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Left Medical school and am now a software developer - AMA

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Awesome Sauceome

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Hey all, been a LONG time since I have been on SDN (or even thought much about my “past life”). Jumping back on for an AMA.

I attended KCU and left in my first year. Currently I am happily employed as a Software Developer - AMA!
 
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big_Z

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Why did you think med school was for you and when did you realize it wasn't?
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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Whew straight to the heart of it haha.

For your first question. I definitely want to focus on the word "think" that you used.

Basically I only thought about med school logically; I never really followed my heart on it. Like many young people on this path I had a few common attributes:
1) I had a degree in science (which I deeply enjoyed getting), yet hated professional lab work. So that brings the question of "well what do I do with my life then?"

2) I wanted to help people (or whatever that very broad statement means).

3) A weird part of me was just searching to prove it that I could do something really freaking challenging. I wanted to prove it to myself, friends, my school, family members etc. Probably the best few months I've had was that golden time before school started and I could say "I got into med school."

4) At the time it felt like the only route I had to make really good money (very much a typical college student mindset that more school = more money).

5) I deeply enjoyed the camaraderie found on SDN and among people on this journey with me. Having a group of people that you belong to is a deep rooted part of who we are as humans - not to be taken lightly.

6) I felt like I could plan out the next 20 years of my life: go to med school, do residency, do fellowship, start out in some small clinic, eventually start my own clinic, serve internationally every once in a while, etc. Again, an area not to be taken lightly. The sense of having a plan and purpose is powerful to human nature - even if it is not exactly what you are truly called to do.
__________________

What I did not follow/listen to:
1) The many doctors who told me not to do it and/or that seemed miserable.

2) My wife, who was INCREDIBLY supportive, but as a voice of reason was questioning my thoughts and plans when I was applying and saw that I was probably viewing the process with rose colored glasses.

3) My heart - which at the crux was just continuing out of fear of the unknown ("what do I do with my life then???").
_________________

How I knew it was time to leave:
1) When I (as someone with no history of mental illness) was waking up every morning before class, curled up in a ball, crippled with anxiety/panic attacks.Still not even sure what the heck that was - this stopped and has never recurred ever since signing the papers to leave.

2) When it hit me that I honestly just didn't give a crap about any of the science/medicine like I had earlier in college. My passion for science was crushed in med school by minutiae. (However do not read that I don't like learning - current job/industry is an absolute OCEAN of growing knowledge and opportunity - and I love the struggle every day).

3) When I saw my marriage suffering and/or could foresee areas in my future where it would be incredibly strained.

4) When I found out my wife was pregnant (this was the final straw/some divine exit strategy).

5) When it finally hit me about how much debt I was going to be in (roughly 500-550K pre-interest). This is another area that, no matter how much people talk about it, college students just can't understand until they are actively/heavily paying down their debt while trying to buy their first house, or their car breaks down, or you want to put your kid in a better school but can't afford it, etc.

6) When it hit me that realistically I was going to be working my tail off and I didn't actually even know what my job would be. There is a massive difference between becoming a pediatrician and an orthopedic surgeon.

7) I also had major regrets about the school choice I made. I absolutely hated Kansas City. I would've done much better at a smaller and/or lower key school or in a region I enjoyed more (like UNECOM or something).
 
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madiso30

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I find myself with similar reasons for pursuing medicine as yours. I have a little more reasons and a passion for the subject. So I wonder if you think that med school is worth it for some, most, or very few people?
 

Awesome Sauceome

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How did you become a software developer?
So I suppose that is also quite a long story...

Not gonna lie, when I left med school, life sucked quite a bit. I had what felt like a gaping chasm in my life. I had worked for years to get into medical school. I was also literally in thousands of dollars of credit card debt for MCAT courses, moving costs, supplies for school, etc (not to mention 200K of student debt between my wife and I). And then with a baby on the way... Living in my father-in-law's attic... I had to face that question of "what do I do with my life?" head on.

The wife and I moved back to our home state to be with family. To pay the bills I applied to basically every job that I could - in science (as much as I didn't want to) and out of science in completely unrelated fields. So that was a pretty tough/depressing time.

Eventually, through someone I knew back home, I got an interview with a political marketing firm (so WAY out of my comfort range). They could tell that I was a hard working and unique guy, not to mention even having "got into med school" in your history, people assume you can do a pretty good job at whatever. I ended up having 4 interviews with this place because of their indecision on trying to figure out whether my past work and my past work ethic could translate. Thankfully I got the job. I was doing marketing and project management and just hated it (again, it was just a tough time).

So on evenings and weekends I started to heavily invest time in other areas that might interest me. I was shadowing police officers at night, talking to nurses, talking to pastors, engineers, basically any job out there. Just starting from square one, as if I was in middle school. Just trying to get an idea of what jobs even existed?

