loveoforganic

-Account Deactivated-
10+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2009
4,222
12
0
Status
You can only be so well educated about any "complex" career without having actually done that career. Medicine is nice in that aspect (at least in my admittedly uninformed eyes, in the sense that I haven't actually been a doctor) in that there are numerous very different routes you can pursue in the end. From pathology to pediatric primary care, you've got a pretty broad spectrum.
 

surftheiop

10+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2008
1,940
27
0
Status
You can only be so well educated about any "complex" career without having actually done that career. Medicine is nice in that aspect (at least in my admittedly uninformed eyes, in the sense that I haven't actually been a doctor) in that there are numerous very different routes you can pursue in the end. From pathology to pediatric primary care, you've got a pretty broad spectrum.
Also medicine is one of the few "complex" careers where someone will let you follow them around at work for a week.

I know so much more about what physicians do than I did about engineers when I applied to engineering school.
 
Jul 18, 2009
68
0
0
Status
Medical Student
How can you be so flippant? Especially as a school administrator? Here I am, asking for your guidance on how to be the best candidate possible not just on paper, but in my whole person, and you just write me off.

If even school administrators are not willing to take the time or effort to help cultivate prospective students into realizing pure sentiments and motivations, then I think there's something seriously broken with the system. Either that or you are a special case.
Entitlement much? Sheesh.

Seriously, there are going to be people in your med school class (provided you get there) with 3 kids and a spouse who are interested in medicine because they have worked other careers, and chose medicine because it A.) is fairly stable and decently respected, B.) offers fair, although as we all know not necessarily extravagant compensation for the support of their families, C.) gives them the chance to work in a job doing a little service for others, something meaningful.

Personally, I would rather have the adult with a set of practical reasons for choosing medicine treating me, as opposed to the petulant child who rants at a member of an admissions committee who is going out of her way to try to be helpful.

You don't need to be called, or have had a lifelong inspired dream in order to be a good physician. Your dedication to your professional training and developement makes you a good physician. Medical schools want to train good physicians, and are interested in students who have shown diligence and committment in their undergraduate education, and in their consideration of medicine as a career, period. It's simple. I don't get why this is hard.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
Entitlement much? Sheesh.

Seriously, there are going to be people in your med school class (provided you get there) with 3 kids and a spouse who are interested in medicine because they have worked other careers, and chose medicine because it A.) is fairly stable and decently respected, B.) offers fair, although as we all know not necessarily extravagant compensation for the support of their families, C.) gives them the chance to work in a job doing a little service for others, something meaningful.

Personally, I would rather have the adult with a set of practical reasons for choosing medicine treating me, as opposed to the petulant child who rants at a member of an admissions committee who is going out of her way to try to be helpful.

You don't need to be called, or have had a lifelong inspired dream in order to be a good physician. Your dedication to your professional training and developement makes you a good physician. Medical schools want to train good physicians, and are interested in students who have shown diligence and committment in their undergraduate education, and in their consideration of medicine as a career, period. It's simple. I don't get why this is hard.
It's not about whether you are a good physician or not, but whether the act of practicing medicine leads you to a state of actualization. You do not understand because you either have no conception of what actualization entails, or you have not seen fit to apply it to one's job as a physician.

If you belong in the former category, I can't communicate with you, because we're not on the same page.

If you belong in the latter, then I pose to you the following question: If you are like me and have no social obligations (i.e. children/spouse to support), would you rather go through the motions as a physician, albeit a good one, or would you find some way of actualizing yourself, whether it is through medicine or not?
 

lrkoehle

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2008
2,326
9
91
Tucson, AZ
Status
Medical Student
Entitlement much? Sheesh.

Seriously, there are going to be people in your med school class (provided you get there) with 3 kids and a spouse who are interested in medicine because they have worked other careers, and chose medicine because it A.) is fairly stable and decently respected, B.) offers fair, although as we all know not necessarily extravagant compensation for the support of their families, C.) gives them the chance to work in a job doing a little service for others, something meaningful.

Personally, I would rather have the adult with a set of practical reasons for choosing medicine treating me, as opposed to the petulant child who rants at a member of an admissions committee who is going out of her way to try to be helpful.

You don't need to be called, or have had a lifelong inspired dream in order to be a good physician. Your dedication to your professional training and developement makes you a good physician. Medical schools want to train good physicians, and are interested in students who have shown diligence and committment in their undergraduate education, and in their consideration of medicine as a career, period. It's simple. I don't get why this is hard.
:thumbup:

It's not about whether you are a good physician or not, but whether the act of practicing medicine leads you to a state of actualization. You do not understand because you either have no conception of what actualization entails, or you have not seen fit to apply it to one's job as a physician.

If you belong in the former category, I can't communicate with you, because we're not on the same page.

If you belong in the latter, then I pose to you the following question: If you are like me and have no social obligations (i.e. children/spouse to support), would you rather go through the motions as a physician, albeit a good one, or would you find some way of actualizing yourself, whether it is through medicine or not?
I haven't read this entire thread but dear god, what the hell are you looking for here? It seems to me that you have this unrealistic view of what medicine should be. If you honestly think its going to live up to your idealistic view, you're kidding yourself and in for a real disappointment in the real world.

