canmed96

2+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2016
69
13
Status
Medical Student
It's not the cost of med school, or the educational expectations that scare me, it's the time. Medicine is obviously a long road and the last thing I want is to be far along and realize that this isn't what i want to do.

I enjoy most aspects of medicine (that i'm aware of) but ever so often i'll see a story on here or somewhere else about how torturous the med school struggle is or the grueling work of residency and low compensation for it. Or worse yet, how some people are feeling like they're giving up their whole life to become a doctor and having a lack of personal life and it doesn't even feel like its worth it.

I am still premed so am i worrying about these things prematurely or should you be looking forward to this stuff from the get-go?
I know people have recommended shadowing to get to the bottom of this but i doubt physicians would be willing to share facts about their personal life/sacrifices to some kid.

And truth be told, i'm no saint and my only motivation for going into medicine isn't helping people. Even though that's a huge part of it, i say i want to be a doctor because it's the only thing i know. I'm good at some of the things that get you there, and lacking in others. I just don't see myself fitting into any other career. And judge me if you must, but i do want the prestige and the money and pride that comes from being a doctor on top of the ability to help others. But i know i can't even get to med school if i'm not fully commited to it and constantly questioning whether i want to do it or not.

So i guess my question is, how do i stop worrying about these things and truly find out if this is for me?

Thank You, and sorry for the long post/rant
 

Shirafune

5+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2014
946
733
Status
Medical Student
You don't have to apply to medical school as a trad or even a non-trad with 1-2 gap years. Why not take the time to explore the clinical side of things by working as a clinical research associate/junior specialist, a scribe, or some other clinically-related job? You'll probably meet some physicians along the way and get close enough to ask for maybe 15 minutes of their time to tell you about their experience.

Yes, going into medicine is a big commitment that you shouldn't take lightly; best to figure it out now, but nobody is forcing you to decide now as a college student.
 

chad5871

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2006
5,276
11
New York, NY
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
It's not the cost of med school, or the educational expectations that scare me, it's the time. Medicine is obviously a long road and the last thing I want is to be far along and realize that this isn't what i want to do.

I enjoy most aspects of medicine (that i'm aware of) but ever so often i'll see a story on here or somewhere else about how torturous the med school struggle is or the grueling work of residency and low compensation for it. Or worse yet, how some people are feeling like they're giving up their whole life to become a doctor and having a lack of personal life and it doesn't even feel like its worth it.

I am still premed so am i worrying about these things prematurely or should you be looking forward to this stuff from the get-go?
I know people have recommended shadowing to get to the bottom of this but i doubt physicians would be willing to share facts about their personal life/sacrifices to some kid.

And truth be told, i'm no saint and my only motivation for going into medicine isn't helping people. Even though that's a huge part of it, i say i want to be a doctor because it's the only thing i know. I'm good at some of the things that get you there, and lacking in others. I just don't see myself fitting into any other career. And judge me if you must, but i do want the prestige and the money and pride that comes from being a doctor on top of the ability to help others. But i know i can't even get to med school if i'm not fully commited to it and constantly questioning whether i want to do it or not.

So i guess my question is, how do i stop worrying about these things and truly find out if this is for me?

Thank You, and sorry for the long post/rant
You should at least consider dental school. You go to the school for the same length of time, can do a residency/fellowship (if you want), and can make more money than many physicians.

I personally love my job. Even as a resident, working 80+ hour weeks at times, I get a significant amount of satisfaction from what I do. It has been a long road, but it's been worthwhile to me. A large part of that is because I have been incredibly fortunate to have made it into the best specialty and the best training program for myself. Yes, of course there are issues with medicine, but if you think you can't see yourself doing anything else, then go for it. It should be worth it in the long run.
 

bigtruckguy3500

10+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2009
759
70
Texas
Status
Medical Student
Honestly, if you're the type of person that wants the prestige and pride of being a doctor, and you're willing to put up with a whole lot of crap to get there, you might do really well. Doctors aren't always very smart people, they're just willing to work hard and put up with a lot of crap. But you really need to get some fulfillment out of what you do to keep from going insane. Maybe that fulfillment is the fact that everyone is always worshipping you for being a super doctor, maybe it's because you volunteer at a free clinic in your spare time, or maybe it's because you secretly enjoy stabbing people and surgery is the closest way you can do that legally.

But I think no matter what you do to expose yourself to medicine, you won't truly understand what it means to be a doctor until you're in your 3rd year. I remember when I was on my surgery rotation, finishing up my last case of the morning. That is, I had been in the OR since the morning prior. By the end of that shift, I had been awake for 27 hours, and spent 23 hours (minus room turnover time) in the operating room doing cases back to back. I was falling asleep standing up and I seriously felt like just walking out the door and being like "dueces! I'm out." This was without any coffee/caffeine either, so I was hurting. But sleep does amazing things, and I came back feeling better and motivated again.

If you're at all worried about low compensation, or money, medicine is not the career to go into. There are far better ways to get rich. You've really got to be ok, and I'll say it again, with putting up with a lot of crap. Medicine is becoming more and more of a thankless job, depending on what field you go into. But people expect you to fix what's wrong with them during their office visit. They don't want to be compliant with what you tell them to do, they don't want to exercise or eat healthy, and they feel entitled to good health. Oh, and they and the government think you earn too much money. So they want to pay you less, while making you spend more time filling out paperwork and using inefficient healthcare record systems.

I'm not trying to discourage you, as there is a lot of personal satisfaction you get when you fix a problem someone has, get their diabetes under control, cut out a cancer, etc, and a lot of that makes all the sacrifice seem worth it. I just think that you need to be aware of the fact that real life is very different from the perception that 99% of the public has of what doctors do and what their lives are like.
 

Crayola227

The Oncoming Storm
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
15,937
17,755
All of Time & Space
there are so many threads to read without starting this one

gonna be mean, but if you need to ask an online forum of internet strangers if you want to be a doctor, you don't *want* it enough

also, the reasons you gave for going into medicine are terrible reasons that will lead you to nothing but misery
 
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bigtruckguy3500

10+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2009
759
70
Texas
Status
Medical Student
also, the reasons you gave for going into medicine are terrible reasons that will lead you to nothing but misery
But he'll be a well respected miserable person with a lot of money and pride! That is, assuming he doesn't crack one day and end up in a depressed downward spiral, commit medicare fraud because he wanted an extra Porsche, and end up in jail.
 
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