When did you know for sure that you wanted to become a doctor?

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azndude1

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I'm still having trouble deciding between engineering or medicine. I enjoy working with kids and becoming a pediatrician has always been in the back of my mind since i was young...

I'm a senior in hs right now and I don't want it to be too late to realize that I want to become a doctor
 

silverlining1

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It's never too late. I know of people who entered med school in their late 30s and early 40s. Maybe you don't want that to be you, but my point is that it's not impossible to start med school after you've been out of college for a while! Many, many people take time off to travel, do research, or just do something totally different - and then there are people whose time just comes much later.

I was 100% sure when I scrubbed in for operations with a thoracic surgeon and saw her talk to patients in clinic. My original hesitation was that I was really interested in medicine and the hands-on aspect of surgery but I also loved teaching - seeing her work in two different arenas showed me that being a doctor will also allow me to be a teacher of sorts.

It might be hard in high school, but in college you should have better access to shadowing opportunities :) I think this is a great way to figure out if the life is right for you.
 

azndude1

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yeah...also i don't know how I'll I react to large amounts of blood (if i end up wanting to be a surgeon)...is there anyway to find out as of now? like shadow a surgeon or something?
 
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RySerr21

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It's never too late. I know of people who entered med school in their late 30s and early 40s. Maybe you don't want that to be you, but my point is that it's not impossible to start med school after you've been out of college for a while! Many, many people take time off to travel, do research, or just do something totally different - and then there are people whose time just comes much later.

I was 100% sure when I scrubbed in for operations with a thoracic surgeon and saw her talk to patients in clinic. My original hesitation was that I was really interested in medicine and the hands-on aspect of surgery but I also loved teaching - seeing her work in two different arenas showed me that being a doctor will also allow me to be a teacher of sorts.

It might be hard in high school, but in college you should have better access to shadowing opportunities :) I think this is a great way to figure out if the life is right for you.

I wouldnt say I ever had any hesitation, but what you described is something I have started to realize as well. I love the medical aspect, of course, but I also LOVE to teach and a career in academic medicine is becoming more and more appealing. I think when i'm old enough and choose to retire from practice, I would enjoy being a professor at a med school, or even a college.

yeah...also i don't know how I'll I react to large amounts of blood (if i end up wanting to be a surgeon)...is there anyway to find out as of now? like shadow a surgeon or something?

You can definitely shadow a surgeon. Just konw that not all surgeries involve a lot of blood. Definitely dont shadow an orthopedic surgeon...youll likely see a bunch of arthroscopic procedures and if you are lucky you might see a drop of blood dribble from the incision, haha.

I'd say try and shadow a trauma surgeon or something. That was an interesting expreince for me.
 

Forbes

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It has been said before, and will be said again that it is never too late. Unless of course, you are a 40 year old post-baccalaureate in philosophy. Wait, even then you can still want to become a doctor, and you can study and apply. It is never too late, but you will have significant catching up to do in the sciences should you decide to wander elsewhere. Even if you became an engineer and then got tired of it, you have an excellent background in the sciences. Do whatever you really want to do, otherwise your life will be less than ideal.
 

BuffGold

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I'm still having trouble deciding between engineering or medicine. I enjoy working with kids and becoming a pediatrician has always been in the back of my mind since i was young...

I'm a senior in hs right now and I don't want it to be too late to realize that I want to become a doctor

I did engineering, then medicine. Thought about becoming a doc in HS, but an awful case of senioritis pushed me away from committing to 8+ more years of education. I came to my senses halfway through my junior year in civil engineering. I realized that a career in CivE wouldn't even come close to providing me with the type of personal contact I had come to thrive on through my extracurricular activities (most of which were working with kids). Catching up ended up taking a master's degree, but I will be going to med school in the fall, and I couldn't be happier.
The point is you don't have to decide, do both. I think you will find yourself well prepared to make a run at it if you do.
Good luck!
 

Bacchus

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My time is really, really cliche/strange. I was with a friend who had a 104 fever at the ER (as per the school nurse) and sitting there I was like, "You know, I really could do this." haha
 

mezmerized7

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When I was like 5 and went to the doctor pretty often...:laugh: But as I grew older and did a lot of shadowing and volunteering, I realized that it was definitely my "calling".
 

goldenwest

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At my aunt's house in California reading a book about Prayer halfway through a four month road trip.
 
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Dulcina

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I still dont.