Being a doctor is a job. Its not some stupid path to achieve actualization. Do your research to make sure its a job you'll be relatively happy at and go for it. If you find yourself hating shadowing, volunteering, and working with people, then do something else. Jesus, this is why I hate this philosophical crap.

Q: How do we all know if we've chosen medicine on our own, and therefore how do we know if its actually right for us.

A: Who gives a crap.

Oh and don't bother responding to my post, you have driven me away from the pre-allo forum. I'm going to go back to the school specific threads where this lame crap doesn't come up. Also, you owe me the last ten minutes of my life that you wasted with this worthless crap.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
:thumbup:
Being a doctor is a job. Its not some stupid path to achieve actualization.
There was a time when I would have agreed with this statement. And I think it's still generally true for most people, but I have reason to believe that it doesn't apply to everyone. I think there are people who genuinely derive actualization from this "job."
 
Jul 18, 2009
68
0
0
Status
Medical Student
:thumbup:

Being a doctor is a job. Its not some stupid path to achieve actualization. Do your research to make sure its a job you'll be relatively happy at and go for it. If you find yourself hating shadowing, volunteering, and working with people, then do something else. Jesus, this is why I hate this philosophical crap.
:thumbup:

It's not about whether you are a good physician or not, but whether the act of practicing medicine leads you to a state of actualization. You do not understand because you either have no conception of what actualization entails, or you have not seen fit to apply it to one's job as a physician.

If you belong in the former category, I can't communicate with you, because we're not on the same page.

If you belong in the latter, then I pose to you the following question: If you are like me and have no social obligations (i.e. children/spouse to support), would you rather go through the motions as a physician, albeit a good one, or would you find some way of actualizing yourself, whether it is through medicine or not?
Why are "social obligations" seen as being in apposition to actualization? As if any one career, or anything for that matter, could provide one with everything needed for "actualization" or "fulfillment" or "realization of self" or whatever BS buzzword the intelligentsia want to put on "not being miserable." A person should derive satisfaction and identify favorably with their career in order to be happy or "actualized." Duh. This isn't earth-shattering. If you get a rush out of playing the stock market and analyzing corporations, go into finance. If you like nurturing, and you have a deep curiousity for biological science, health care will probably provide you with some "actualization" of your true self.

However, when too much pressure is placed on a career to provide all of one's self-fulfillment, the career so often winds up letting the individual down. This is why I have known probably almost as many physician-alcoholics as physician-scientists (too bad the NIH doesn't have a grant for that!). In our generation of customization, where we can buy almost anything exactly how we want it, it sometimes comes as a shock to us that things like a career or a spouse don't provide us with 100% of the self-identity we've been striving for.

That's why I don't expect medicine to provide me with 100% of my fulfillment, and I have family, friendships, relationships and hobbies to make up the difference. I would rather be a whole person, who is part doctor, than totally a doctor, and only a fraction of a person, to answer your question.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
:thumbup:



Why are "social obligations" seen as being in apposition to actualization? As if any one career, or anything for that matter, could provide one with everything needed for "actualization" or "fulfillment" or "realization of self" or whatever BS buzzword the intelligentsia want to put on "not being miserable." A person should derive satisfaction and identify favorably with their career in order to be happy or "actualized." Duh. This isn't earth-shattering. If you get a rush out of playing the stock market and analyzing corporations, go into finance. If you like nurturing, and you have a deep curiousity for biological science, health care will probably provide you with some "actualization" of your true self.

However, when too much pressure is placed on a career to provide all of one's self-fulfillment, the career so often winds up letting the individual down. This is why I have known probably almost as many physician-alcoholics as physician-scientists (too bad the NIH doesn't have a grant for that!). In our generation of customization, where we can buy almost anything exactly how we want it, it sometimes comes as a shock to us that things like a career or a spouse don't provide us with 100% of the self-identity we've been striving for.

That's why I don't expect medicine to provide me with 100% of my fulfillment, and I have family, friendships, relationships and hobbies to make up the difference. I would rather be a whole person, who is part doctor, than totally a doctor, and only a fraction of a person, to answer your question.
This is a good answer. I respect you for this. What you assert may very well be the truth. However I am still personally dissatisfied with the contents of my own person as it applies to a career in medicine. But I recognize that that's something for me to work out.

Nevertheless, it still does not remove the unfortunate dynamic of self deception and overemphasis on the "how" rather than the "why" practiced by most premeds, and the application process that lends itself to this practice. The problem with "doing research" is that its utility is limited by human beings' tendency towards a confirmation bias. Like a person in love whose senses are blinded to the others' faults in the course of courtship and seduction, I think that many times that premeds will be blinded in their "research" to the red flags apparent to those not conditioned or enamored with the romance of medicine. How often do those in love make decisions that go against the advice of those with unclouded vision and better sense? In the end, for many of them, the love affair will turn into a rancid marriage full of prolonged disillusionment and agony.
 
