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Tappinfool66

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I put "doubts" for lack of a better word. I don't mean that I can't see myself being a doctor and being happy, but rather that I can see myself doing other things and being happy. What really has me worried is going through the years and years of commitment and realizing too late that I regret it. I'm a Spanish major studying abroad in northern Spain this semester. I'll have one school year left (2012-2013) when I get back to the US. I still have to take Physics I & II and the MCAT. I was going to shadow and volunteer during that year and the year after while applying to medical school.

However, I'm really starting to fall in love with Spanish, as well as other languages, and I find language acquisition fascinating. I recently started thinking about studying abroad in Argentina next spring, but that throws a wrench in things. I'd have to somehow take Physics I & II before leaving, as well as the MCAT, or just wait until I got back to figure it all out. So I started thinking about what things would be like if I didn't become a doctor, if I'd be okay with the decision, if I'd regret it, etc. But I can't say for sure because I haven't had any experience yet that's made me sure that I want to be a doctor, nor have I had one that's turned me away from medicine. I honestly think I could see myself doing something related to language but I just don't know.

So I guess my question is, how are we supposed to know that medicine is for us? How did you guys realize your were sure (or relatively sure) that medicine was for you before deciding to apply and/or actually applying? What made you realize that? Does shadowing/volunteering do it? Is there something else worth doing to find out? Or is it just something you're supposed to know since you could remember? Help me out here guys because I'm really lost and I don't know what to do.
 

kexy

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You could always hold off on deciding. There's no reason you'd have to apply next spring--you could go to Argentina, take a gap year, take Physics II and the MCAT, figure out for sure what you want to do, and then apply during the summer of 2014.

You could also take Physics I over the summer, Physics II during the fall, go to Argentina in the spring, and then take a June or July MCAT and apply in summer of 2013.

I was in a very similar situation at the start of my junior year. I was interested in medicine, but I had outside interests as well (for me, philosophy, law, and bioethics), and while shadowing/clinical volunteering could tell me that I was interested in medicine, they could not tell me that I was MORE interested in medicine than I was in those other things. I ended up choosing medicine because I figured that I would be happy in both fields. However, if I regretted choosing medicine over my other interests, I could always incorporate those other interests into my medical career. The reverse is not true--I could not just incorporate medicine into an academic career in philosophy. I feel like something similar could be true for you. You could probably incorporate the study of linguistics and language acquisition into a career in psychiatry, neurology, or even pediatrics. You could travel to Spanish-speaking countries and do service work and/or research as a physician. But as a linguist, you can never practice medicine.

I think for a lot of people, applying to medical school is just a leap of faith. An informed and educated leap of faith, but a leap nonetheless. No or very few experiences you can have as a pre-med can tell you whether you will enjoy medicine when you're 40. But if you're truly torn, I would strongly advise taking a year off to fully explore your other interests before committing the next decade to medicine. Interesting real-world experience will only help your application to med school. :luck:
 

MedBound1

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I was in a similar spot as you for a bit. Upon graduation, I had the same 'I could see myself doing a lot of things and being happy' mindset. I graduated in valedictorian of my college class in biomedical engineering. My entire family prior to me has been engineers, parents, brothers, cousins, etc. there's not a single doctor in my family. I decided to work for a global medical device company during my gap year to see what it was like (from what I had heard, it was pretty nice.. 40 hr weeks, 8-5 and then you're free.. etc. etc.). Well after a year I knew that medicine was the path I was born to take. I longed for the clinical exposure, to make a difference in peoples lives, and could easily see myself working 80 hrs/week as a physician and enjoy my career life more than 40 hrs as an engineer. I'm very glad I had the experience, if i had gone straight to med school, I'd probably be in residency wondering 'why did I choose these insane hours over an 8-5 job making good money', but now I have no doubts whatsoever of what I was meant to do.

Like kexy said, in many ways it is a leap of faith. There's no reason you have to rush into anything though. It sounds like you've got some great life experiences lined up, and those will only help your perspective and diversity for a future career in medicine. Make sure you keep your GPA up, take all the necessary pre-reqs, etc so that its not a big hassle to go to medicine. But what year cycle you apply hardly matters. Go experience life, if you are meant for medicine, I promise you will hear the calling.
 
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medicine is something that most people fall into. I got lucky and had an early experience that made me realize medicine was for me and sort of fell into it (if I didn't, I never would have known). I was previously set on becoming a finance guy when I was young.
 

LizzyM

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If there is something else that might make you happy, consider it. Medicine is a long, hard road and once you start medical school it is very hard to leave the path and do something else.

