I am incredibly grateful to have been accepted at several MD schools for the upcoming year. However, since taking the MCAT and applying this summer, I’ve received a lot of feedback from both doctors and medical professionals that pursuing a career as a physician is unwise if I could possible see myself doing something else. I feel like I had my head down, charging determinedly down this path without looking up continuously to make sure it was really the path I thought it was. I feel like I had these warnings earlier along the path but that I ignored them out of arrogance, that I thought “better of myself” than a career in allied health, without even understanding what those careers involved. This previous immaturity has created a lot of anxiety for me in the present time. After previous extensive research and shadowing experience in a clinical setting, as well as through people-serving extracurriculars, the premise of medicine is still what I want to do. But now I’m not sure I could ever be my happiest, whole self in this field. The idea of becoming a PA or NP sounds great, but I really wanted to specialize in some form of sports or pain practice (I.e. PM&R, FM-sports, anesthesia-pain). It doesn’t seem like I’d ever get that kind of training as an NP, PA or PT. I am also really anxious about the debt. Money has been tight in my family most of my life, and part of me is just so eager to get into the workforce so I can be more financially helpful to my family. I also am a woman, and I never wanted to let that stop me from pursuing ANYTHING in life, but I find myself very determined to be a good mother (no kids yet), and it sounds like medicine is still not super a conducive environment to women who want to be present mothers. Though I have heard other health careers, particularly genetic counseling and NP, are less punishing towards women who chose to take a year off with their newborn, or work part time during the earliest years of their children’s lives.
Should I try to defer a year and work? Or just go for it and drop out after a year if I realize there’s no way I could be happy in medicine? Is it reasonable to try to transfer to a PA or PT or NP program from medical school if I am in good standing? If I dropped out on my own accord (I.e. in good standing), would that reflect poorly to employers? WWYD. I’ve never felt so lost in my entire life.
My apologies if I come off as ungrateful or arrogant. I am extremely humbled to even have this decision to make, but I am equally scared. I appreciate all advice.
Should I try to defer a year and work?
- Possibly, as it seems you are unsure. HOWEVER, not all schools allow for deferrals, and of those that do, they often only do so in cases of military service, personal illness, or familial illness, or something similar in nature/severity of those listed.
Or just go for it and drop out after a year if I realize there’s no way I could be happy in medicine?
- By doing this, you'd effectively be stealing a seat from someone else who may be on the waitlist who REALLY wants to be a doctor and won't drop out.
Is it reasonable to try to transfer to a PA or PT or NP program from medical school if I am in good standing?
- This is UNreasonable. PA, PT, and NP are all different - different pre-reqs, different coursework and teaching styles. PA is the most closely related, and even though it is less depth, the coursework is still not an equivalent, and thus no transferring. Also, there are numerous PA schools that WILL NOT take someone who previously matriculated to medical school (and some are less restricted in that they wont take a previous med student once they've taken a board exam). As for NP, you must be an RN first, or be in one of the combined programs that makes you eligible by allowing you to write the NCLEX. PT is a completely different field - although yes it overlaps just as the others do, it's not medicine - it's therapy. Very different teaching models, goals, depth, etc.
If I dropped out on my own accord (I.e. in good standing), would that reflect poorly to employers?
- They probably wouldn't know as you never really have to submit transcripts to employers - just your resume or CV, which since you will have dropped out, it wouldn't be included.
WWYD. I’ve never felt so lost in my entire life.
- This decision is yours and yours alone. What is your reasoning for pursuing medicine in the first place to get the the point of having multiple MD acceptances? This answer may help guide some advice in addition to what you already provided for concerns.