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I made a decision to become an MD but all I read is discouraging information. Help!

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CamWahn

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Hello everyone,

Many months ago I posted a thread regarding my life events and failures the pushed me back to pursue medicine as a non traditional student. Well after working for 40k a year I thought I should perhaps consider going back to University of Louisiana at Lafayette to study biology as a pre-med. I work in the field of industrial automation as a PLC programmer and electronics technician. Since the market of oil has plunged I am paid much less, and I do not see the glorified life of the oil field ever returning to how it was a few years ago. Service companies like my family's have had to cut their prices by 25% and this lowers revenue substantially. Now, oil companies realize they can get the same service for much less, and this will make returning to normal prices difficult if you want to stay competent in the industry.

Anyways, enough of that. Back to medicine.

I am a very dedicated person and know that once I choose medicine and start my studies, there is no turning back for me. However, research is key. I have been researching the different medical specialties ( I know it is pointless because everyone clearly states that you cannot know what you really want to do until you are actually in medical school) and I have found that nearly everyone hates their lives for the most part. I am aware of the reform that causes doctors to do more, make less, and not have the respect they used to have.

As someone who constantly lives the middle class, financial stress life, I am aware that I personally do not want to live like this forever. Through a series of events these past few years, I have had to grow up quickly, and at 22 years old, I feel like I should have a house and kids with the amount of stress I endure. I handle it well, but why am I financially stressed all of the time and still have an engineer's stress level on a 40k salary.

Going back into medicine, I have 20k in student loans now. Hypothetically speaking, I may accumulate up to 80k total by the time I finish undergraduate studies. By the time I finish medical school (I'll give a worst case example) I will have 250k in student loans. Interest will accrue on these loans in residency, and let's say I specialize in general surgery. I will finish residency at 36 years old. My fiance is currently one year away from dental school so let's say she is a dentist by the time I am a year or so into medical school, will all of this be worth it in your eyes? Will the loans be that big of a deal if I were a general surgeon? I personally don't see why a debt such as that should be the actual reason someone doesn't pursue medicine. Maybe a factor, but not the reason.

Can any doctors or current med students give me some advice here? I work long and hard now. Sometimes waking up at 4 am to go offshore and return to work and arrive home at 6-8 pm, sometimes with no days off, and then repeat. I'd feel much better doing that if I knew I had a career as a physician awaiting me instead of the same grind every day. I know what it is like to work hard under stress. The work load doesn't bother me. I find purpose in medicine that I can't seem to gather anywhere else.

In advance, thank you all for your time.
 

AlphaBeta<3

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Hello everyone,

Many months ago I posted a thread regarding my life events and failures the pushed me back to pursue medicine as a non traditional student. Well after working for 40k a year I thought I should perhaps consider going back to University of Louisiana at Lafayette to study biology as a pre-med. I work in the field of industrial automation as a PLC programmer and electronics technician. Since the market of oil has plunged I am paid much less, and I do not see the glorified life of the oil field ever returning to how it was a few years ago. Service companies like my family's have had to cut their prices by 25% and this lowers revenue substantially. Now, oil companies realize they can get the same service for much less, and this will make returning to normal prices difficult if you want to stay competent in the industry.

Anyways, enough of that. Back to medicine.

I am a very dedicated person and know that once I choose medicine and start my studies, there is no turning back for me. However, research is key. I have been researching the different medical specialties ( I know it is pointless because everyone clearly states that you cannot know what you really want to do until you are actually in medical school) and I have found that nearly everyone hates their lives for the most part. I am aware of the reform that causes doctors to do more, make less, and not have the respect they used to have.

As someone who constantly lives the middle class, financial stress life, I am aware that I personally do not want to live like this forever. Through a series of events these past few years, I have had to grow up quickly, and at 22 years old, I feel like I should have a house and kids with the amount of stress I endure. I handle it well, but why am I financially stressed all of the time and still have an engineer's stress level on a 40k salary.

Going back into medicine, I have 20k in student loans now. Hypothetically speaking, I may accumulate up to 80k total by the time I finish undergraduate studies. By the time I finish medical school (I'll give a worst case example) I will have 250k in student loans. Interest will accrue on these loans in residency, and let's say I specialize in general surgery. I will finish residency at 36 years old. My fiance is currently one year away from dental school so let's say she is a dentist by the time I am a year or so into medical school, will all of this be worth it in your eyes? Will the loans be that big of a deal if I were a general surgeon? I personally don't see why a debt such as that should be the actual reason someone doesn't pursue medicine. Maybe a factor, but not the reason.

