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Is it still worth it to go to medical school?

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kenzie3115

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I recently started looking back into going to medical school after realizing that the debt of going to vet school just isn't worth it. I am currently a junior in college and am planning to take a gap year going either route, but have heard negative things about med school. Some things I worry about are:
How much time do you actually have to dedicate yourself to school work? Is there any room to have children during med school or residency? I also have heard from many doctors that i've shadowed say that going to medical school wasn't worth it, and that they wish they picked a different career. So do most doctors regret their career choice or is the struggle with school is worth it?
Being a junior in college I feel that I have already given up a lot of my time studying and working towards a good G.P.A. I'm worried to keep going under the anxiety and stress of medical school for another four years and am looking to make more of an informed decision.
 

SuaveCardigans

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I recently started looking back into going to medical school after realizing that the debt of going to vet school just isn't worth it. I am currently a junior in college and am planning to take a gap year going either route, but have heard negative things about med school. Some things I worry about are:
How much time do you actually have to dedicate yourself to school work? Is there any room to have children during med school or residency? I also have heard from many doctors that i've shadowed say that going to medical school wasn't worth it, and that they wish they picked a different career. So do most doctors regret their career choice or is the struggle with school is worth it?
Being a junior in college I feel that I have already given up a lot of my time studying and working towards a good G.P.A. I'm worried to keep going under the anxiety and stress of medical school for another four years and am looking to make more of an informed decision.
You should spend some time shadowing a physician to figure out if its worth it for you
 
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DelayedGratification

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If you feel like you have given up a lot in undergrad, i really can't recommend pursuing medical school at the moment. The good news is that you have time; I would shadow different physicians and perhaps even work in the field(i would recommend scribe).

As far as family, plenty of medical students and residents are married, have children, etc.


There comes a point in your life as you mature that you realize you can only sacrifice something(or "give up") something you deem important. Medical school requires a lot of sacrifices, but you can limit that feeling by realizing that a lot of those things aren't really important
 

eagle179

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My instinct is to tell you that if you feel this unsure about it, it's probably not for you. However... many times I have just had some really down days where I was exactly in your shoes wondering what the heck I was doing. Now that I'm hopefully almost to the end of the process (waiting for post-II decisions), I'm no longer at that low and I feel ready to tackle the 4 years. Whether or not you are just in a temporary slump or need to change your career path... that's ultimately up to you. As others have mentioned I recommend shadowing or finding some type of medical field job. The thing that really helped me get through it was keeping my eye on the prize and getting real world experiences related to medicine. This helped remind me why I was doing all of this in the first place and reaffirmed that's still what I wanted to do. As far as a family, I feel like if you have a spouse that is not in medical school it would be much more manageable but either way I'm sure it can be done. Good luck!

Also - one thing I noticed was that when I was really down about everything... it was when I was really sleep deprived, like for months at a time getting 3-4 hours nightly. Rearranging my priorities and getting back to minimum 5 hours (hopefully 6+) seriously made a world of a difference. If you are in any situation such as this, I highly recommend doing what you need to do to fix it so that you won't be completely burned out before you even get to med/vet school.
 
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Goro

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I recently started looking back into going to medical school after realizing that the debt of going to vet school just isn't worth it. I am currently a junior in college and am planning to take a gap year going either route, but have heard negative things about med school. Some things I worry about are:
How much time do you actually have to dedicate yourself to school work? Is there any room to have children during med school or residency? I also have heard from many doctors that i've shadowed say that going to medical school wasn't worth it, and that they wish they picked a different career. So do most doctors regret their career choice or is the struggle with school is worth it?
Being a junior in college I feel that I have already given up a lot of my time studying and working towards a good G.P.A. I'm worried to keep going under the anxiety and stress of medical school for another four years and am looking to make more of an informed decision.
What does your heart tell you? Medicine is a calling, like being a fireman, a soldier, or priest.
 
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lovehate

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You must be passionate about medicine to make it through med school and residency training. Honestly, if you have this passion you wouldn't be asking this question. Shadow more physicians and volunteer before you apply.
 