Shadow some physicians and see what they do all day. Also try to learn more about researchers in the fields of linguistics, psychology and audiology as it relates to language acquisition. If you are interested in the science of language acquisition, and you think you would enjoy being an investigator and professor, this might be a road for you. If you are more interested in helping individuals who are having problems with language acquisition you might consider a career in speech therapy.

Your career guidance office might have other ideas for you but this is what comes to mind just off the top of my head.
 

Bacchus

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Do not rush. You need to get the significant experience of shadowing, in a few fields, to see if you want to enter this circus.

Even as a soon-to-be MS4, woah :scared:, there are other fields I could see myself going into: teaching, student affairs, Mythbusters host ;). However, as Lizzy said, once you begin this road it is hard to turn around or deviate from it.

With that said, if I think about my motives for entering medical school and now the specialty I want to pursue, not much has changed and to me thats a big indicator I made the right choice to attend medical school. Of course, I wouldnt expect you to have that hindsight because your at the beginning of the road.

So, until you get some real experience, you wont know if this is the appropriate choice. You need to shadow.
 

7175pank

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With that said, if I think about my motives for entering medical school and now the specialty I want to pursue, not much has changed and to me thats a big indicator I made the right choice to attend medical school. Of course, I wouldnt expect you to have that hindsight because your at the beginning of the road.

Do you think it changes for most people?
 

Bacchus

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Do you think it changes for most people?
In the grand scheme of things, no. You have the same motives I would think.

Regarding specialty? Absolutely. You're shaped by your mentors, or that's what I've found to be true for my classmates. Parents, good preceptors, excellent residents all steer you to a field. You like them, you like the field.
 
C

cowme

There is no way to KNOW that it is right for you. You take a leap of faith that it is the correct decision. Judging by recent surveys, you have a 50-50 chance of being happy with your choice
 

dmf2682

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I like Lizzy's suggestion to shadow linguists. Man, if I had shadowed engineers when I was in undergrad who knows where I'd be now
 

plumhill

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You're allowed to have other passions outside of the sciences. The wonderful thing about medicine is that it does embrace and utilize a variety of interests and passions, and I think medical schools also welcome such diversity. Doing a study abroad in Argentina will be a tremendous opportunity, both for yourself personally and professionally...so you should go for it! Especially considering this country's demographics, your interest (and I"m assuming fluency) in Spanish will be welcomed and appreciated, and you don't necessarily have to give that up if you become a physician.
 

Rocher

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I put "doubts" for lack of a better word. I don't mean that I can't see myself being a doctor and being happy, but rather that I can see myself doing other things and being happy. What really has me worried is going through the years and years of commitment and realizing too late that I regret it. I'm a Spanish major studying abroad in northern Spain this semester. I'll have one school year left (2012-2013) when I get back to the US. I still have to take Physics I & II and the MCAT. I was going to shadow and volunteer during that year and the year after while applying to medical school.

However, I'm really starting to fall in love with Spanish, as well as other languages, and I find language acquisition fascinating. I recently started thinking about studying abroad in Argentina next spring, but that throws a wrench in things. I'd have to somehow take Physics I & II before leaving, as well as the MCAT, or just wait until I got back to figure it all out. So I started thinking about what things would be like if I didn't become a doctor, if I'd be okay with the decision, if I'd regret it, etc. But I can't say for sure because I haven't had any experience yet that's made me sure that I want to be a doctor, nor have I had one that's turned me away from medicine. I honestly think I could see myself doing something related to language but I just don't know.

So I guess my question is, how are we supposed to know that medicine is for us? How did you guys realize your were sure (or relatively sure) that medicine was for you before deciding to apply and/or actually applying? What made you realize that? Does shadowing/volunteering do it? Is there something else worth doing to find out? Or is it just something you're supposed to know since you could remember? Help me out here guys because I'm really lost and I don't know what to do.

I also studied abroad in Spain for a semester (Segovia), was a Spanish major, and also had the same thoughts that you're having. Realize that because you are in Spain having the time of your life, you are going to be biased towards doing something that could prolong the awesomeness that is life right now.

I had nearly convinced myself out of going to med school while I was in Spain. Once I had been back for a while, however, I realized that although I love Spanish, medicine is in my core and I couldn't shake it. I just knew this is what I wanted to do. Take some time off, go to Argentina if you want. I'm all for studying abroad and once you start med school you'll never get the chance again. Once the honeymoon phase of traveling wears off, you'll realize what you truly want to do.
 
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