I asked this exact question to an interviewer, and this was her response. She said she'd probably be able to be happy in many careers, and there is never definitive proof that she picked the best one.
 

liquid8r

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Is it common to have an epiphany about one's career choice? I have difficulty nailing down a specific moment when I realized I wanted to go into medicine. It more or less evolved over my lifetime. It now absorbs my life like a neurosis and I sometimes curse myself for choosing this as my career path. But I feel some doubt about one's career choice is healthy.

For those that have never considered other careers, I envy you.
 

alehar

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I'm from a pretty similar background. I did both though.

Went into Biomedical Engineering because I was good at math and science, and dad's an engineer. When I was there, I got a summer research internship that had a little clinical medicine, so I started leaning toward medicine. Did a full-on clinical internship the next summer that solidified the medical decision.

I'm going to graduate with a BS in Biomedical Engineering in the spring, and I couldn't have made a better choice. There's no reason you can't do both medicine and engineering. Engineering majors are heavy on the problem-solving side of things, which is what medicine is all about.
 

biophysicianai

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I was very young - somewhere between 4 and 6

At 4, after several months of agony and wasting, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My 2 week's in a hospital while my parents were being trained on diabetes care left an impression, not to mention that fact that I felt millions of times better after starting insulin treatment. Doctor = miracle worker to my four-year-old mind.

When I started school, I didn't speak English well, and was completely illiterate. I did, however, know how to use an abacus, and was far beyond my age in mathematics. My mother had a difficult time getting a rather simple point across: ESL does not only apply to students of hispanic origin. While my mother began drilling me on english and teaching me to read at home - which you'd think my school would have done - my teachers quickly solidified the idea in my head that I was a "math/science type," not an "english/social studies" type. Of course, I don't believe this anymore, but it did help to propel my interest in science early.

Somewhere amidst all of this, I realized that my fascination with medicine - reinforced by dailing insulin injections ;) - and my interest in science click very well.
 

MadEvans

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At 4, after several months of agony and wasting, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Hey, this is when I realized it too! However, I was 19 when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was a freshman in college and had declared my major as creative writing. Then I changed to religious studies, never considering medicine really at all. Second semester of freshman year I was diagnosed and the impact doctors made upon me was the deciding factor. Since then, I've been fascinated with diseases of all types and dedicated to helping those living with illnesses.

Speaking of wasting... I was 110 pounds at 6 feet tall. My family thought I was doing hard drugs or something.

Good luck with applying!!!

Any other type 1 diabetics out there to join our club?
 

Sinusites

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First, it was an intro biology course. Then, I worked over the summer at a hospital and was so nosy trying to learn about the patients' conditions that I couldn't think of a better way to spend the next 40 years.
 

JeffLebowski

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Can I chime in here?

I'm a third year med student, and I can say without question that you never know for sure. You constantly question whether you can hack it, whether you want this lifestyle, whether it's worth it, and whether you made the right decision. This is healthy. You should question it all along the way. It keeps your priorities and conscience centered on justifying yourself in the face of unavoidable uncertainty. Questioning "is this worth it" forces you to answer that question for yourself and justify your commitment. There's nothing wrong with reinforcing your commitment in this way. Those individuals who say, "I knew when I was 4!" or "it's in my blood" or "I have a disease that confirms it for me" are probably deluding themselves to a certain extent that they're any more sure of their decision than anyone else. They may have a perspective that offers a unique set of priorities (thus making the answer to the "is this worth it to me" quicker), but they don't know any better than Random Pre-med Joe does.

The only way to know for sure is to do it. If you're compelled strongly enough by passion for what you've seen so far to apply (and apply with as much of yourself as you can) and you get in, that means that your passion for medicine and your experience in medicine has enabled you to follow this path. Take that as a sign that you can and should do it. There are a few individuals who get in and realize it's a mistake....and there are a few individuals who don't get in and really are fit for medicine, but these are pretty rare. The point is, the only way to prove you're ready, willing, and able to be a doctor is to walk the path. There's no DM-I or shadowing or research pre-med experience that confirms it for anyone. You'll find that even talking to attendings...they still question it. They question whether they're in the right field, whether it's all worth it, whether they should change what they do.

Questioning makes our world go around. If we didn't ask questions, we'd never advance medical science. We'd miss countless diagnoses on patients. We'd end up with regret at the end of the day, because we never took the time to brood over why we're working so hard in this pursuit to be a good doctor. It's not obvious and it's not a given. Lastly, it's not for everyone. Take what passion you've got in you and follow it with everything you've got in you, because that's the only way you'll live a life without regret.
 
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HolyGrail

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I actually always wanted to own a construction company. I worked construction for a long period of time, my father and I have built 5 houses during my life. I looked at the chances of making a successful construction company, thought about the start up costs, the toll it takes on your body, the likelihood of being caught without health insurance in a bad situation, and I guess what it came down to was that I wanted more job security, I still like being on my feet, being your own boss etc...