Last edited:
Jun 25, 2009
44
0
0
Virginia
Status
Pre-Medical
This was definitely and interesting and thought-provoking post (considering I'm at work and I have the time to read it :) ). I think that it is true that we are all at at the point in our lives today by virtue of the conditioning we've experienced over the course of our lives. When considering what profession to enter, or to which subject you want to dedicate your time and other valuable resources to, you're going to balance out many different pro's & cons, costs & benefits, opportunity costs and the like. To discount the decisions we make based on the events that we've experienced to this point as trivial because they are not our own in the manner of the anecdote up there is kind of busted...because everyone is just a product of their experiences.

I spoke with a medical school admissions director before going to an interview at the school, and the fact that I had studied subjects outside of medicine seemed to completely turn her off from my candidacy. She had convinced herself that I wasn't interested in entering medicine of my own volition, but that it was a product of the fact that one of my parents is a physician. I would think that this fact would point to my appreciation and at least somewhat of a beyond-superficial consideration of the subject. I have an appreciation for several different subjects and I like to learn more about all of them (in addition to medicine, and the interaction of the medical field with so many different subjects), and I didn't think that seeking knowledge would be so shunned by an institution of higher learning.

When considering what you want to do with your life, you should look for a goal or objective that you want to achieve. Eventually, you're going to have to decide between one of many alternatives to meet such a goal....but medschools don't want you to be considering alternatives in the least. They seem to prefer that you decide solely on medicine, without consideration of other things..... or not...whatever, i'm just ranting as well :).
 

phospho

SDN Lifetime Donor
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2006
2,177
26
261
Columbus, OH
Status
Medical Student
Not Philo, English Lit. Close enough.

Maybe we could look at it from another perspective. Perhaps we who are aware of these dynamics can use the "euphemistic ideal" to our own advantage. Think about this possibility:

While we know (the cynicism preached by the attendings on SDN prove this) that the reality of medicine will always fall short of its romantic depiction (one we either truly believe or just fake believe for the adcoms), perhaps it's not a bad idea to strive after it, day after day.

Like an asymptote that climbs toward infinity but never quite reaches its asymptotic value, maybe we should, as pre-meds, med students, residents, attendings, chiefs of medicine, strive everyday, at every conscious moment, to climb higher on that steep asymptotic slope, to try to close that gap between reality and perfection.

To my thinking, this can be accomplished two ways: manipulation of one's own cognition, and manipulation of the external world.

If we manipulate the contents of our thoughts (mind your thoughts Anakin, for they betray you!) so as to in a way paint a selective portrait of medicine as something that befits the ideal. In other words, focus your thoughts exclusively on the parts that make the job the great and noble calling that it's often built up to be.

If we manipulate the external world, then we're talking about smoothing things out to make our time spent with medicine as "ideal" and "romantic" as possible. Perhaps that means hiring new people, reconstructing the clinic, changing relationships with colleagues and coworkers, etc.

To the extent that we utilize the first technique, we are essentially playing Don Quixote. Trading sensibility and awareness for happiness. This ideal may not appeal to some at first, especially for truth junkies like me. But the bottom line is, if the whole box of chocolates that is medicine sucks on the aggregate, there's nothing wrong with learning how to pick out the good ones.

The second option appeals to me more, but is not always possible. So it may be a good policy to do the latter as much as possible, and then further strive for the ideal via the former. Of course, undoubtedly, both are very difficult to accomplish on a day to day basis. Lord knows it's difficult to self-select your thoughts, but from experience I can tell you that it gets easier the more you practice.

But the point is, maybe we should change the way we approach this profession. If we are aware of the dissonance between the ideal and reality, maybe our job is not to lament it, but rather, to proactively fix it. The thing about that is, your job is never done. Your hardships never cease. You will always be making that steep climb. At the same time however, doing so may not be so difficult. I can tell from my own experience, and perhaps some of you can corroborate, that when I have a goal, when I'm trying to achieve an ideal state of being in one way or another, the work doesn't feel like work, no matter how "hard" it looks like from the outside. In fact, those times have been the happiest I've ever been in my life.

So perhaps our job is not to be passive in our acceptance of the reality of things, but to always strive to alter it, to mold it towards the ideal we cast on the outset of our journey, and do it until we're old and we retire. That way, not only are we being the best doctors we can be, but we are perpetually happy in the course of it. I can't conceive of a life more worth living than that.
Great thread. Your writing skills are refreshing (to say the least).
One of the "haters" is on the adcom of a prestigious medical school, FWIW. :rolleyes:
Not only is "prestigious" a VERY subjective term, but she has never even stated which medical school she works at.

A: Who gives a crap.

Oh and don't bother responding to my post, you have driven me away from the pre-allo forum. I'm going to go back to the school specific threads where this lame crap doesn't come up. Also, you owe me the last ten minutes of my life that you wasted with this worthless crap.
No one owes you anything. You chose to read this, and after reading the first few sentences, chose to read the rest of it. It might be way over your head, or it might be simply something you don't care much about - either way, no one told you to come and read this thread (or even post in it).

