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Med School or Athletic Training?

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luckypenny555

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Hi all,

I need a little input. I am about to head out to med school, and the past couple months I have been agonizing over whether or not it's the right choice for me. Virtually my entire life, I thought I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I find medicine extremely interesting, and during my hundreds of hours of shadowing and volunteering to try to get into med school, I really loved everything about the profession. But looking back on the experience and misery I went through to get here, I'm starting to doubt if this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I basically gave up my undergrad to study obsessively to get the grades I needed to get in, and now I have to move thousands of miles away from friends and family to an area where I know no one, sink myself into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and give up on having any sort of life for nearly a decade. I knew from the start that medicine was about sacrifice, and the physicians I know amaze me with their selflessness and dedication to their patients. But as I'm teetering on the edge of no-turning back, I'm wondering if I wouldn't be happier doing athletic training (as a life-long athlete, sports pulled me through some of the hardest times of my life and will always be a passion of mine.) I know getting into med school is a huge honor, and I know if I turn away from it now, I will probably never have another shot at it. From those who have experience in med school: would you choose this path again? Why or why not? Pros and cons? Any input would be greatly appreciated! For those who have experience with athletic training, did you choose a career in it? Why or why not?
 

Tenk

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There are very few career paths that have this much payout at the end of the tunnel. It sucks getting here, but it's worth it. Good luck.
 

zeppelinpage4

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I had doubts just before starting med school, for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I was exhausted after jumping through all the pre-med hoops and making my share of sacrifices.

Though the process has been harder than I imagined, and I had a number of setbacks.

Looking back on the last 3 years, I don't actually regret my choice to go. I've grown a lot and there have been meaningful experiences I had with patients, other docs, and peers which make me feel like the sacrifices were worth it.

PM me if you'd like.
 

Dreamislandcaptive

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Go to med school as you've come this far. I know the feeling of thinking you will be happy in another career but I got news for you. With every career you have to sacrifice something so pick your poison and get on with it. Medical school is gonna be hard, brutal, even painful but it's gonna be worth it.
 

Goro

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All new endeavors are fraught with anxiety.

You'll be fine.


Hi all,

I need a little input. I am about to head out to med school, and the past couple months I have been agonizing over whether or not it's the right choice for me. Virtually my entire life, I thought I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I find medicine extremely interesting, and during my hundreds of hours of shadowing and volunteering to try to get into med school, I really loved everything about the profession. But looking back on the experience and misery I went through to get here, I'm starting to doubt if this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I basically gave up my undergrad to study obsessively to get the grades I needed to get in, and now I have to move thousands of miles away from friends and family to an area where I know no one, sink myself into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and give up on having any sort of life for nearly a decade. I knew from the start that medicine was about sacrifice, and the physicians I know amaze me with their selflessness and dedication to their patients. But as I'm teetering on the edge of no-turning back, I'm wondering if I wouldn't be happier doing athletic training (as a life-long athlete, sports pulled me through some of the hardest times of my life and will always be a passion of mine.) I know getting into med school is a huge honor, and I know if I turn away from it now, I will probably never have another shot at it. From those who have experience in med school: would you choose this path again? Why or why not? Pros and cons? Any input would be greatly appreciated! For those who have experience with athletic training, did you choose a career in it? Why or why not?
 

chirurgeon

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Ditto to all of the above - don't forget, you will bond with your classmates, many of whom will be in the same situation as you. No one goes through the process to be a med student or a resident; in the end you will be an autonomous medical professional with a level of financial security, career longevity, and professional prestige that few other professions in America can offer. Also, you can still incorporate your love of athletics into your medical work - sports medicine, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation and orthopedic surgery are all fields with relevance to the athlete.

You can also PM me if you need perspective from the end of the tunnel (5 years attending and lovin' life!)
 

luckypenny555

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Thank you all so much for your kind replies!! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, it's definitely reassuring to hear so many positive experiences!
 

purplefrog13

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I was an athletic training all throughout high school and started as an athletic training major in college. I made it two years, before I realized that I needed to become a physician for the level of care I wanted to give and the understanding I needed. I love athletic training--it's an amazing. If you have specific questions, PM me.

I think what it comes down to is a few things: the level of care you want to provide (athletic trainers provide rehab, treatment, preventative care like taping, bracing ,etc. you design treatment and rehab plans, but treatment is solely through modalities...vs physician level of care), level of gratitude you want (unfortunately, athletic training is a VERY underappreciated job by lots of people...but this happens as a physician as well), lifestyle (pay differences are quite large), and perhaps others. A lot of athletic trainer's I know go on to get higher degrees--at the very least a Master's, if not a PhD ( if you want to be on the academic side, which still has clinical practice). Some others I know changed career paths--PA seems to be the route a lot of people go.

If you haven't shadowed an athletic trainer, you should find someone in whatever field you want to go into- clinic, high school, college, etc and talk to them. Ask questions, go through at least a full day if not more.

For me, my love of sports and athletic training is resulting in my desire to keep working around the sports medicine field. That is always an option for you.

I do disagree- if you got into school once, you can likely do it again. One option would be to get your Master's in Athletic Training, see if you like it. If not...apply again to med school, you'll have an entirely new aspect of clinical experience on top of a second degree.

Best of luck.
 
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Stagg737

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    Ditto to all of the above - don't forget, you will bond with your classmates, many of whom will be in the same situation as you. No one goes through the process to be a med student or a resident; in the end you will be an autonomous medical professional with a level of financial security, career longevity, and professional prestige that few other professions in America can offer. Also, you can still incorporate your love of athletics into your medical work - sports medicine, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation and orthopedic surgery are all fields with relevance to the athlete.

    I wasn't a trainer, but I've been an athlete for my whole life, and OP's career goals sound somewhat similar to mine. The above is a short and sweet argument for taking the med school route. Going off of the bolded, you can always try and work as a team physician once you're practicing. I've met a lot of docs that were the team physician for various professional or college teams through shadowing and at my school. Even if you couldn't get in with a college or pro team, there are plenty of high schools that would love to have a physician come into their training room once or twice a month to check on rehab progress, potential major injuries, etc.

    Another reason for taking the physician route over athletic trainer is the flexibility. If you become a physician and realize you like something better than working with athletes, you can take a different path relatively easily. If you become an athletic trainer, you'll have to go back to school or get other certifications to do anything else other than be an athletic trainer.
     
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