Obviously there are a number of things, not just those above, but I'll definitely think about doing some General Contracting if I ever get the time, I love constructing things, lol.
 

teddybear

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Can I chime in here?

I'm a third year med student, and I can say without question that you never know for sure. You constantly question whether you can hack it, whether you want this lifestyle, whether it's worth it, and whether you made the right decision. This is healthy. You should question it all along the way. It keeps your priorities and conscience centered on justifying yourself in the face of unavoidable uncertainty. Questioning "is this worth it" forces you to answer that question for yourself and justify your commitment. There's nothing wrong with reinforcing your commitment in this way. Those individuals who say, "I knew when I was 4!" or "it's in my blood" or "I have a disease that confirms it for me" are probably deluding themselves to a certain extent that they're any more sure of their decision than anyone else. They may have a perspective that offers a unique set of priorities (thus making the answer to the "is this worth it to me" quicker), but they don't know any better than Random Pre-med Joe does.

The only way to know for sure is to do it. If you're compelled strongly enough by passion for what you've seen so far to apply (and apply with as much of yourself as you can) and you get in, that means that your passion for medicine and your experience in medicine has enabled you to follow this path. Take that as a sign that you can and should do it. There are a few individuals who get in and realize it's a mistake....and there are a few individuals who don't get in and really are fit for medicine, but these are pretty rare. The point is, the only way to prove you're ready, willing, and able to be a doctor is to walk the path. There's no DM-I or shadowing or research pre-med experience that confirms it for anyone. You'll find that even talking to attendings...they still question it. They question whether they're in the right field, whether it's all worth it, whether they should change what they do.

Questioning makes our world go around. If we didn't ask questions, we'd never advance medical science. We'd miss countless diagnoses on patients. We'd end up with regret at the end of the day, because we never took the time to brood over why we're working so hard in this pursuit to be a good doctor. It's not obvious and it's not a given. Lastly, it's not for everyone. Take what passion you've got in you and follow it with everything you've got in you, because that's the only way you'll live a life without regret.

Best answer yet.
 

MadEvans

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Can I chime in here?

I'm a third year med student, and I can say without question that you never know for sure. You constantly question whether you can hack it, whether you want this lifestyle, whether it's worth it, and whether you made the right decision. This is healthy. You should question it all along the way. It keeps your priorities and conscience centered on justifying yourself in the face of unavoidable uncertainty. Questioning "is this worth it" forces you to answer that question for yourself and justify your commitment. There's nothing wrong with reinforcing your commitment in this way. Those individuals who say, "I knew when I was 4!" or "it's in my blood" or "I have a disease that confirms it for me" are probably deluding themselves to a certain extent that they're any more sure of their decision than anyone else. They may have a perspective that offers a unique set of priorities (thus making the answer to the "is this worth it to me" quicker), but they don't know any better than Random Pre-med Joe does.

The only way to know for sure is to do it. If you're compelled strongly enough by passion for what you've seen so far to apply (and apply with as much of yourself as you can) and you get in, that means that your passion for medicine and your experience in medicine has enabled you to follow this path. Take that as a sign that you can and should do it. There are a few individuals who get in and realize it's a mistake....and there are a few individuals who don't get in and really are fit for medicine, but these are pretty rare. The point is, the only way to prove you're ready, willing, and able to be a doctor is to walk the path. There's no DM-I or shadowing or research pre-med experience that confirms it for anyone. You'll find that even talking to attendings...they still question it. They question whether they're in the right field, whether it's all worth it, whether they should change what they do.

Questioning makes our world go around. If we didn't ask questions, we'd never advance medical science. We'd miss countless diagnoses on patients. We'd end up with regret at the end of the day, because we never took the time to brood over why we're working so hard in this pursuit to be a good doctor. It's not obvious and it's not a given. Lastly, it's not for everyone. Take what passion you've got in you and follow it with everything you've got in you, because that's the only way you'll live a life without regret.

Wow, change the pronouns in here and you could make a pretty penny by selling this as a personal statement. Well done.
 

EpiPEN

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Wow, change the pronouns in here and you could make a pretty penny by selling this as a personal statement. Well done.

iono, I think it needs less self realization and more saving babies in Africa :)
 

jilliumm

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Any other type 1 diabetics out there to join our club?

Another type one here!

I think people with type one are over represented in the healthcare professions, actually. There are two of us in my class, which is handy when you're low or run out of insulin. ;)
 
D

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