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deleted804295

I recently started looking back into going to medical school after realizing that the debt of going to vet school just isn't worth it.
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Joking aside, you're going to have a hell of a lot of debt as a result of med school as well.

How much time do you actually have to dedicate yourself to school work?

For med school I'm assuming it'll very much be a total institution. It'll be your main focus in life.

Is there any room to have children during med school or residency?

You can check the family forums it has been done but it is incredibly difficult. I would also suggest getting advice from the female doctors here. Breakup rates are also high in med school due to the stress so keep that in mind.

I'm also interested in such an answer since it seems like female doctors have to do most of the sacrificing when it comes to career (ie. pushing back having children, choosing a residency that's more family friendly).

Being a junior in college I feel that I have already given up a lot of my time studying and working towards a good G.P.A. I'm worried to keep going under the anxiety and stress of medical school for another four years and am looking to make more of an informed decision.

It only gets worse from here.
 
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el_duderino

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Don't go to medical school if there's anything else you'd be satisfied doing with your life.
 
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I recently started looking back into going to medical school after realizing that the debt of going to vet school just isn't worth it. I am currently a junior in college and am planning to take a gap year going either route, but have heard negative things about med school. Some things I worry about are:
How much time do you actually have to dedicate yourself to school work? Is there any room to have children during med school or residency? I also have heard from many doctors that i've shadowed say that going to medical school wasn't worth it, and that they wish they picked a different career. So do most doctors regret their career choice or is the struggle with school is worth it?
Being a junior in college I feel that I have already given up a lot of my time studying and working towards a good G.P.A. I'm worried to keep going under the anxiety and stress of medical school for another four years and am looking to make more of an informed decision.

There are about 800,000 physicians in this country, working in a huge variety of specialties and practice settings. If you go looking for miserable, regretful docs you are sure to find them. If you go looking for satisfied, grateful docs you are sure to find them, as well. And everything in between (in triplicate).

The reality of medical education nowadays guarantees long hours for many years, and when the big payoff finally arrives it comes with a mixture of autonomy and liability that not everyone is prepared for. Can you have a family and kids during school/residency? Sure, many people do, and they find ways to make it work. Will the path strain your relationships? Most likely, although medicine is hardly unique in that regard.

An oft-cited rule of thumb (referenced by @jonnythan above) is not to go into medicine if you can see yourself doing anything else in life. While a bit of an oversimplification, the underlying message is true: don't commit to anything lengthy and costly without a reasonable degree of certainty. If you can't think of anything else you would rather do with your life, then spend the time to figure that out. Even if you spend a couple of years working a crap job, the maturity and insight you gain in the process can pay dividends for years. The last thing we need in medicine is another bright person who only really got into it because he/she couldn't think of anything else to do.
 
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deleted859535

Don't go to medical school if there's anything else you'd be satisfied doing with your life.

Often said about surgery as a specialty, but true about medicine in general.

I'm an attending a bit out of residency and still wonder if it's all worth it. Disagree about medicine necessarily being a "calling". Pros and cons to everything you choose in life; medicine is unlikely to be a poor choice no matter what, but you have to really want to do it to the exclusion of other things, and the hardest part is that with all the shadowing in the world, becoming a physician is still a bit of an educated guess. You never know if you really enjoy doing it until you're doing it, and by that time, student loans and the like usually make it too late to turn around.
 
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FutureOncologist

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To put it in a different perspective:

I have many friends that are in and out of the medical field. The ones who make $80K+ don't work the normal 8-5, 40-45 hour week. They have weeks like that, sure, but for the most part, they work minimum-60 hour weeks. They go in early, stay late, and implement different projects for their respective companies that sometimes have them coming back in at 8 pm just to work 'til 3 am. Then, they're expected back in by 8:30 am that same morning. Or maybe they lead a team that forces them to work odd hours due to the nature of their work.

I know several accountants (Big 4 companies among other reputable companies) that work 6 days a week for half the year (tax season.)

Many PA colleagues work similar hours I do as a 2nd year resident. They get paid almost 2x as much as I do, however if I work as an attending hospitalist in <1.5 years, my pay will skyrocket to about 2.5x as much, working somewhat less hours (in most situations.) Same goes for NPs.