Among my wandering, I stumbled upon some IT stuff from a family member who worked at Microsoft. We had some chats and it sounded good enough to me - at least better than what I had going for me. So I started studying for various IT exams to help break into the industry. It was kind of interesting (better than what I had going, but still not quite "it"). During that time, an old buddy of mine randomly hit me up to say he was starting a non-profit. We caught up and I told him what I was doing with my life (studying to break into IT). He heard that as "you can develop our website for us." So I winged my way through some terrible wordpress website haha.

The non-profit died, along with my website, but I was just absolutely hooked. That was maybe like a littler over a year after I left med school. So from then on I dropped IT and started fervently learning various programming stuff. I wandered a bit for a few months. I started with simple web (HTML/CSS/Javascript) stuff - videos and practice stuff online, but wasn't making much headway. Eventually I jumped to Swift and started learning IOS/mobile development - which was an incredible experience. I continued to mess around with learning programming for like a year on my own.

Around that time (I guess this was maybe like 2 years out from med school), somehow word got out that my company was looking for a Jr. Developer. The next day I walked into the president's office and point blank asked him to give me the job. I told him I would do anything and learn anything to make it work. Because of my work ethic and good work that I continued to do in my marketing position, they miraculously gave me a shot at it. That was like a year ago. I spent the first two months mostly just soaking up languages and technologies and whatnot. Took me about 4-6 months to become reasonably competent. Now I am getting pretty dang solid; albeit will be a few years until I could call myself an expert.

I continue to learn new cool stuff every day. I spend a lot of my time outside of work studying and learning new languages and technologies, and building stuff that I am interested in and/or that I think will boost the resume. Besides some typical office politics and crap, I feel like I have the coolest job in the world. The future looks very good.
 
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GypsyHummus

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How much did your undergrad degree help you with software development?

Do you recommend software development to people?

How hard is it to get into the industry from a science major? Non science major?

How much can one expect to make in software development?

How many hours/week do you work? Premeds really dont understand the concept of the non medical stuff a doctor has to do, fight with insurance, paperwork, long stressful hours, etc. They usually just see the cool surgery and say "Me want that". Nobody talks about the risk of communicable diseases.

How are you planning on handling your debt?
 

Awesome Sauceome

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I find myself with similar reasons for pursuing medicine as yours. I have a little more reasons and a passion for the subject. So I wonder if you think that med school is worth it for some, most, or very few people?
I told myself that I was deeply passionate about it. Heck, my own father died of cancer when I was a kid. When I was applying, I saw it as some kind of calling that had been subconsciously planted in my mind all the way from when I was a kid. And again, I truly did enjoy studying science. And some of the most formative experiences I have ever had was while working as a medical assistant prior to med school. I do enjoy serving and helping people (which I continue to do in other ways still today...)

I suppose my advice comes with some caveats... If I was a single guy when I started school. I probably would've pushed through. If I hadn't taken 2.5 gap years in between college and med school. I probably would've pushed through. And I definitely felt smart enough and hard working enough to be there. If you get in, you can make it. Where the "worth it" questions come into play is how and what you want to spend your life doing. For some people, it makes perfect sense. And we need a lot of really good passionate doctors - especially as insurance companies continue to tank our healthcare system.

For me, I was pursing medicine to be the "ideal" version of myself, rather than just being myself. For example, a deep rooted part of me wanted to be a family man first and foremost. I am not saying you "can't" be that in medicine - it is just that much harder in that career, especially for the first 10 years or so. A deep rooted part of me also wanted to build and create things in my work - whether that is constructing a house or programming a cool phone application. I like being creative, designing things, thinking through logical problems involved with that. What I did NOT do, was let myself enjoy and explore those feelings when I was in college. I approached medical school too logically. I "thought" it was the best decision based upon the path I was put down. I thought that: "want to help people" + "want money" + "like to learn" + "science degree" = doctor.
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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How much did your undergrad degree help you with software development?

Do you recommend software development to people?

How hard is it to get into the industry from a science major? Non science major?

How much can one expect to make in software development?

How many hours/week do you work? Premeds really dont understand the concept of the non medical stuff a doctor has to do, fight with insurance, paperwork, long stressful hours, etc. They usually just see the cool surgery and say "Me want that". Nobody talks about the risk of communicable diseases.

How are you planning on handling your debt?
I would say that my undergrad degree helped in the sense that I learned how to work hard. It also gave me confidence coming out of high school - I was the first in my family to get a degree. I am sure I will continue to find interesting ways that my degree surface; but for the most part my biology degree doesn't help much.

I do and don't for the same reason that I do and don't recommend medicine to people. It depends on who you are and your personality. I love it. You can get a job legit ANYWHERE, and you can make good money doing it. It absolutely is NOT a free ride, I would argue that intellectually it is way harder than anything I ever learned in school.

Depends on your field. Embedded systems/AI/robotics, etc. you definitely need more formal education and pedigree. There is a lot of math and logic classes that you take that helps with those types of jobs. Otherwise, for web development, mobile dev, database/backend dev, data/analysis stuff, you can totally learn all that you need on your own. Just need to hammer away enough and get enough side hustle until you can break into it. As an example, I occasionally work with an agency that was founded by a developer with a high school diploma who just did freelance work until it grew to a big successful business.