OP, I think most posters are turned off by the fact that your original post makes it seem like people who haven't done this kind of introspection are automatically making the wrong decision, which in my humble opinion isn't true. I do, however think that people who have gone through this introspection (and come out still wanting to pursue this) have a much less chance of burning out or hating their lives someday.

As a side note: I'm enjoying reading everyone's responses to LizzyM. Replies (such as "owned") to her posts make me smile, especially when these posters have no clue what the hell it is that they are responding to, or when clearly she doesn't even know what she's talking about (e.g. her first post when she assumes that the OP had the intentions of submitting this as a personal statement, and the plethora of subsequent replies either agreeing with her, taking her side, or giving her a thumbs up for "owning" the OP).

Not that I don't think she's been absolutely invaluable to this forum - I just wish people would use their heads before taking someone's side without knowing what the heck it is that that person is standing up for in the first place.

Again, great thread OP (and I love your handle)!
 

mooshika

Removed
Jan 13, 2010
312
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Having heard this strange, resonating and foreboding comment most of my life, each in different circumstances; will someone please explain to me what ARE the "Wrong Reasons" to do something?

"Don't do it for the wrong reasons!" (baaad things might happen...???)

"We did not hire you for this position because we think you want this job for all the wrong reasons." (WTF)

"I did it for all the wrong reasons." (gee, sorry.) But I did it and everything turned out just fine. Does the reason matter?

I imagine myself at a restaurant, looking to order an omlet, tell my companion, and they say, "Don't order it for the wrong reasons!" I say, "Im doing it for the eggs. Is that wrong" (huh?) they respond, "If they know that is why you are ordering it, they will not serve you. Your purposes are not high enough."

Are there some rules for medical school where you are not supposed to tell them that you are pleased with the decent income potential? I mean, I get the gist, but I just don't see how anyone can make it past the MCAT if they are truly shallow and "just in it for the money" (if that is, in fact, the wrong reason - seems like a great reason to me) there are other ways to get money that don't include as many fire hoops and spiked beds.

Moo
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
Are there some rules for medical school where you are not supposed to tell them that you are pleased with the decent income potential? I mean, I get the gist, but I just don't see how anyone can make it past the MCAT if they are truly shallow and "just in it for the money" (if that is, in fact, the wrong reason - seems like a great reason to me) there are other ways to get money that don't include as many fire hoops and spiked beds.
Moo
I don't quite know what you mean. Could you clarify?
 

BBender716

Med school drop out!
10+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2009
5,039
5
0
Illinoisville
Status
Non-Student
Great thread. Your writing skills are refreshing (to say the least).


Not only is "prestigious" a VERY subjective term, but she has never even stated which medical school she works at.



No one owes you anything. You chose to read this, and after reading the first few sentences, chose to read the rest of it. It might be way over your head, or it might be simply something you don't care much about - either way, no one told you to come and read this thread (or even post in it).

OP, I think most posters are turned off by the fact that your original post makes it seem like people who haven't done this kind of introspection are automatically making the wrong decision, which in my humble opinion isn't true. I do, however think that people who have gone through this introspection (and come out still wanting to pursue this) have a much less chance of burning out or hating their lives someday.

As a side note: I'm enjoying reading everyone's responses to LizzyM. Replies (such as "owned") to her posts make me smile, especially when these posters have no clue what the hell it is that they are responding to, or when clearly she doesn't even know what she's talking about (e.g. her first post when she assumes that the OP had the intentions of submitting this as a personal statement, and the plethora of subsequent replies either agreeing with her, taking her side, or giving her a thumbs up for "owning" the OP).

Not that I don't think she's been absolutely invaluable to this forum - I just wish people would use their heads before taking someone's side without knowing what the heck it is that that person is standing up for in the first place.

Again, great thread OP (and I love your handle)!
Forgive me for not clarifying phospho.

Prestigious IS subjective. Whenever I use the word prestigious from now on, I will clarify with "prestigious, as viewed by pre-meds and those familiar with medical schools". Sorry.

With regards to not knowing whether or not she works at a prestigious institution, it is well-known on this forum that she does. If you want a specific post proving it beyond a doubt, I would fail to find one, but ask anyone else who's hung around these forums long enough and they will support my claim.

Side note: I know exactly what I am responding to.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
With regards to not knowing whether or not she works at a prestigious institution, it is well-known on this forum that she does. If you want a specific post proving it beyond a doubt, I would fail to find one, but ask anyone else who's hung around these forums long enough and they will support my claim.
Why is this even a big deal?
 