CRNAs seem to have the best situation however. Some work 40-50 hours, no weekends, no holidays, no house/home call. But that varies widely on many factors. I've met more that take call and work weird hours due to the nature of their work and where they work. Others are "scheduled" to work for 40 hours a week, but work OT, scheduled weekends, take q3-q5 call, and holidays. Furthermore, BSN degree + 2+ years of working crit care + 27-36 months of grad school is around 6-7 years of school + work. And that's assuming you get into a CRNA program after meeting the minimal work requirements. Finally, are you okay with not being on top despite similar years of training as a resident? You'll have similar schooling length (assuming you count working in the field as part of "learning") however you'll be reminded in different ways that you're still not as knowledgeable as your Anesthesiologist/Surgeon colleagues.

My point is, people on this board look at medicine (read: physician) as one of the few professions that keep you working crap hours for decent pay. What you need to do is decide what field you're willing to work in and make sacrifices for to be the best professional you can be; be it as a physician, PA, NP, CRNA, RN, etc.
 
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It's lupus!

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I'd say read The Intern and Doctored cover to cover (do not stop short). If you still want to be a doctor after that then you'll have your answer.

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freshprinceMD

I personally really confirmed my love for medicine when I shadowed a hospitalist. Seeing him work through a differential diagnosis, working with NPs, Nurses, and with doctors from other specialties on cases was really interesting and enjoyable. Also, seeing how he interacted with patient and how he comforted them and they trusted him was the cherry on top.
People can sometimes be a little dramatic. Some people love to narrate their journey as being tragic and one filled with suffering, as if it makes them seem more grand and achieved. While yes medical school is rigorous and quite challenging, all the medical students that I talked to during my interviews and my friends who attend medical school agree that its really not as bad as people like to describe it to be. The common denominator of course is that they enjoy learning about medicine and walked in knowing what to expect. Like the above poster DelayedGratification said: "Medical school requires a lot of sacrifices, but you can limit that feeling by realizing that a lot of those things aren't really important".

Bottom line, I would take what people say with a grain of salt. Each had their own experience and each reflect on things with a different mindset and a highly subjective outlook. If you know your capabilities, and found what interests you and what you enjoy in medicine, then I wouldn't worry too about what people say.
 

siliso

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Most physicians do get married and have children at some point, yes it is possible. There are malcontents in every field. How to know if you will be the one satisfied and engaged in your career as a doctor or will be burnt out wishing you’d never done it: I don’t know for sure.

I think that people with v little exposure to “the real world” ie working full time and paying their bills may be a little more disposed to being malcontent. If youve spent 12 hours throwing boxes for 8 bucks an hour in your past - or done the 9-5 desk job and found it’s not for you - then long hours doing something interesting and meaningful don’t seem so tragic. In my experience.

Still doesn’t solve the q of how to know if medicine will be interesting and meaningful to you. I guess that’s what all that “clinical experience” before you apply is supposed to clarify. If you do that and don’t love it then take a pass. If you do love it then it’s a long path yeah but it’s not sacrificing years, it’s spending them doing something you enjoy and they pass in a flash. Also in my experience. If you already aren’t enjoying yourself much and find learning burdensome and unpleasant, that might conflict with the whole lifelong learning aspect of the profession - it really doesn’t ever stop, not after the mcat or the steps or even the boards.
 
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It's lupus!

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I'm not a physician yet. In fact, I don't even start medical school until July; however, I have been working in medicine for quite a substantial number of years prior to starting this journey. My observation of physicians has been that there is a theme of complaints and they are valid issues. These things include reimbursement, corporate take over, mid-level encroachment, and practice limitations. These things I believe should be heavily researched in advance. That being said, while the complaints are universal, the level of impact it has on the physicians morale varies with the individual, location, practice, and so on. Some do well or nearly unaffected by it, as far as I can tell, while others hate their life. What the role of Physician looks like is probably not going to be the same when we finish but one can get an idea of what challenges lie ahead. If you can appreciate and at least prepare yourself and expect the general slew of issues that exist I speculate you'll likely be fine. And as a side note, the majority both male and female had families of varying sizes from one up to five children from what I can recall.

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