Can any doctors or current med students give me some advice here? I work long and hard now. Sometimes waking up at 4 am to go offshore and return to work and arrive home at 6-8 pm, sometimes with no days off, and then repeat. I'd feel much better doing that if I knew I had a career as a physician awaiting me instead of the same grind every day. I know what it is like to work hard under stress. The work load doesn't bother me. I find purpose in medicine that I can't seem to gather anywhere else.

In advance, thank you all for your time.
You posted this in the wrong section,
But some people are going to tell you the debt is not worth it while other people are going to tell you that if it's your passion you should pursue it. Most people will tell you the latter.
 

Mad Jack

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In no particular order:

1- You'll be far better off financially as a physician than you are now. I wouldn't plan on being a general surgeon in the salary department though (surgery is quite competitive these days, so if you're a "surgery is the only career for me" type, you might end up disappointed).

2- That's a pretty low estimate for total indebtedness. Many of us end up with 250-350k when we have no undergrad debt. REPAYE limits your total payment to 10% of total income though, so if you want to put off paying you easily can.

Oh, and you're plenty young. Just make sure you keep your grades up and have a major that isn't useless should you fail to get into medical school and you'll be fine.

But the real question I have for you is if you could have a better lifestyle, say, 100k a year, and worked a 9-5, would you take that over the 300k with 5-7 hours and every fourth night call being a doctor could end up being? There's other options out there than medicine that are pretty safe and secure that you can do with a bachelors or masters, keep that in mind. You might actually want to see some of your kids growing up, ya know? But if you want medicine, all things considered, it's here.
 
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CamWahn

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You posted this in the wrong section,
But some people are going to tell you the debt is not worth it while other people are going to tell you that if it's your passion you should pursue it. Most people will tell you the latter.

Oops! I may repost it in the right area! Lol. Thanks.:)
 

CamWahn

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In no particular order:

1- You'll be far better off financially as a physician than you are now. I wouldn't plan on being a general surgeon in the salary department though (surgery is quite competitive these days, so if you're a "surgery is the only career for me" type, you might end up disappointed).

2- That's a pretty low estimate for total indebtedness. Many of us end up with 250-350k when we have no undergrad debt. REPAYE limits your total payment to 10% of total income though, so if you want to put off paying you easily can.

Oh, and you're plenty young. Just make sure you keep your grades up and have a major that isn't useless should you fail to get into medical school and you'll be fine.

But the real question I have for you is if you could have a better lifestyle, say, 100k a year, and worked a 9-5, would you take that over the 300k with 5-7 hours and every fourth night call being a doctor could end up being? There's other options out there than medicine that are pretty safe and secure that you can do with a bachelors or masters, keep that in mind. You might actually want to see some of your kids growing up, ya know? But if you want medicine, all things considered, it's here.

1. Right, I was hypothetically speaking. Surgery does interest me greatly, but other factors along the journey may alter that choice. I would be a fool to think otherwise.

2. You're absolutely right. I do believe life is manageable under any debt similar to the estimate you give.

I believe medicine is more of a calling for me based on prior experience. Sure, I could return to college and graduate with a engineering degree and be content. I just think that medicine will always be something I will regret not pursuing. I feel an emptiness by not following the dream I always had of being a physician. I was persuaded into following a quick path into our family's company. But I do not see myself doing what I am currently doing forever. I know medicine isn't all that great to some, and chances are I will have my own complaints, but I think I see more inaccurate gloom and doom statements from medical students whom have not really struggled financially in the real world. Of course some have struggled and I cannot speak for everyone, but, you get the point. I have 40k a year now, but the past few years I made about 20k while studying and was immersed in debt (stupid payday loans) due to being super naive. When I struggled financially, I never asked for help from people I should have, instead I was financially torn and depressed and at certain times, I had 0 dollars on pay day every week due to being negative in my checking account lol. I once stole peanuts to eat because I had too much pride to ask for help in a situation I got myself into. Thankfully, now I am all good with a good bit of money saved. That kind of life really taught me what hard times are, and I do not want my family to ever endure something like that. Being a doctor satisfies my needs to make sure my family never does without, but also satisfies a passion I have to help others at their worst days. It is a powerful thought that I may have the privilege to do so one day.
 

Mad Jack

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1. Right, I was hypothetically speaking. Surgery does interest me greatly, but other factors along the journey may alter that choice. I would be a fool to think otherwise.

