Pre-med season

Lately I've been hanging out in coffee shops, and as April comes to a close, it's only natural to see the MCAT books out. There are pre-meds everywhere full of hope, still virginal and uncrushed by the world. They haven't even begun to suffer. In their minds, doctors are noble, the captains of the world.

And it's because of these bright-eyed college students that I've been doing these "Don't Become a Doctor" posts. Because none of these guys know what it means to be a doctor. So many people want to be a doctor for the prestige or the money or the power or whatever stupid reason that isn't what being a doctor is.

And I know this because I'm no different in my motivations. I didn't know what it was to be a doctor when I was a pre-med. And it took 4 years of medical school to figure out what it is to be a doctor.

For me, the reason why I applied to medical school was selfish at heart. I saw medicine as my salvation. It was a profession where I could dedicate myself to working with the sick and suffering, God's work. It was a noble reason to exist, rather than converting oxygen and sugar into carbon dioxide.

And nowadays, I look into that sea of cafe tables covered with MCAT study books, and wonder to myself if they know what they're getting into. And I'm glad that so many of them will fail in trying to be a doctor, because it's better to find out that medicine's not for you before spending $150,000. Four years of college, four years of med school, and at least three years of residency is too long and too painful to do something you don't love.

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

I think there is only one way to find out what it means to be a doctor. There are all kinds of statistics - my premed advisor told me that half of all residents wished they had never become doctors. And I have seen plenty of burned out physicians in my day, but there is almost no way for a pre-med to even begin to know what they will give up to get that dream. So, take it easy. There is plenty of time for the world to pick away at that dream.