Money obviously depends on where you live... Big cities you make more, silicon valley you make a stupid amount; but obviously cost of living is high. I live in a decently populated area like 1.5 hours from DC. Most new guys would make like 50-60K starting out. A couple years in you can wrangle up to 70-80K, after like 5 years it is very easy to top over 100-150K depending on the languages and technologies that you know. There are definitely languages and regions where you can easily top 200K. If you have a security clearance you can basically add 50% to your salary.
***But I will caveat... development is VERY product oriented. It is like an old school trade skill. If you suck at programming you make less. If you are good at it, you can make more. If you don't push businesses forward, they WILL find someone cheaper than you to get the job done - there are lots of people who can get the job done. Hard work and good people skills help a lot (unless you are just a savant lol). It is such a different mindset than most college students are used to. Here is another way to look at it - look at contract workers. A freelance web developer starting out can make like $25 an hour. After you have a portfolio you can start making like $40-60. Add in some knowledge of backend tech and you are now pushing $80-100. If you have experience in larger applications, weird technology, full stack, security stuff, you can charge whatever. I think one of our experienced contractors we work with makes like $185-200/hr.

I work a very standard 40 hour week. I never work weekends. I only spend free time programming stuff that I want to work on. I plan on working less and making more in the next 12 months or so - as I continue to get more skilled, and because I have some irons in the fire lol...

One penny at a time... We live incredibly tightly... We manage every single dollar we get. We live in a crappy apartment. We first paid off all of our credit card debt. Now we are working on the car. Next up we will begin to focus on student debt - starting with the high interest/variable interest loans first. Once I start making a little more I will start diverting some cash towards a house maybe - still working through that stuff in my head.
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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One thing I will add, now that I am thinking about it... is the low barrier of entry. As far as I am concerned, most people should not be developers.

But I think most people owe it to themselves to at least try - just like we learn math, science, English, etc in school. You might know you are not meant to be an English teacher because you hate English and you hate kids - fair enough. I think a lot of people are scared of programming for some reason. But most people have never even tried it. It costs you legit nothing to check it out. If you have a laptop, you can try it. If you try it and hate it, then fair enough. But you might get hooked - and the only thing that was stopping you was your preconceived notion that you couldn’t do it. That was 100% the case for me. I distinctly remember talking to computer science majors in college and just being like “nah, I couldn’t do that.”

And then once you are in there is such a range of jobs out there. Like there are plenty of easy jobs out there to dip your toes in. You are not expected to be some crazy expert your first year in (hence you are not paid a lot haha).

This is more of a rant towards the standard college system which says you have to complete some major expensive hurdle before you are useful to society. In programming it is definitely a scale with a range of opportunities depending on your skill level.
 
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Ixacex

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Medicine isnt for everybody. Glad you found what you truly enjoy.

Im the opposite of you. Graduated with a Finance degree and hated every minute of it. Were late-bloomers but better late than never!
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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Medicine isnt for everybody. Glad you find what you truly enjoy.

Im the opposite of you. Graduated with a Finance degree and hated every minute of it. Were late-bloomers but better late than never!

Exactly... I do hope that none of my posts are coming off like I am crapping on medicine or something.

I just felt called randomly (3 years out now) to give some of my experiences back. To help people that are on the fence - not to just blindly listen to me. But to just explore for themselves.

There’s what like 350 million people in America now? Plenty of people feel like they are living their “dream” and they aren’t doctors. Others on the other hand are doctors and are living the dream.

I suppose I just want to help encourage some younger folk to have the confidence to allow themself to really question who they are and what they want out of life.
 
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Osminog

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Do you ever regret leaving medical school?

Do you think you would've been willing and/or able to get through med school if you weren't married?

When you were a pre-med, what reasons did the miserable doctors give you for not pursuing a career in medicine?
 

Awesome Sauceome

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Saucy, would you say that even upon the even of matriculation, that Medicine wasn't a calling?
Ahh Goro, I distinctly remember all of your help back in 2013-2014. I hope all has been well.

I would say so. I think there was always a deep part of me that knew it was incompatible with what I was going for in a career and what I wanted out of life. But I definitely ignored that feeling a lot. It was just that the feeling became insurmountable when I actually started school.

So looking back - the only advice I would give younger me is to really pause, test the waters in a ton of different fields first. If you have even the slightest doubts, you lose nothing in talking to people in other fields, shadowing, spending time research and stuff. That way you can either save yourself, or validate your feelings towards, what will become, a very tough path.

I basically only tried lab science, hated it, and then was like, "welp I guess I will be a doctor then." And because I pushed hard enough, I got in.
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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Do you ever regret leaving medical school?

Do you think you would've been willing and/or able to get through med school if you weren't married?

When you were a pre-med, what reasons did the miserable doctors give you for not pursuing a career in medicine?