2. You're absolutely right. I do believe life is manageable under any debt similar to the estimate you give.

I believe medicine is more of a calling for me based on prior experience. Sure, I could return to college and graduate with a engineering degree and be content. I just think that medicine will always be something I will regret not pursuing. I feel an emptiness by not following the dream I always had of being a physician. I was persuaded into following a quick path into our family's company. But I do not see myself doing what I am currently doing forever. I know medicine isn't all that great to some, and chances are I will have my own complaints, but I think I see more inaccurate gloom and doom statements from medical students whom have not really struggled financially in the real world. Of course some have struggled and I cannot speak for everyone, but, you get the point. I have 40k a year now, but the past few years I made about 20k while studying and was immersed in debt (stupid payday loans) due to being super naive. When I struggled financially, I never asked for help from people I should have, instead I was financially torn and depressed and at certain times, I had 0 dollars on pay day every week due to being negative in my checking account lol. I once stole peanuts to eat because I had too much pride to ask for help in a situation I got myself into. Thankfully, now I am all good with a good bit of money saved. That kind of life really taught me what hard times are, and I do not want my family to ever endure something like that. Being a doctor satisfies my needs to make sure my family never does without, but also satisfies a passion I have to help others at their worst days. It is a powerful thought that I may have the privilege to do so one day.
Well, from one formerly struggling nontraditional student to another, it sounds like your heart is mostly in the right place. But don't think it's a privilege- it's a job. A good job, an important job, but it's just a damn job at the end of the day one the magic wears off. Factor that in when making your decisions.
 

CamWahn

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Well, from one formerly struggling nontraditional student to another, it sounds like your heart is mostly in the right place. But don't think it's a privilege- it's a job. A good job, an important job, but it's just a damn job at the end of the day one the magic wears off. Factor that in when making your decisions.
Will do! Thank you for the advice.
 

Wjldenver

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Hello everyone,

Many months ago I posted a thread regarding my life events and failures the pushed me back to pursue medicine as a non traditional student. Well after working for 40k a year I thought I should perhaps consider going back to University of Louisiana at Lafayette to study biology as a pre-med. I work in the field of industrial automation as a PLC programmer and electronics technician. Since the market of oil has plunged I am paid much less, and I do not see the glorified life of the oil field ever returning to how it was a few years ago. Service companies like my family's have had to cut their prices by 25% and this lowers revenue substantially. Now, oil companies realize they can get the same service for much less, and this will make returning to normal prices difficult if you want to stay competent in the industry.

Anyways, enough of that. Back to medicine.

I am a very dedicated person and know that once I choose medicine and start my studies, there is no turning back for me. However, research is key. I have been researching the different medical specialties ( I know it is pointless because everyone clearly states that you cannot know what you really want to do until you are actually in medical school) and I have found that nearly everyone hates their lives for the most part. I am aware of the reform that causes doctors to do more, make less, and not have the respect they used to have.

As someone who constantly lives the middle class, financial stress life, I am aware that I personally do not want to live like this forever. Through a series of events these past few years, I have had to grow up quickly, and at 22 years old, I feel like I should have a house and kids with the amount of stress I endure. I handle it well, but why am I financially stressed all of the time and still have an engineer's stress level on a 40k salary.

Going back into medicine, I have 20k in student loans now. Hypothetically speaking, I may accumulate up to 80k total by the time I finish undergraduate studies. By the time I finish medical school (I'll give a worst case example) I will have 250k in student loans. Interest will accrue on these loans in residency, and let's say I specialize in general surgery. I will finish residency at 36 years old. My fiance is currently one year away from dental school so let's say she is a dentist by the time I am a year or so into medical school, will all of this be worth it in your eyes? Will the loans be that big of a deal if I were a general surgeon? I personally don't see why a debt such as that should be the actual reason someone doesn't pursue medicine. Maybe a factor, but not the reason.

Can any doctors or current med students give me some advice here? I work long and hard now. Sometimes waking up at 4 am to go offshore and return to work and arrive home at 6-8 pm, sometimes with no days off, and then repeat. I'd feel much better doing that if I knew I had a career as a physician awaiting me instead of the same grind every day. I know what it is like to work hard under stress. The work load doesn't bother me. I find purpose in medicine that I can't seem to gather anywhere else.

In advance, thank you all for your time.
If you want a fast ROI career you can always go for a top tier MBA degree. Nail the GMAT, leverage your previous experience and after two years of grad school you will start your career at $110K to $130K. Heck you are going to be married to a dentist. You can have a solid joint income approaching $300K per year.
 

smr

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I have been around a large number of people in the medical field, everyone from med students to transplant surgeons and I personally think your impetus for pursing a career in medicine (financial stability) is going to lead you into a life that you will not enjoy. If you do not have a genuine interest in medicine and in helping people, which you don't seem to considering you did not mention either in your original post, there are much better careers to go into as others have pointed out. If you can get into an American med school, you can probably get into a good law school or business school and be much better off.
 
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