Jul 18, 2009
68
0
0
Status
Medical Student
Nevertheless, it still does not remove the unfortunate dynamic of self deception and overemphasis on the "how" rather than the "why" practiced by most premeds, and the application process that lends itself to this practice. The problem with "doing research" is that its utility is limited by human beings' tendency towards a confirmation bias. Like a person in love whose senses are blinded to the others' faults in the course of courtship and seduction, I think that many times that premeds will be blinded in their "research" to the red flags apparent to those not conditioned or enamored with the romance of medicine. How often do those in love make decisions that go against the advice of those with unclouded vision and better sense? In the end, for many of them, the love affair will turn into a rancid marriage full of prolonged disillusionment and agony.
Oh, this is definitely true! I think it is especially true of people doing their first two years of undergrad, before they have been exposed to other things, like their Lib Ed. classes and doing work in a research lab. To continue the love metaphor, it's sometimes necessary to date others in order to really recognize when you run into something special. However, I do think it's especially important to really dig in and throw yourself deeply into a couple of things, rather than just drifting about, being non-committal and transiently involved with a ton of activities and call that "exposure."
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
OP, I think most posters are turned off by the fact that your original post makes it seem like people who haven't done this kind of introspection are automatically making the wrong decision
This was not my intention. I simply think they are leaving it to chance to a great degree, and in my opinion, life is too short for such a maneuver.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
Oh, this is definitely true! I think it is especially true of people doing their first two years of undergrad, before they have been exposed to other things, like their Lib Ed. classes and doing work in a research lab. To continue the love metaphor, it's sometimes necessary to date others in order to really recognize when you run into something special. However, I do think it's especially important to really dig in and throw yourself deeply into a couple of things, rather than just drifting about, being non-committal and transiently involved with a ton of activities and call that "exposure."
Good point.
 

45408

aw buddy
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2004
16,976
46
141
Status
Resident [Any Field]
While we know (the cynicism preached by the attendings on SDN prove this) that the reality of medicine will always fall short of its romantic depiction (one we either truly believe or just fake believe for the adcoms), perhaps it's not a bad idea to strive after it, day after day.
How do you know the attendings are preaching cynicism and not just reality?
 

45408

aw buddy
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2004
16,976
46
141
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Not only is "prestigious" a VERY subjective term, but she has never even stated which medical school she works at.
Just because you don't know doesn't mean that the rest of us don't.
 
May 15, 2009
156
1
0
Status
A child will cry if you tease him/her.

A child will cry if teased.

It isn't complicated.
I would hardly call the second sentence an improvement. They're both terrible. Use "them"; everyone understands what you mean, and it actually sounds like normal, spoken English.
 
Last edited:
Apr 6, 2010
154
3
0
Status
LizzyM said:
A child will cry if you tease him/her.

A child will cry if teased.

It isn't complicated.
I would hardly call the second sentence an improvement. They're both terrible. Use "them"; everyone understands what you mean, and it actually sounds like normal, spoken English.
Despite historical precedent, I think it sounds awful.

How about, "A child will cry if you tease him"? The non-gender-specific "he/him" has a much longer history even than the singular "them", and despite paleofeminists' whining about it, sounds elegant and is perfectly comprehensible to adults of normal intelligence or better.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
22,398
29,382
281
Status
Academic Administration
Sure, follow your ear. But frankly, him/her never sounds good.
 

Practitioner

SDN Lifetime Donor
Lifetime Donor
Jul 8, 2009
248
0
0
Delocalized
Status
Pre-Medical
Luckily, my philosophical pool is filled with mercury, and thus requires no more than half a centimer or so of depth to float that rubber ducky.

Shallow and dense thoughts for the win.
I had to laugh.


Seriously, tell us what you have done to test your interest in medicine as a career. If you entertained the possibility of another career, you can mention how you tested that interest and why you found it lacking.
Lizzy, so many of your posts are extraordinarily insightful to the things an adcom might be thinking. On one secondary essay that asked specifically about what/why I like medicine, I answered frankly "I don't know" elaborating that there was never a revelation but that through experiences working in the hospital and observing doctors my interest and desire to pursue medicine was reinforced.

I felt stupid later. I always do in hindsight. None of my experiences were really a test, they were more reaffirming and also helped develop my interests. Maybe expressing that wasn't so stupid.
 

QuizzicalApe

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
706
83
171
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Marginally related to what kind of honesty is truly desired from adcoms, it'll vary based on interviewer and school.

My fastest acceptance turn-around had been at a school where, when I was asked what made me want to become a doctor, I started with, "Well, in high school I spent a week sick on the couch and there was a M*A*S*H marathon on..."

other schools probably would have been less refreshed by my forthright response
 
Feb 20, 2010
221
1
0
Status
I think you're missing the point. It's not that I don't know how to frame a personal statement or narrative to please the adcoms and get me in. I can do that just fine. But I'd only be cheating myself in the long run. I want to live consciously and honestly, not go through the motions.
There will be many points in life where you there is a "conscious and honest" road and a "motions" road. Alas, adcoms receive thousands of applications a year, and they subconsciously read certain kinds of applications favorably, and others unfavorably.

I don't think it's unethical to craft an application that will be competitive according to the standards of the adcoms. Doing this is akin to sitting down before a final exam and trying to figure out what the professor will likely put as major questions on the exam, based on their lecture style and personal interests/predilections.