Not in the sense of wishing to be back or wanting to be a doctor. But really for that first year out - when I really had to face myself - I just was so lost on what I was doing. The medical school path gave me a very prescribed (heh... med joke) route that I was on, even if it was incompatible with what I wanted. It’s not nearly as comparable, but I imagine it is slightly similar for folks who leave the military. Just that fear of the unknown can be daunting.

Wasn’t necessarily marriage, in fact I vaguely recall a study back a few years ago that said students with families perform better. I never heard a single negative word from my wife. She was incredibly supportive of me needing to focus on school more than her. It was ME who had issues with it. I didn’t want to focus on school more. I didn’t want to focus on my career more afterwards. I very much have the “yolo” mentality, and family to me has naturally stayed top of the list - even to the point of giving up being a doctor so I could have more time with them.

Most doctors said to become a PA or go into other businesses. It was a mixture of insurance headaches, too much work, too much debt, not actually becoming the reality of “helping people” that they envisioned. Jaded from healthcare politics. All sorts of reasons. Honestly most fields have a litany of reasons to not go into them - there is no perfect job. The difference is that in most other fields you don’t spend 10 years and a couple hundred grand only to realize you want out. In most fields you don’t hear much about it because people more gracefully enter and leave the profession because the implications are not as high.
 
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Herbidot

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There are a lot of Doctors that suggest considering the PA route...as a family man is that something you wish you would have considered earlier? What would you recommend to somebody stuck in between both paths of MD vs. PA?
 

Awesome Sauceome

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There are a lot of Doctors that suggest considering the PA route...as a family man is that something you wish you would have considered earlier? What would you recommend to somebody stuck in between both paths of MD vs. PA?

See now that one is a pickle...

Past me briefly did face that decision and decided on med school specifically because of the opportunities it would give down the road: easier times switching careers, owning a business, maybe dabbling in teaching or research.

As much as the docs said go the PA route, I personally can’t help but feel like that route is going to dry up eventually here. It feels too much like a gold rush to me. And eventually supply and demand will dictate the income of PAs as mid level providers (just like nursing) and it will level out. Just my two cents. I bet it will still be a good profession, but it just doesn’t strike me as “the answer” because the schools are pumping out so many graduates.

I guess going back, if I was dead set on healthcare, I don’t know... I suppose it would be a toss up between podiatry, dentistry, and PA. Just the uncertainty of what your actual job/income would be as a MD/DO, combined with the fact that mid levels ARE encroaching, AND the fact that MD/DO physically requires residency of at least 3 years (but up to what 7 depending on your specialty?) just makes it that much of a harder decision to muscle through.

With the other routes you have a greater sense of your actual job on the other side - and thus your financial burden, time commitment, and income. If we are just approaching it as a job and not some weird divine calling that many med schools play it out to be (KCU kind of did that), then that is where my gut falls.

But again, overall, my personal feelings are that you should only commit to really any job in healthcare if you are truly passionate about healthcare. There is no shame in not wanting to deal with that stuff and the struggles involved in getting that kind of position.

In my case I was not. I wanted to be a family man, make good money, use my brain, and be able to work wherever I wanted. Yes medicine fits that bill, but it has the caveats that I ran into.

That’s a great, but tougher question that definitely comes with its own level of bias from me. So for sure take it with a grain of salt.
 
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golfman7

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Whew straight to the heart of it haha.

For your first question. I definitely want to focus on the word "think" that you used.

Basically I only thought about med school logically; I never really followed my heart on it. Like many young people on this path I had a few common attributes:
1) I had a degree in science (which I deeply enjoyed getting), yet hated professional lab work. So that brings the question of "well what do I do with my life then?"

2) I wanted to help people (or whatever that very broad statement means).

3) A weird part of me was just searching to prove it that I could do something really freaking challenging. I wanted to prove it to myself, friends, my school, family members etc. Probably the best few months I've had was that golden time before school started and I could say "I got into med school."

4) At the time it felt like the only route I had to make really good money (very much a typical college student mindset that more school = more money).

5) I deeply enjoyed the camaraderie found on SDN and among people on this journey with me. Having a group of people that you belong to is a deep rooted part of who we are as humans - not to be taken lightly.

6) I felt like I could plan out the next 20 years of my life: go to med school, do residency, do fellowship, start out in some small clinic, eventually start my own clinic, serve internationally every once in a while, etc. Again, an area not to be taken lightly. The sense of having a plan and purpose is powerful to human nature - even if it is not exactly what you are truly called to do.
__________________

What I did not follow/listen to:
1) The many doctors who told me not to do it and/or that seemed miserable.

2) My wife, who was INCREDIBLY supportive, but as a voice of reason was questioning my thoughts and plans when I was applying and saw that I was probably viewing the process with rose colored glasses.

3) My heart - which at the crux was just continuing out of fear of the unknown ("what do I do with my life then???").
_________________

How I knew it was time to leave:
1) When I (as someone with no history of mental illness) was waking up every morning before class, curled up in a ball, crippled with anxiety/panic attacks.Still not even sure what the heck that was - this stopped and has never recurred ever since signing the papers to leave.

