctly, an applicant’s age is not shown on the application but if you’ve worked before and done other things, the medical schools could have a good guess from your previous experience and they’d certainly have more than an inkling at the interview stage when instead of a fresh-faced 18-year-old youngster, they would have homely me sitting in front of them.
I never realised that my application might be seen as a mid-life crisis and the phrase ‘middle-aged’ made me stop and think: “Wait, does that phrase actually apply to me?” What happened? Am I middle-aged? Well, perhaps not when I applied but now a little older, I suppose there’s no denying it. Like in the ER, when a patient receives the explanation that poor diet, lack of exercise and a gradual build up of cholesterol and plaque is causing them at that very moment to be having a heart attack – is medical school a manifestation of a mid-life crisis and I’m having one right now? Did I fail to recognise the biological signals telling me to shop for a new wardrobe, dye those grey hairs, find a lover 10-20 years younger and applied to medical school instead?
I don’t think so, but if this is a midlife crisis, it’s not too bad a crisis to have. I had my end of year examinations a few weeks ago, the results of which I found out recently. I passed the 4th year! So after the summer I’m on the home stretch. That impossible summit might just be reachable and I may actually become a doctor. Final year here I come!
Well, here I come, after perhaps: a blepharoplasty, a tummy-tuck, joining that gym…