forever-determined

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Feb 16, 2016
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    Hi everyone! I'm a senior in high school and I'm stressing out because I can't decide on a career. I know I'm young but I guess I kind of want to decide now because I like knowing what I'm getting myself into in college...if that makes sense...

    Just a little bit about me that might help with responses: I'm a well-rounded person, favorite topics in school are biology and psychology, I like chemistry but I'm not great at it, I enjoy math, I enjoy being the leader of several clubs but I can't make decisions on my own...I like to work together as a team to figure out a solution, I have trouble being assertive but I'm sure I can get better at it with practice, I'm organized and I like to plan ahead, I like talking to people and having conversations.

    I was accepted into Quinnipiac's entry level master's PA program (it's ranked #5 in the nation). I visited and talked to some PA students and they loved it. I really liked it except the school was a bit too small for me, and I felt like I didn't really fit in with the students (besides the PA ones). When I talked to other students and faculty there, they seemed to regard it highly. Being a PA seems so nice; you basically have the same duties as a doctor and interact with patients, but you have less schooling/tuition. When I shadowed a PA, time went by so quickly because I enjoyed it so much. However, my parents think I can do "better" and become a doctor, even though they know that's extremely stressful as well. My mom thinks if I became a PA, I would regret not becoming a doctor.

    At most of my schools, I chose neuroscience/pre-med track. I honestly find the brain so fascinating and would like to do research, too, especially because my grandma has Alzheimer's. I enjoyed learning and studying about it in bio and psych class. The reasons why I'm hesitant about not becoming a doctor are the amount of debt I'll be in and I don't know if I would like being the top leader of the healthcare team. I really don't want to take 20+ years to pay it off....also I'm scared that if I end up being a doctor, I could somehow regret not being a PA because I would've saved so much time/money.

    I have the option to do pre-pharmacy at a couple schools, too. I think the idea of helping patients understand their medication is very rewarding. When I talk to pharmacy students, they genuinely enjoy school and studying. However, when I shadowed a couple pharmacists, they all told me not to do it...I also found it kind of boring but it's something I can tolerate.

    I know the decision is up to me and I also need to shadow more, but I guess I'm just craving opinions. What do you think? PA, doctor, or pharmacist?
     

    grapp

    EMT-A Firefighter
    5+ Year Member
    Aug 1, 2015
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    1. Non-Student
      Shadow a doctor and see how you like it. Most won't succeed unless they want it too, I know when I shadowed a doctor it's all I imagine doing now. All the physcians I know have paid off their debt in 5-12 years. Even with a lower paying specialty and they still live a comfortable life style. Then again, many physicians assistants aren't as stressed and love their job.
       
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      Roayer

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      Dec 15, 2015
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      1. Pre-Medical
        Being a Physician is definitely the harder route, but you would make the most money out of it, however, money is not everything. I wouldn't be that concerned about debt just based off of all the doctors I have met. They all paid their loans off very quick, plus there are other options like the military for paying for medical school. If you already know pharmacy is boring, I would rule that out since you are trying to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. I also know several M.D's who also have a P.A degree so you are not limited from starting PA and going M.D. Overall, I would shadow both and see which one you genuinely enjoy doing better. Don't let someone pressure you into doing something you don't want just because you are smart enough to do it. I have seen how miserable that has made some of my friends, its not worth it.
         
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        randomguy123456

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        Oct 3, 2014
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        1. Medical Student
          Hi everyone! I'm a senior in high school and I'm stressing out because I can't decide on a career. I know I'm young but I guess I kind of want to decide now because I like knowing what I'm getting myself into in college...if that makes sense...

          Just a little bit about me that might help with responses: I'm a well-rounded person, favorite topics in school are biology and psychology, I like chemistry but I'm not great at it, I enjoy math, I enjoy being the leader of several clubs but I can't make decisions on my own...I like to work together as a team to figure out a solution, I have trouble being assertive but I'm sure I can get better at it with practice, I'm organized and I like to plan ahead, I like talking to people and having conversations.