2) When it hit me that I honestly just didn't give a crap about any of the science/medicine like I had earlier in college. My passion for science was crushed in med school by minutiae. (However do not read that I don't like learning - current job/industry is an absolute OCEAN of growing knowledge and opportunity - and I love the struggle every day).

3) When I saw my marriage suffering and/or could foresee areas in my future where it would be incredibly strained.

4) When I found out my wife was pregnant (this was the final straw/some divine exit strategy).

5) When it finally hit me about how much debt I was going to be in (roughly 500-550K pre-interest). This is another area that, no matter how much people talk about it, college students just can't understand until they are actively/heavily paying down their debt while trying to buy their first house, or their car breaks down, or you want to put your kid in a better school but can't afford it, etc.

6) When it hit me that realistically I was going to be working my tail off and I didn't actually even know what my job would be. There is a massive difference between becoming a pediatrician and an orthopedic surgeon.

7) I also had major regrets about the school choice I made. I absolutely hated Kansas City. I would've done much better at a smaller and/or lower key school or in a region I enjoyed more (like UNECOM or something).
Wow... I followed your posts when I was looking into medicine. I got waitlisted and have done engineering and am almost done now. Don’t regret it and medicine is certainly not for everyone. I got excited about interviews etc but don’t think I would have done well in med school and probably would have left in first year also. Definitely think medicine is a difficult and tiring path and should not be taken lightly. I have enjoyed construction management a lot and think it will be good for me long term. Admissions made me realize how competitive this field is and how it takes over your life as well.
 
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DO2015CA

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Wow... I followed your posts when I was looking into medicine. I got waitlisted and have done engineering and am almost done now. Don’t regret it and medicine is certainly not for everyone. I got excited about interviews etc but don’t think I would have done well in med school and probably would have left in first year also. Definitely think medicine is a difficult and tiring path and should not be taken lightly. I have enjoyed construction management a lot and think it will be good for me long term. Admissions made me realize how competitive this field is and how it takes over your life as well.

Just curious, if you never matriculated to med school why are you still around this forum? Are you still looking to eventually get in? You are in a totally unrelated field now.
 
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golfman7

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Just curious, if you never matriculated to med school why are you still around this forum? Are you still looking to eventually get in? You are in a totally unrelated field now.
I still like looking at threads and forums from time to time... was on this website for several years and was big part of life lol. Not to mention it’s cool seeing what some posters are up to now that I followed for awhile.
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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I still like looking at threads and forums from time to time... was on this website for several years and was big part of life lol. Not to mention it’s cool seeing what some posters are up to now that I followed for awhile.

It’s kind of funny, I am on a bit more now as well. I don’t really look at pre-med but the interesting conversations in the med student and physician forums. There is still a lot to be gleaned about the direction of healthcare in our country from reading this stuff.

For instance, I went down the rabbit hole the other night reading about the insane circumstances pathology residents are going down. Who in the freaking world would commit so much time down that route (having to even get multiple fellowships!) to have just a shot at those jobs? Seeing the unemployment issues after all of that hard work. Just seems a little weird/crazy to me.

Just the idea that the only way to get good money is through going through these insane hoops, is just sad/insane to me. And in the case of pathology, it’s all for a desk job, not even some crazy glorified job like ortho or something.

But I digress... so yeah, I agree, something unique about the SDN forum, though most of my free time is now on Stackoverflow - where I can help on programming related stuff. The problem is it is just not the same quality of community. This is a pretty special space, here on SDN. I’ve gotta hand it to them... for the most part it is a really great community of cool hard working individuals.
 
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golfman7

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It’s kind of funny, I am on a bit more now as well. I don’t really look at pre-med but the interesting conversations in the med student and physician forums. There is still a lot to be gleaned about the direction of healthcare in our country from reading this stuff.

For instance, I went down the rabbit hole the other night reading about the insane circumstances pathology residents are going down. Who in the freaking world would commit so much time down that route (having to even get multiple fellowships!) to have just a shot at those jobs? Seeing the unemployment issues after all of that hard work. Just seems a little weird/crazy to me.

Heck, just the other day I was offered a management position at my company and it paid 6 figures. I am not even 30 yet. I turned it down because I am confident I will be there soon (with programming). But yeah, just the idea that the only way to get good money is through going through these insane hoops, is just sad/insane to me. And in the case of pathology, it’s all for a desk job, not even some crazy glorified job like ortho or something.

But I digress... so yeah, I agree, something unique about the SDN forum, though most of my free time is now on Stackoverflow - where I can help on programming related stuff. The problem is it is just not the same quality of community. This is a pretty special space, here on SDN. I’ve gotta hand it to them... for the most part it is a really great community of cool hard working individuals.
Yeah the match has gotten extremely competitive too with healthcare reform and trying to get into ortho etc is tough now. And this community is definitely knowledgeable and helpful for those looking into medical careers. I look at engineer forums now mostly. I think being up to date on current healthcare is important whether your in the field or not and will use this site as a resource for that. And some specialties definitely have employment issues currently and going through residency etc with all that debt and no job would be awful.
 
