Nov 5, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hello!

I am new to SDN and am curious how medical students, residents, or physicians made the decision to become a doctor. I am a senior in college and can't imagine myself doing anything besides medicine but I also have reservations. I am engaged and my fiancé is also an aspiring physician. There's a lot we want out of our lives including to travel, get a dog and eventually to have a family. Neither of us are willing to dedicate our lives to our careers to the exclusion of the other things which are important to us and are concerned about whether medicine will be the most fulfilling choice for us from that perspective. We both know that medicine is a long road and want to go into it with our eyes wide open so we understand the tradeoffs and sacrifices we are making. I am interested in whatever stories, comments, concerns or advice you have to offer to us! I know that work-life balance can vary a lot depending on specialty so if it helps, I am thinking about pediatrics and my fiancé wants to be a psychiatrist.

Thank you in advance!
 
Jul 23, 2019
184
492
Status
  1. Attending Physician
Hello!

I am new to SDN and am curious how medical students, residents, or physicians made the decision to become a doctor. I am a senior in college and can't imagine myself doing anything besides medicine but I also have reservations. I am engaged and my fiancé is also an aspiring physician. There's a lot we want out of our lives including to travel, get a dog and eventually to have a family. Neither of us are willing to dedicate our lives to our careers to the exclusion of the other things which are important to us and are concerned about whether medicine will be the most fulfilling choice for us from that perspective. We both know that medicine is a long road and want to go into it with our eyes wide open so we understand the tradeoffs and sacrifices we are making. I am interested in whatever stories, comments, concerns or advice you have to offer to us! I know that work-life balance can vary a lot depending on specialty so if it helps, I am thinking about pediatrics and my fiancé wants to be a psychiatrist.

Thank you in advance!

The work-life balance as an actual physician can be fantastic in most specialties if you find the right job--but that's not the problem. Medical school and residency will be a minimum of 7 years and will require maximum effort. There will be very little flexibility during this time. You will certainly need to make sacrifices. It is not wise to pursue medicine unless you fully understand what this means and are willing to make these sacrifices. There are times where you'll want to quit. There are times where you'll have to miss out on an important event in the name of pursuing your passion.

That being said, the journey to being a physician is quite rewarding, and the actual job is even more rewarding. Indeed, it will also certainly help you to have that stable supporting presence in your life to keep you motivated and happy.

I cannot speak for others, but I work just as much as I want to (excellent work-life balance), feel as though I'm truly making a difference in people's life, get to work with the coolest gadgets and perform the coolest procedures/surgeries, and I get compensated very very well. What more could someone want?

Cheers!
 
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May 16, 2020
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Somewhere in New England
Status
  1. Attending Physician
  2. Academic Administration
As Dr.K124 said, there will be about 7 years during which you will be working very hard. Having a dog won't be a problem, as long as he/she is through the puppy stage by the time you start school. You may need doggy daycare or a dog walker at times. Having a child/children is more difficult, but plenty of people manage it with help from daycare/nanny/family members/babysitters. You might want to consider taking a gap year (or two) to travel, because that will be harder to do during med school and residency, especially if dogs and children are also in the picture.
 
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Deltasidearm

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Aug 15, 2018
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All I will add is this: no one can have everything in life. There will always be a compromise to be made among your desires and there is no getting around that. It's your job to figure out what your priorities are and make informed decisions to maximize your happiness with the optimal compromises.

For me, I am happy to sacrifice some of the experiences better enjoyed in youth to pursue medicine because it is the best compromise between my passions and is the path forward that I see making me happiest throughout my life, despite the early and ongoing sacrifices required.
 
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shouldigomd

7+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2012
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The "physical" sacrifices of medicine are often thought about but I feel the emotional ones are by far more important. Sure medicine is tough but you will have time for your wife, kids, vacation, dog, etc. You will find a balance that works for you.

Dealing with the emotional stress that an incredibly inefficient / outdated medical training system puts on you to "prepare" you for an arguably even more toxic healthcare system in America is the true feat.
 
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