In an alternate world in which every adcom member were a philosopher, I would seriously support the OP using a spiffed-up version of that rant as a personal statement. It is clear that OP has thought more deeply about his/her personal character that the average pre-med, or even the average medical student (and I daresay, the average doctor). Unfortunately, in this world it is more likely that adcoms would read such a philosophical statement as "this kid is in it for the money," as LizzyM points out.

On a personal note, my interest in medicine started with an interest in science that was not pushed by my parents. I remember finding a book of dinosaur names in first grade and writing out their scientific names next to my doodles of them. I was the first kid in my grade to find out what deoxyribonucleic acid was. My parents were definitely NOT involved in making me do either of those things. In fact, because of my race I have to tell these stories at every interview, because the natural assumption is that I'm being led into medical school by my parents.

The TD:LR is that there are definitely hoops you need to jump though to get to the places you want in life. This is true regardless of whether you want to be a doctor, a teacher, or a philosopher. So don't feel bad about doing this--it is a function of the world's imperfections. The only question you need to ask yourself is whether your central intention is pure. Why did you keep going to tag along on rounds? Because it was interesting and you enjoyed the science and seeing patients in the morning, or because you kept telling yourself you needed to do that to get into medical school? If the former, then you will more than likely become a great doctor. If the latter, then you should search around some more and see if you like medicine or not. That is all.
 

cho15

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2009
152
0
141
Status
Pre-Medical
:thumbup:

I haven't read this entire thread but dear god, what the hell are you looking for here? It seems to me that you have this unrealistic view of what medicine should be. If you honestly think its going to live up to your idealistic view, you're kidding yourself and in for a real disappointment in the real world.

Being a doctor is a job. Its not some stupid path to achieve actualization. Do your research to make sure its a job you'll be relatively happy at and go for it. If you find yourself hating shadowing, volunteering, and working with people, then do something else. Jesus, this is why I hate this philosophical crap.

Q: How do we all know if we've chosen medicine on our own, and therefore how do we know if its actually right for us.

A: Who gives a crap.

Oh and don't bother responding to my post, you have driven me away from the pre-allo forum. I'm going to go back to the school specific threads where this lame crap doesn't come up. Also, you owe me the last ten minutes of my life that you wasted with this worthless crap.
I didn't read this entire thread b/c there's just way too much going on in here. However, your post stood out to me (along with others), but not in a good way. Although I respect your opinions and those of others who decide they want to chime in, I find rude posts very unbecoming. Though you may be rubbed the wrong way, your opinions will be taken more seriously if you act respectfully. I'm not singling you out by the way, your post was just the last rude/negative one I read.

Maybe the OP does hold an unrealistic view of what he thinks medicine should be, but I think that's fine in the sense that we should all strive to better what we can, despite knowing that "perfection" will never be fully achieved. I also think that being a doctor is more than just "a job". I am not saying that being a doctor puts you on a pedestal, but it is a profession that involves not only you but the direct health and happiness of other people. There are some many different professions out there and that's why you can't just make a blanket statement like "it's just a job". If that's all it is to you, then it would be terribly unfair if you are accepted over others who have immensely more passion for it. But I digress...

Maybe this isn't the thought process you follow to discover what profession you want to spend the rest of your life doing, but this is for some, like the OP. The least you can do is respect it, even if you don't agree.
 
Last edited:

Dial71

10+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2008
143
2
0
Status
Medical Student
OP, I need to apologize for my criticism. In hindsight, it was too harsh.

That said, can I share a story with you? At work last weekend, one of the nurses, also a friend of mine, asked me why I wanted to be a doctor.

"You're so young, you could do anything dial71. Why would you waste your life in medicine?"

I started rambling. Saying that the field was fascinating and that despite malingerers and misers, the majority of patients were actually appreciative and that I like giving warm blankets to old people, and starting difficult IV's on the first try and such and such.

Finally, she cut me off, saying "you're right, you've ruined yourself working here--you'll never enjoy anything else."

That's when I knew there was no turning back.

I can tell that you're quite intelligent and are capable of success in many different fields. If you're questioning medicine this much, perhaps you should take a step back and reconsider your options. No one will judge you for this.

Maybe your "actualization" (ack) lies in another field. I have a feeling that your misgivings do not stem from your objection to the philosophy of the PS, but are instead the product of your doubts about entering medicine. Like a previous poster asked, "what are you looking for here?"
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
Maybe your "actualization" (ack) lies in another field. I have a feeling that your misgivings do not stem from your objection to the philosophy of the PS, but are instead the product of your doubts about entering medicine. Like a previous poster asked, "what are you looking for here?"
Exactly what I've gotten: dialogue, critique, and group examination of the problem at hand. I had hit a rut trying to figure this stuff out on my own, and I was reaching out for others' thoughts.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
There will be many points in life where you there is a "conscious and honest" road and a "motions" road. Alas, adcoms receive thousands of applications a year, and they subconsciously read certain kinds of applications favorably, and others unfavorably.