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golfman7

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It’s kind of funny, I am on a bit more now as well. I don’t really look at pre-med but the interesting conversations in the med student and physician forums. There is still a lot to be gleaned about the direction of healthcare in our country from reading this stuff.

For instance, I went down the rabbit hole the other night reading about the insane circumstances pathology residents are going down. Who in the freaking world would commit so much time down that route (having to even get multiple fellowships!) to have just a shot at those jobs? Seeing the unemployment issues after all of that hard work. Just seems a little weird/crazy to me.

Heck, just the other day I was offered a management position at my company and it paid 6 figures. I am not even 30 yet. I turned it down because I am confident I will be there soon (with programming). But yeah, just the idea that the only way to get good money is through going through these insane hoops, is just sad/insane to me. And in the case of pathology, it’s all for a desk job, not even some crazy glorified job like ortho or something.

But I digress... so yeah, I agree, something unique about the SDN forum, though most of my free time is now on Stackoverflow - where I can help on programming related stuff. The problem is it is just not the same quality of community. This is a pretty special space, here on SDN. I’ve gotta hand it to them... for the most part it is a really great community of cool hard working individuals.
And congrats on finding a career outside of medicine you like! Sounds like your doing well with programming...
 

golfman7

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It’s kind of funny, I am on a bit more now as well. I don’t really look at pre-med but the interesting conversations in the med student and physician forums. There is still a lot to be gleaned about the direction of healthcare in our country from reading this stuff.

For instance, I went down the rabbit hole the other night reading about the insane circumstances pathology residents are going down. Who in the freaking world would commit so much time down that route (having to even get multiple fellowships!) to have just a shot at those jobs? Seeing the unemployment issues after all of that hard work. Just seems a little weird/crazy to me.

Heck, just the other day I was offered a management position at my company and it paid 6 figures. I am not even 30 yet. I turned it down because I am confident I will be there soon (with programming). But yeah, just the idea that the only way to get good money is through going through these insane hoops, is just sad/insane to me. And in the case of pathology, it’s all for a desk job, not even some crazy glorified job like ortho or something.

But I digress... so yeah, I agree, something unique about the SDN forum, though most of my free time is now on Stackoverflow - where I can help on programming related stuff. The problem is it is just not the same quality of community. This is a pretty special space, here on SDN. I’ve gotta hand it to them... for the most part it is a really great community of cool hard working individuals.
Do you regret leaving med school? I had doubts when I interviewed and wasn't sure if that was the right path for me and was interested due to it being a good use of my science skills.
 

Awesome Sauceome

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Do you regret leaving med school? I had doubts when I interviewed and wasn't sure if that was the right path for me and was interested due to it being a good use of my science skills.

Sort of answered this previously; but overall not one bit. I definitely had a crisis when I left and wanted to have the comfort of a high pay check and career path like medicine provided; but yeah no regrets. I like that I am on my way to making physician salary, I get to work remote a ton, I like building and fixing stuff (stuff that requires some real brain power).

Overall I would say that my science background only mildly comes in handy, overall is not useful. I suppose it is kind of relevant for debugging - where it is like thick problem solving. I suppose that reminded me of working in the lab, where you run an experiment and see the outcome and then adjust accordingly.

Same advice as I have given previously, it costs you no money to give it a try. You will never know until you give it a crack. It will either further seed doubt that medicine is a good path; or it will solidify your conviction that you are on the path for you. Either way is good.
 
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golfman7

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Yeah to be honest I did well in the science classes and decided to go for it... now I realize that is not my path and don’t want to spend life in field. And yeah I barely use my science background with my major now... I will probably view my science as a hobby but not my career. Construction does not require science at all and won’t need to worry about chem lab reports. I have liked it a lot at my college and made good friends etc... glad things turned out this way too. Whole process made me reevaluate my life and where I was going
Sort of answered this previously; but overall not one bit. I definitely had a crisis when I left and wanted to have the comfort of a high pay check and career path like medicine provided; but yeah no regrets. I like that I am on my way to making physician salary, I get to work remote a ton, I like building and fixing stuff (stuff that requires some real brain power).

Overall I would say that my science background only mildly comes in handy, overall is not useful. I suppose it is kind of relevant for debugging - where it is like thick problem solving. I suppose that reminded me of working in the lab, where you run an experiment and see the outcome and then adjust accordingly.

Same advice as I have given previously, it costs you no money to give it a try. You will never know until you give it a crack. It will either further seed doubt that medicine is a good path; or it will solidify your conviction that you are on the path for you. Either way is good.
in
 

golfman7

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Problem solving skills I obtained and professionalism in reports certainly has carried over though....
Sort of answered this previously; but overall not one bit. I definitely had a crisis when I left and wanted to have the comfort of a high pay check and career path like medicine provided; but yeah no regrets. I like that I am on my way to making physician salary, I get to work remote a ton, I like building and fixing stuff (stuff that requires some real brain power).

