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Caring Criticism?

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Hillo

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In the past, people have discouraged me on my current career path by telling me something along the lines of "if you want to x and y, why not become a z."

Sometimes I get a vibe of condescension/sexism from these folks, but I'm not sure if they are pointing out my naivety or simply trying to show off that medicine/whatever is a calling.

There are excellent health care professionals who encourage me to pursue their career path, so I am convinced that you do not have to be called if you believe you've found the perfect field for you.

Even my brother talks in the same angry tone that a dental student once had when he asked me why I was volunteering for things I weren't passionate about. He told me to leave the activities I was "exploring" off my application. I must note that my brother has not entered law school yet and believes that he has had a hard life (even though it was much better than mine).

Could anyone explain what I should be taking from these experiences?

Thank you.
 
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NotASerialKiller

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There are excellent health care professionals who encourage me to pursue their career path, so I am convinced that you do not have to be called if you believe you've found the perfect field for you.

I'm confused by this, what exactly are you saying is required for something to be a calling? A religious revelation? I'd say that finding a career that you think is perfect for you definitely qualifies as a calling.
 
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mimelim

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I'm a little tired to ramble on like I usually do, but in short:

Medicine is a long, hard and expensive road. If you are like 80%+ of pre-meds, you have no idea what medicine is really like. And that is okay. That is normal. You don't know what it means to train for 7-11 years after college. You don't know what it is like to work 80+ hours a week and then need to go home and study for an exam that feels just as important as the MCAT or Step 1. Most people who have been in medicine for a little while will know handfuls of people who dropped out for various reasons from during medical school to post-med school, to middle of residency, etc. Is it very many? No. Is it a real number? Yes. We also know a lot of unhappy people, or we ourselves are unhappy with what we do and where we are going. Is medicine a calling? No. It is a profession. But, it is a very unique profession with unparalleled amounts of investment on the part of interested students. Thus, it necessitates long, hard thinking before it is taken on.

Do not focus on other people telling you to go into medicine or not to go into medicine. At the end of the day, they can not possibly make this determination for you. YOU need to expose yourself. Shadow. Get into clinical volunteering. Be close enough so that you can smell the patients. Then sit down and think. "Can I do this for 30+ years?" "Can I survive the training?" "Do I want to survive the training".

Medicine is not the pinnacle of all professions. It isn't for everyone and it certainly isn't the peak of jobs that everyone should be aspiring to join. It is a fantastic career for the right people and only you can figure out if you are one of them.
 
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StudyLater

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In the past, people have discouraged me on my current career path by telling me something along the lines of "if you want to x and y, why not become a z."

Sometimes I get a vibe of condescension/sexism from these folks, but I'm not sure if they are pointing out my naivety or simply trying to show off that medicine/whatever is a calling.

There are excellent health care professionals who encourage me to pursue their career path, so I am convinced that you do not have to be called if you believe you've found the perfect field for you.

Even my brother talks in the same angry tone that a dental student once had when he asked me why I was volunteering for things I weren't passionate about. He told me to leave the activities I was "exploring" off my application. Of course, my brother has not entered law school yet and believes that he has had a hard life (even though it was much better than mine).

Could anyone explain what I should be taking from these experiences?

Thank you.

The concept of a calling is a helpful psychosis, and I totally understand its use as a motivational tool. With that said, it's not needed to get through the educational and training process.
 

StudyLater

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Medicine is not the pinnacle of all professions. It isn't for everyone and it certainly isn't the peak of jobs that everyone should be aspiring to join.

Just interested in what particular profession(s) popped into your mind as you wrote this.
 

mimelim

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Just interested in what particular profession(s) popped into your mind as you wrote this.

My wife started undergrad as a pre-med and is now a lawyer. She did better than me as a pre-med, but it became obvious very quickly that she would be far happier in law and she made the switch.

My brother started undergrad as a pre-med and is now a high school physics teacher. Also did better than me in pre-med and even did better than me on the MCAT. Realized that he had no interest in the practice of medicine or the length of training. Found something he loved (working with kids, teaching) and is doing great.

My other brother started undergrad in finance and is now a pre-med about to take his MCAT. (go figure)

Those are my personal examples, but pick whatever you want, plumber, engineer, airline pilot, etc etc. If you are smart and motivated, you should find something that you enjoy doing at least most of the time. Personal opinion of course ;)
 
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StudyLater

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My wife started undergrad as a pre-med and is now a lawyer. She did better than me as a pre-med, but it became obvious very quickly that she would be far happier in law and she made the switch.

My brother started undergrad as a pre-med and is now a high school physics teacher. Also did better than me in pre-med and even did better than me on the MCAT. Realized that he had no interest in the practice of medicine or the length of training. Found something he loved (working with kids, teaching) and is doing great.

My other brother started undergrad in finance and is now a pre-med about to take his MCAT. (go figure)

Those are my personal examples, but pick whatever you want, plumber, engineer, airline pilot, etc etc. If you are smart and motivated, you should find something that you enjoy doing at least most of the time. Personal opinion of course ;)

Ahh sorry. I see now. You were talking about them being "pinnacles" on the basis of personal fulfillment. I thought you were using the more (subjectively) objective societal measures of what makes a profession "higher" than others.
 

Terry Toma

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Could anyone explain what I should be taking from these experiences?

I think that a bit of cynicism can be healthy because it helps you clarify your own desires. An idea has to be challenged and defended before it can be accepted. If people are telling you that you shouldn't be a physician, and you can refute every point they make, that's a good sign.

I wouldn't want to surround myself exclusively with naysayers, but it's healthy to have at least a few people around you who will make you question your assumptions on occasion. You know you're doing the right thing when their negativity is easy to brush off.
 
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Spector1

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Its always easier for people to take a dump on someone else's dreams and not their own.
 
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DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

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I completely agree with @WombRaider

Regarding your brother:

Family and to a lesser extent friends have the peculiar superpower of being most able to affect us. Either positively or negatively. I don't think they truly realize this power and for the most part their words are well-intentioned (or so they think) and not malicious. It's a combination of insecurity, intimidation, and fear - and they may believe they are speaking out in your best interest. If I were you, I'd take the forewarnings with a grain of salt if medicine is what you are passionate about pursuing.

I had a very harrowing experience when I called up the director of a post-bacc program specifically designed to help mentor and support URMs' desire to pursue medicine. Not only did the executive director tell me the program was now defunct, but he spent about an hour on the phone with me telling me why I should go into anything BUT medicine. As disheartening as that experience was, it was just one person's opinion and after I got over the initial shock and depression, I realized I was grateful. I realized what he said didn't matter. I felt even stronger about moving forward in this career.

Regarding people's advice: I suggest you take the good and discard the bad. Also stand up to your brother. He might need some tough love. He might not realize he's not being supportive in your endeavors.
 
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