I don't think it's unethical to craft an application that will be competitive according to the standards of the adcoms. Doing this is akin to sitting down before a final exam and trying to figure out what the professor will likely put as major questions on the exam, based on their lecture style and personal interests/predilections.

In an alternate world in which every adcom member were a philosopher, I would seriously support the OP using a spiffed-up version of that rant as a personal statement. It is clear that OP has thought more deeply about his/her personal character that the average pre-med, or even the average medical student (and I daresay, the average doctor). Unfortunately, in this world it is more likely that adcoms would read such a philosophical statement as "this kid is in it for the money," as LizzyM points out.

On a personal note, my interest in medicine started with an interest in science that was not pushed by my parents. I remember finding a book of dinosaur names in first grade and writing out their scientific names next to my doodles of them. I was the first kid in my grade to find out what deoxyribonucleic acid was. My parents were definitely NOT involved in making me do either of those things. In fact, because of my race I have to tell these stories at every interview, because the natural assumption is that I'm being led into medical school by my parents.

The TD:LR is that there are definitely hoops you need to jump though to get to the places you want in life. This is true regardless of whether you want to be a doctor, a teacher, or a philosopher. So don't feel bad about doing this--it is a function of the world's imperfections. The only question you need to ask yourself is whether your central intention is pure. Why did you keep going to tag along on rounds? Because it was interesting and you enjoyed the science and seeing patients in the morning, or because you kept telling yourself you needed to do that to get into medical school? If the former, then you will more than likely become a great doctor. If the latter, then you should search around some more and see if you like medicine or not. That is all.
Great response.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
How do you know the attendings are preaching cynicism and not just reality?
Reality is a state of being. Cynicism is a method of perceiving and interpreting reality. Perceptions and interpretations can be wrong.
 

dru2002

10+ Year Member
Dec 23, 2008
591
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
My take-away from reading this thread is that I would rather be ignorant and happy than enlightened and miserable. Also, that I'm glad I was trained as a scientist and not a philosopher.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
My take-away from reading this thread is that I would rather be ignorant and happy than enlightened and miserable. Also, that I'm glad I was trained as a scientist and not a philosopher.
Honestly, I've considered this. Sometimes I feel that people like you are the lucky ones. But those thoughts never bear fruit. The fact is, once you've gotten to where I am, you can't go back, and I mean literally, no matter how much you may want to. However, I will warn you: the longer you stay in Eden, the worse of a state you will be in if you ever do take a bite of fruit of knowledge for whatever reason.

Btw, how do you think science was conceived in the first place?
 

Dial71

10+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2008
143
2
0
Status
Medical Student
Honestly, I've considered this. Sometimes I feel that people like you are the lucky ones. But those thoughts never bear fruit. The fact is, once you've gotten to where I am, you can't go back, and I mean literally, no matter how much you may want to. However, I will warn you: the longer you stay in Eden, the worse of a state you will be in if you ever do take a bite of fruit of knowledge for whatever reason.

Btw, how do you think science was conceived in the first place?
I am sorry, but this is absurd OP. Who the **** do you think you are? Descartes? Spare us talk of Eden and the life of the mind.

Have you ever worked a job (aside from academia) for any period of time? This **** is not how you win friends and influence people.

Just remember that while you have been learning the finer points of existentialism, others have learned how to lay electrical wire, frame walls, insert IV's, install sinks, rebuild engines, lay pipe, repair transmissions, cook steaks, ranch cattle, dig mines, and design integrated circuits, amoung other subjects.

Don't think for an instant that your "weariness" gives you status over these "Edenites." In-fact, your disinterested ponderings are made possible by the labors of these people. Moreover, if you go into medicine, you'll be surrounded by "practical" people.

Don't stop thinking, but for everyone's sake, please dust the chip off your shoulder.
 

RogueUnicorn

rawr.
7+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2009
9,746
1,601
181
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Honestly, I've considered this. Sometimes I feel that people like you are the lucky ones. But those thoughts never bear fruit. The fact is, once you've gotten to where I am, you can't go back, and I mean literally, no matter how much you may want to. However, I will warn you: the longer you stay in Eden, the worse of a state you will be in if you ever do take a bite of fruit of knowledge for whatever reason.

Btw, how do you think science was conceived in the first place?
you're off the deep end now
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
I am sorry, but this is absurd OP. Who the **** do you think you are? Decartes? Spare us talk of Eden and the life of the mind.

Have you ever worked a job (aside from academia) for any period of time? This **** is not how you win friends and influence people.

Just remember that while you have been learning the finer points of existentialism, others have learned how to lay electrical wire, frame walls, insert IV's, install sinks, rebuild engines, lay pipe, repair transmissions, cook steaks, ranch cattle, dig mines, and design integrated circuits, amoung other subjects.

Don't think for an instant that your "weariness" gives you status over these "Edenites." In-fact, your disinterested ponderings are made possible by the labors of these people. Moreover, if you go into medicine, you'll be surrounded by "practical" people.