Overall I would say that my science background only mildly comes in handy, overall is not useful. I suppose it is kind of relevant for debugging - where it is like thick problem solving. I suppose that reminded me of working in the lab, where you run an experiment and see the outcome and then adjust accordingly.

Same advice as I have given previously, it costs you no money to give it a try. You will never know until you give it a crack. It will either further seed doubt that medicine is a good path; or it will solidify your conviction that you are on the path for you. Either way is good.
l
 

Awesome Sauceome

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Yeah to be honest I did well in the science classes and decided to go for it... now I realize that is not my path and don’t want to spend life in field. And yeah I barely use my science background with my major now... I will probably view my science as a hobby but not my career. Construction does not require science at all and won’t need to worry about chem lab reports. I have liked it a lot at my college and made good friends etc... glad things turned out this way too. Whole process made me reevaluate my life and where I was going

in

Oh sorry, I should’ve read your post better. Looks like you have already settled well into another career path, good on you.

Yeah I mean again, I suppose I do find interesting little ways that my degree surfaces. I am sure there is a general scientists mindset that will always be a part of me. But ultimately looking back, the biggest problem with my undergrad was the return on investment...

For instance I paid like $90k for my undergrad for a degree that only breaks 6 figures for most people after like 10+years (whether as a scientist, doctor, whatever), and usually with more upfront investment of additional (expensive) degrees.

Meanwhile I was just accepted to a couple masters programs in computer science and software engineering that are < $20k and will have a minimum 4x return on investment first year out...

I suppose that is where any pains of regret in my original wandering of undergrad and med school come from. Because let’s face it, I was very likely going to become a pediatrician. Which is great, I actually know a lot of very happy pediatricians. But at $550k debt for the pay of a pediatrician (even most of the fellowship trained specialties)... get out of here... That is just a silly rate of return and a lot of life I would be giving up to get there, and a lot of years of delayed income in between. It is really not that hard to hit a pediatrician income in a variety of other fields and investment strategies.
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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Andddd now that I saw that, I suppose it sounds like I am some money hungry monster or something.

Obviously that is not the case, if you follow a lot of what I have been writing about it is in the context of finding work that you enjoy and fits your life goals (or at the very least doesn’t cause too much trouble).

Where the money comes in is more of a root of having a family, which many students, myself at the time, just don’t 100% get yet.

The purpose of money for me is ultimately freedom to have more time with family. So essentially the career that fits me personally is one that is the best bang for my buck and causes the least amount of damage with regards to family time. Unbeknown to younger me, that is and has been goal #1. An in reality goal #2 is finding truly fulfilling work. In college I had them flipped, as if I could only be fulfilled doing ONE job ever, forever.

You start to realize that there are some gray areas in career fulfillment and incomes needed. I found that my field lands a nice middle ground on pretty much everything required for a good life (my definition at least).

Ok starting to ramble...
 
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golfman7

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Oh sorry, I should’ve read your post better. Looks like you have already settled well into another career path, good on you.

Yeah I mean again, I suppose I do find interesting little ways that my degree surfaces. I am sure there is a general scientists mindset that will always be a part of me. But ultimately looking back, the biggest problem with my undergrad was the return on investment...

For instance I paid like $90k for my undergrad for a degree that only breaks 6 figures for most people after like 10+years (whether as a scientist, doctor, whatever), and usually with more upfront investment of additional (expensive) degrees.

Meanwhile I was just accepted to a couple masters programs in computer science and software engineering that are < $20k and will have a minimum 4x return on investment first year out...

I suppose that is where any pains of regret in my original wandering of undergrad and med school come from. Because let’s face it, I was very likely going to become a pediatrician. Which is great, I actually know a lot of very happy pediatricians. But at $550k debt for the pay of a pediatrician (even most of the fellowship trained specialties)... get out of here... That is just a silly rate of return and a lot of life I would be giving up to get there, and a lot of years of delayed income in between. It is really not that hard to hit a pediatrician income in a variety of other fields and investment strategies.
I agree... I kind of chose it randomly at 18 because I saw specialty salaries but did not know competition etc nor debt and lifestyle. I dont think it is worth it unless you love helping people. Doing it to be rich is a dumb reason I think... and yeah I am looking at making 60K starting and theres ample job growth and career options in my field also.
 

golfman7

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Andddd now that I saw that, I suppose it sounds like I am some money hungry monster or something.

Obviously that is not the case, if you follow a lot of what I have been writing about it is in the context of finding work that you enjoy and fits your life goals (or at the very least doesn’t cause too much trouble).

Where the money comes in is more of a root of having a family, which many students, myself at the time, just don’t 100% get yet.

The purpose of money for me is ultimately freedom to have more time with family. So essentially the career that fits me personally is one that is the best bang for my buck and causes the least amount of damage with regards to family time. Unbeknown to younger me, that is and has been goal #1. An in reality goal #2 is finding truly fulfilling work. In college I had them flipped, as if I could only be fulfilled doing ONE job ever, forever.

