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At what point do you realize medicine's not right for you?

cydron47

Full Member
Jun 13, 2020
24
5
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  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I know this might not be the right forum for this, but I'm interested in your takes on this. For example, I'm thinking of someone I know -- a family friend. She really wanted to do computer engineering, but her dad insisted on medicine and, after some degree of crying/sadness, she accepted it. Now she's happy. What's the general rule here? How do/did you guys feel as pre-meds?
 
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HKSZYU

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2+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2017
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  1. Dental Student
I was pretty undecided between medicine and dentistry, to the point that I took both MCAT and DAT. I'm a career changer and I received some really good career advice from an old colleague. He said some people live to work, and some people work to live. I realized I was in the latter category, and I felt like dentistry was more aligned with this.

There's a post I read on a forum several years ago, but I still return to it, whenever I'm feeling uneasy in my career choice:
There are other jobs with stability, and someone with your background and smarts could do a lot of good and get far. And I know you've heard it all before but I hope some simple truth will resonate for you in this: What you do for the rest of your life is about more than an inflated paycheck and a cool epithet. What do you wanna be when you grow up, a doctor, or happy?

That's not to say that you can't find balance and happiness in medicine, but medicine requires a lot of sacrifices. I didn't want to sacrifice time with my family. I didn't want to sacrifice traveling. I didn't want to do a residency and work 80 hours a week. I just didn't think a job, even one as cool as medicine, was worth that for me personally. So instead I explored dental and PA routes. I think it will still give me a lot of the things about medicine that excite me with fewer sacrifices.
 
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A_Knowbody

Full Member
Feb 27, 2020
69
124
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  1. Medical Student
I'll approach this a little differently - describing how I discovered medicine WAS right for me.

I entered college unsure what I wanted to pursue. I explored business, economics, computer science, chemical engineering, and pre-vet. Only after this did I stumble into medicine (in my 3rd year of UG) and find the field that fit me. I think having such breadth of exploration aided in my ultimate decision to pursue medicine. I knew what I was looking for in my career and had points of references of things I liked and didn't like in other fields. No field is perfect. There's pros and cons in everything.

Your goal should be to find the field that balances these in a way that will make you most happy. I will say, I could see myself happy and satisfied in most of the careers I explored. But I felt that medicine would make me the MOST happy. When thinking about your friend, the question isn't whether or not she is happy as a physician, but whether she'd be happier as a computer engineer. You don't want to have regrets.

As far as my pre-med experience, switching late gave me a different perspective. I remember meeting pre-meds my first year and I did not click with many of them. I didn't like the intense focus on academics, as many of those I met seemed to integrate this heavily into their identities. It was stressful being around them - always talking about studying, scores, grades, etc. You can succeed academically without doing this. I preferred my friends from previous majors who were able to detach from the schoolwork and enjoy hobbies and activities away from scholastic endeavors. Certainly there are people in medicine like this, but I think the intense competition and academic requirements does often lead to overly identifying with ones academic self.
 
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cydron47

Full Member
Jun 13, 2020
24
5
11
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I was pretty undecided between medicine and dentistry, to the point that I took both MCAT and DAT. I'm a career changer and I received some really good career advice from an old colleague. He said some people live to work, and some people work to live. I realized I was in the latter category, and I felt like dentistry was more aligned with this.

There's a post I read on a forum several years ago, but I still return to it, whenever I'm feeling uneasy in my career choice:


That's not to say that you can't find balance and happiness in medicine, but medicine requires a lot of sacrifices. I didn't want to sacrifice time with my family. I didn't want to sacrifice traveling. I didn't want to do a residency and work 80 hours a week. I just didn't think a job, even one as cool as medicine, was worth that for me personally. So instead I explored dental and PA routes. I think it will still give me a lot of the things about medicine that excite me with fewer sacrifices.

Hmm, that’s a good outlook! ive been considering dentistry personally...I’m not a super hands on person though. do you/are you planning to run a practice, or how does that work exactly?
 
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HKSZYU

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2017
130
248
116
  1. Dental Student
Hmm, that’s a good outlook! ive been considering dentistry personally...I’m not a super hands on person though. do you/are you planning to run a practice, or how does that work exactly?

Private practice still makes up the majority of dental jobs (although corporate jobs are becoming increasingly common.) Some people will buy a practice right out of school. Most people will either work for a corporation or as an associate for a few years to gain experience and financial capital before purchasing their own practice.

I plan to likely do a corp or associate gig right out of school, then purchase a practice. While there are additional headaches that come with practice ownership, there is also a degree of freedom that comes with being your own boss that I'm looking forward to.
 
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