So You Want To Be a Doctor?

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Many students say they want to become physicians to help people. I am not against this reasoning – hey, I am becoming a physician myself for the same reason!

Still, it is important to keep in mind that there are thousands of ways to help people that might better fit your skills and your lifestyle goals. Maybe you just haven’t discovered them yet! Here are some things that will really get the wheels churning in starting to think about choosing a career in medicine.

A completely different undergraduate experience

The fact of the matter is that plenty of undergrads enter college with the desire to become a physician. In the end,  many of them find that the sacrifices they have to make in their personal lives and in their lifestyle are not worth it. Medical schools require that prospective students take a variety of science courses and the MCAT for a reason. They want to see if you can handle the rigors of medical school.

Years of training after undergrad

Business majors tend to get well-paying jobs right out of college – no post graduate training required. My boyfriend is going to law school, which is three years long, and then he is able to get a “real” job. While he is busy working, I will be in residency training after medical school. While it does pay a salary, when you consider the immense amount of hours I will be working, I will basically be getting paid minimum wage. Still, becoming a physician makes it worth it to me, but you might not think it is.

Constantly being challenged AFTER years of training

Medicine is always changing. Developments are constant, and there are always new and improved treatments available. A physician needs to be ready to be a life long learner. You will also have to take tests for the rest of your career in order to renew your license to practice and to prove that you really do keep up to date with new information.

Family and balance

I am not going to lie, I am already a little worried about my career choice and how it will affect my family. I plan to work while being a mom, and this will not allow me to spend as much time as I would like with my kids. There will be times I will be on call and have to leave events. If I become a pediatrician, there will be times I have to run out to take care of another parent’s child instead of being with my own. At the same time, I realize I cannot have my cake and eat it too. I have two very hard working parents from whom I never felt scrapped for attention. Now, looking back on it, I realize how many sacrifices they made to always be there for my sister and I. I am going to have to do the same. It won’t be easy, but it is doable.

There will be more to define you than your job

Whether you become a physician or not, there will be a lot more that defines you than your job. Yet with everyone around you so career focused, it is difficult to remember this. I too am guilty of being sucked into only future thinking. Before and during your career, you need to remember you will enjoy things outside of work that will really make you you.

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