This is a somewhat rambling thread asking for advice, so if you're not in the mood to read through, then sorry! First off, let me start out that I'm currently a junior in college. I didn't decide on any career paths up to the summer before my junior year, when I joined a bioengineering lab and started research. Fast forward to now: For some reason, the professor of the lab seems to have very high expectations/hopes for me, and whenever he emails me, he mentions that I will make a very strong MD/PhD candidate and that he will help me. I myself would like to do MD/PhD; however, I am not 100% sure! There are many days when I feel that I just want to apply for an MD program and become a surgeon, and that an MD/PhD would be too long for me (8 years!). Normally, I wouldn't mind, but I am REALLY putting a priority on staying in California near my family (personal reasons). That puts another additional chore on me: California MD/PhDs are notoriously difficult to get into, let alone any MD/PhD in the US. Here's the catch: With all the constant support that my professor provides, I feel that I would be doing something akin to betraying him if I chose not to go for the PhD. I know all the usual about this being my life and that I'd have to choose my own path, but in the end, I feel that if I really did choose the MD path, I'd lose opportunities that I want in the future. And finally, here's another factor: I'm doing research this coming summer in another lab, and from what I hear, MD/PhD apps require at least two different letters of recs from two PIs. Since it would be unreasonable to ask the new PI for a rec when I've just started working there, I'd probably have to wait another year before applying. This is something that I do not want to do. What are your experiences with professors who have high hopes/expectations for grad/professional school of you that you aren't quite sure you want to meet? What I would especially like to know is, is it feasible to get the MD and PhD separately? Doing them separately makes it more likely that I'd stay in California for at least one of them, so I'm seriously considering that option. Sorry if parts of this sound like rambling; I've been stressing over this ever since junior year started. If I've missed anything, I'll come back and add more information.