          I was accepted into Quinnipiac's entry level master's PA program (it's ranked #5 in the nation). I visited and talked to some PA students and they loved it. I really liked it except the school was a bit too small for me, and I felt like I didn't really fit in with the students (besides the PA ones). When I talked to other students and faculty there, they seemed to regard it highly. Being a PA seems so nice; you basically have the same duties as a doctor and interact with patients, but you have less schooling/tuition. When I shadowed a PA, time went by so quickly because I enjoyed it so much. However, my parents think I can do "better" and become a doctor, even though they know that's extremely stressful as well. My mom thinks if I became a PA, I would regret not becoming a doctor.

          At most of my schools, I chose neuroscience/pre-med track. I honestly find the brain so fascinating and would like to do research, too, especially because my grandma has Alzheimer's. I enjoyed learning and studying about it in bio and psych class. The reasons why I'm hesitant about not becoming a doctor are the amount of debt I'll be in and I don't know if I would like being the top leader of the healthcare team. I really don't want to take 20+ years to pay it off....also I'm scared that if I end up being a doctor, I could somehow regret not being a PA because I would've saved so much time/money.

          I have the option to do pre-pharmacy at a couple schools, too. I think the idea of helping patients understand their medication is very rewarding. When I talk to pharmacy students, they genuinely enjoy school and studying. However, when I shadowed a couple pharmacists, they all told me not to do it...I also found it kind of boring but it's something I can tolerate.

          I know the decision is up to me and I also need to shadow more, but I guess I'm just craving opinions. What do you think? PA, doctor, or pharmacist?
          tldr, but I say it all comes down to the amount of time you want to spend your life in your future career. PA and pharmacist requires less amount of time/money/learning than becoming a doctor, but the benefits of becoming a doctor in terms of lifestyle/money immensely outweighs that of PA/pharmacist. So up to you. Willing to sacrifice more time for a better future?
           
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          Panis et Circenses

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          Sep 29, 2015
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            I'd say listen to your parent's advice. You may regret the decision not going all the way and becoming a physician. Maybe go to college for a few years, do more shadowing, and then make your decision. You probably shouldn't go with that early entry PA program if you aren't 100% set on it.
             
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            Kurk

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            Feb 18, 2016
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            1. Pre-Dental
              Disclaimer: I'm a high-school student myself

              My mom is a nurse practitioner and regrets not going through with medical school. Generally speaking, if you know you can do better, do it. Of course there are other variables involved like whether or not you're okay working 80+ hours a week with little time for a family or your hobbies, whether or not you're willing to go through such a long period of schooling with more stress than a PA or pharmacist. You really have to experience it for yourself.
               
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              PharmtoCS

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              Aug 2, 2011
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                Agree with the others: don't go pharmacy. You will end up with $200k+ student loans in a depressed job market. For those who do get jobs, the majority end up in retail where you have little autonomy or opportunities clinical decision-making and are treated more like a fast food worker.
                 
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                forever-determined

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                Feb 16, 2016
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                  Agree with the others: don't go pharmacy. You will end up with $200k+ student loans in a depressed job market. For those who do get jobs, the majority end up in retail where you have little autonomy or opportunities clinical decision-making and are treated more like a fast food worker.
                  Just wondering, do you know how easy it is to get a job even after a pharmacy residency?
                   

                  forever-determined

                  New Member
                  2+ Year Member
                  Feb 16, 2016
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                    I'd say listen to your parent's advice. You may regret the decision not going all the way and becoming a physician. Maybe go to college for a few years, do more shadowing, and then make your decision. You probably shouldn't go with that early entry PA program if you aren't 100% set on it.
                    I'm replying to this like 8 months late but thank you for the advice! I'm currently in a prepharmacy Program but I still have time to switch to premed if I want :)
                     

                    neoevolution

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                    Jun 4, 2012
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                      For a traditional student, I think the extra year of school and 3 minimum of residency isn't that much compared to decades spent as an attending (this can become a slippery slope though because people also argue this for very long training paths like multiple fellowships). And the debt isn't that much higher for a 4yr MD over 3yr PA, and the income is about double on average afterwards which makes up for it rather quickly. Unless you need to earn more sooner for some reason, I don't think time/money is a strong argument for choosing PA
                       
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