Don't stop thinking, but for everyone's sake, please dust the chip off your shoulder.
If I seem to have a chip on my shoulder, I don't mean to. Honestly. If I come off as looking down on anyone, it speaks to my own failings of self-awareness. I apologize to anyone I've put off.
 

RogueUnicorn

rawr.
7+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2009
9,746
1,601
181
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I am sorry, but this is absurd OP. Who the **** do you think you are? Descartes? Spare us talk of Eden and the life of the mind.

Have you ever worked a job (aside from academia) for any period of time? This **** is not how you win friends and influence people.

Just remember that while you have been learning the finer points of existentialism, others have learned how to lay electrical wire, frame walls, insert IV's, install sinks, rebuild engines, lay pipe, repair transmissions, cook steaks, ranch cattle, dig mines, and design integrated circuits, amoung other subjects.

Don't think for an instant that your "weariness" gives you status over these "Edenites." In-fact, your disinterested ponderings are made possible by the labors of these people. Moreover, if you go into medicine, you'll be surrounded by "practical" people.

Don't stop thinking, but for everyone's sake, please dust the chip off your shoulder.
yep. as i've said before, in the school of athens, we're that guy on the RIGHT.
 

Dial71

10+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2008
143
2
0
Status
Medical Student
If I seem to have a chip on my shoulder, I don't mean to. Honestly. If I come off as looking down on anyone, it speaks to my own failings of self-awareness. I apologize to anyone I've put off.
You had me until that post. It was a bit much.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
You had me until that post. It was a bit much.
Haha, sometimes I shoot past my limit, but I'm glad there are people like you to keep me in check and to show me where my boundaries are so I know what to work on.
 

cho15

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2009
152
0
141
Status
Pre-Medical
I am sorry, but this is absurd OP. Who the **** do you think you are? Descartes? Spare us talk of Eden and the life of the mind.

Have you ever worked a job (aside from academia) for any period of time? This **** is not how you win friends and influence people.

Just remember that while you have been learning the finer points of existentialism, others have learned how to lay electrical wire, frame walls, insert IV's, install sinks, rebuild engines, lay pipe, repair transmissions, cook steaks, ranch cattle, dig mines, and design integrated circuits, amoung other subjects.
My time hasn't been spent studying the finer points of existentialism but I sure as hell don't know how to do any of that stuff you mentioned...except for cook a steak. Most of those are very stereotypically "male" stuff. If you are mentioning them to try and include a wide range of skills it didn't work so well. Perhaps you were trying to appeal to the OP though, since he's a guy.

I'm not taking offense, nor am I trying to attack you. Just making a comment.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
I started rambling. Saying that the field was fascinating and that despite malingerers and misers, the majority of patients were actually appreciative and that I like giving warm blankets to old people, and starting difficult IV's on the first try and such and such.

Finally, she cut me off, saying "you're right, you've ruined yourself working here--you'll never enjoy anything else."

That's when I knew there was no turning back.
You know, Dial71, this has me thinking. Provided that she didn't just concede to your point for the sake of shutting you up, I think there's something very interesting at work here. I think out of any motivation to pursue a career, the one most people tend to neglect is just these kinds of small, seemingly inconsequential everyday acts. And yet I think it's just these acts that provide the greatest catalyst for sustained enthusiasm, more so than any peripheral benefits. Doing something for the simple sake of doing it... I think if this is the case, any misgivings about the roots of motive should not matter in that case, since no "conditioning" could theoretically affect one's ephemeral feelings towards such inconsequential acts... or could it? And what about the matter of confirmation bias? Can one consciously, with enough awareness and understanding of the self, take that out of the equation? You are sharp and experienced. Much more so that I am. What are your thoughts?
 
Last edited:

45408

aw buddy
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2004
16,976
46
141
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Have you guys considered the significance of holding such a view of introspection? Don't you guys wonder why people would take such pains to do it and write about it?
1. Yes
2. No, because I have a pretty good idea why. I just don't think it's worthwhile to that extent.

Reality is a state of being. Cynicism is a method of perceiving and interpreting reality. Perceptions and interpretations can be wrong.
So because you're not an attending, you're really not equipped to determine if they're telling you reality or being cynical. You might be misinterpreting their reality as cynicism.
 
OP
punkedoutriffs

punkedoutriffs

7+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2010
1,024
121
181
Status
Medical Student
So because you're not an attending, you're really not equipped to determine if they're telling you reality or being cynical. You might be misinterpreting their reality as cynicism.
Good point. But consider this: attendings are certainly not infallible in their interpretations are they? Surely it has to be "possible" that their interpretations may not be perfectly aligned with reality, no?

In addition, aren't there attendings whose perceptions are just the opposite? Doesn't that automatically prove that their cynicism is in fact not reality?

You might argue that it's a case of circumstance, that if those "optimistic" attendings were to be placed in the circumstances of the "cynical" ones, their interpretations will make a 180, proving that the preached "cynicism" is most likely reality.

This argument may be valid. But can we really say that this should always be the case? Are there to be no exceptions?