You start to realize that there are some gray areas in career fulfillment and incomes needed. I found that my field lands a nice middle ground on pretty much everything required for a good life (my definition at least).

Ok starting to ramble...
I have phone interviews with Amtrak, WSP in Oakland and meeting local company for full time job. I have also done really well in school which I am excited about!
 

GTown

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This has been fascinating to read!

I’m leaving a career in pharma (6 figure salary 5 years into working) to go to medical school. Lol.

However medical school has always been my goal, I just had to wait for the right time did to personal reasons.
 

Awesome Sauceome

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Something else interesting to think about, along the lines of “only one career will fulfill me,” is the concept that most people, if given the option, do shift and move around careers in their lifetime.

Again, the only implication with regards to medical education is simply the investment of time and money. It is easy to say move from being a top paid developer to real estate if you have a lean life and low debt. In that situation you can afford to have low income while you establish a new business or something along those lines.

But that $300k debt from med school is a ball and chain. And I think that is where a lot of dissatisfaction comes from in the medical world.

Everyone has seasons of liking, and seasons of disliking their jobs, many people in fact jump around to different careers when they hit that negative season. But when you have debt, and you’ve been trained (via many many years of school) to think that being a doctor is the only way, then I think you can get trapped in some disillusionment.
 
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Awesome Sauceome

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This has been fascinating to read!

I’m leaving a career in pharma (6 figure salary 5 years into working) to go to medical school. Lol.

However medical school has always been my goal, I just had to wait for the right time did to personal reasons.

How was pharma? What sorts of challenges did you face in that career pathway?

What ultimately led you away from it?
 

GTown

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How was pharma? What sorts of challenges did you face in that career pathway?

What ultimately led you away from it?

Pharma is exciting! I work to develop car-t cell therapies. so a lot of dealing with academic labs on helping them improve and commercialize their process so patients can benefit ASAP. It's fascinating in that aspect. It's human cell engineering and you are developing therapies for people that nothing else has worked for. It's incredibly rewarding work as well as challenging because each patient will have different results and the process will have to always be modified accordingly.

Initially just getting a job was challenging. You can't get anything with just a bachelors but I have a masters. However I did eventually find what I was looking for to keep me in the direction I wanted to stay. Challenges that I encountered after I started working were many but the biggest being the red tape of drug development, as annoying as it is - it's absolutely needed. I'm a huge stickler for documentation and transparency in that regard being in pharma. Barring that, day to day challenge when I first started working was just figuring out a whole new language. I came in from a masters program that I felt prepared me very well, but still felt a little bombarded at first. You have to be real quick at grasping what's happening and what's needed. You need to be able to understand, evaluate and manipulate data so you can see trends, causalities, and areas of improvement in your process. Learning new technology, new software is very important to keep up to date with equipment and processes that will make development easier/efficient/reproducible. Also you can be dealing with socially awkward people at times, or people with really big egos. So you have to learn to manage personalities when working together towards a shared goal. However these are probably very similar challenges encountered in any other field.

I put medical school on hold following my mom's death as I wasn't ready emotionally to be around very sick patients just yet. I however knew medicine is what I wanted to do ultimately. After a few years I started shadowing in ICUs to see if I was ready and able to handle it emotionally. And I was. So I retook the MCAT, applied and got in. I had to defer a year because I found out I was pregnant 2 months before classes started. So that added an extra delay, however everything works out as it's meant to. But the impetus to even explore my emotional readiness came after an assay I helped develop was used to clear a gene therapy for clinical trials. Currently it's a rockstar therapy for an orphan disease. Anyhow, getting feedback from the physicians in the clinical trials was amazing and I felt that okay I'm ready to be on that side of patient care now.

Anyone that thinks they're going to get rich and make lots of money as a doctor - you very well may. But if you're looking to earn a good salary and have a good lifestyle - you're going to have to sacrifice that many times as a physician. Your work will and should always come first. My husband is a physician and it's all he's wanted to do and he's great at what he does. But he also misses things if an organ is suddenly available, he's there. If there's a trauma that comes in, he has to stay until whenever. Things like that come up and we take them in stride. And he's still paying off student loans, as in most of his income goes to loan payments and we live on my income until I start school.

I think to truly be happy in medicine, you have to have a true calling for it. If you think you'll be making big bucks and it won't matter - not true. Unless you get into derm, rads, anesthesia, radonc, IR, ortho, pain, cards, optho, etc you will probably just earn a normal 6 figure salary that you could in another field (pharma for example). The people going into the above mentioned fields and the such are not necessarily gunners, but do know what they want, enjoy it and have likely had a career trajectory getting them to that point. Either dedicated research, dedicated aways, killer board scores, or a former career closely related to it (like me), or some combination of all.

That said, I know many physicians my age that are finishing residencies or are recent attendings that are looking to switch specialties because they chose their current specialty as 22-24 year olds and never truly enjoyed them. So you could do medicine and still 'switch careers' so to speak.

Good luck to everyone! If anyone has non-trad route to med school questions - I'm always happy to help!
 
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