Discouraged on the Premed Path — Who Should You Listen To?


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OPM 236: Discouraged on the Premed Path — Who Should You Listen To?

Session 236

Med school is hard, expensive, and requires a lot of sacrifices. You know it’s right for you, but why are other physicians trying to talk you out of it?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at premedforums.com. Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey. Finally, check out Mappd.com to see how we’re changing the premed landscape!

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[00:42] Check out Mappd.com

Mappd.com is a technology platform that I’ve wanted to do forever. I’ve partnered with Rachel Grubbs who has about 20 years of experience in the test prep world and student world.

We are bringing on Dr. Scott Wright, whom I’ve had on this podcast before. He’s the former director of admissions at UT Southwestern and the former executive director of TMDSAS. He’s our VP of Academic Advising helping us shape what Mappd is.

How Mappd can help students with the application process:

  • Tracking timelines
  • Tacking secondary timelines
  • Tracking interviews and feedback
  • Picking a medical school
  • Tracking extracurricular activities where students can keep a diary of all the activities that they do from day one to day 100. It will automatically track your start time and end time and total hours and all that stuff.
  • Your GPA trends and broken down according to the application service as well as feedback based on those calculations
  • Enter in your MCAT practice test scores and your real test scores

… and so much more!

So mapped is coming, they’re going to change the premed landscape. It’ll be a communication tool with your advisors. Eventually, your advisors will be able to log into Mappd and see students who they work with.

[02:18] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I am a 27-year-old female who has been out of college for a few years and has been considering med school. I keep trying to talk to as many doctors as I can and so many discouraged me. ‘You’re older, med school is hard, med school is a lot of money, you should consider PA school or optometry or nursing, etc.’

A big driver for me to go to med school is to work with those with substance use disorder. I grew up in a household with a parent who abused drugs, and I have done a lot of recovery work. 

I volunteer with an advocacy group and I also volunteer as a doula and hopefully will get a crisis text line position. I know I need more clinical experience. But right now a goal of mine would be to help prevent, treat, and advocate for those with substance use disorder. 

I think getting a medical degree would be the best option to give me the expert-level knowledge to do so. I feel like it’s my civic duty to help those with addiction.

However, I keep running into people who tell me not to do it. Am I just talking to people with bad attitudes? The discouragement is upsetting, to be honest. I understand that med school is hard and a lot of money, but what else would I do with my time that would be worth it? 

I don’t think spending the money to go back to school to pursue a career I’m half-interested would be a good idea. I’ve talked to doctors who have mentioned mental health issues and competition as reasons to avoid medicine. 

I’ve overcome my own mental health issues and I feel like I’ve gotten to a place where I have the tools to keep myself healthy. 

Just because I struggled with something in the past doesn’t mean I’m going to in the future. I grew up in a TERRIBLY traumatizing environment that I had zero control over. I just don’t see how going to med school can be worse than that? If I REALLY hate it, I can drop out. Yes, there are major consequences, but I’m not longer a powerless child.

In my heart, I feel like going to med school is the right decision for me, but the discouragement is making me second-guess myself. Do they have a point? Or should I just ignore?”

[04:46] IGNORE!

Just ignore. There are going to be people at every step of your journey who are going to discourage you from doing things that you want to do.

Now, you’re asking physicians what they think. Number one, since you’re older, they might think it’s not worth it for you. Number two, since you’re a woman, they may just think you don’t need to be a doctor.

So it basically depends on who you’re asking – male physicians or female physicians – there’s a big difference. 

A lot of negativity actually comes from female physicians. At the end of the day, if you want to be a physician, then go to medical school.

There are obviously plenty of people who still want to go to medical school with 50,000+ students applying every year.

Listen to the Specialty Stories podcast, where I interview physicians about their specialty. And almost all of them say they would do this again. They love their job.

'Just like any career, you're going to find people who are burnt out and miserable, and you're going to find people who love their career and what they're doing.'Click To Tweet

[06:51] In the Face of COVID-19

Now obviously, right now, a lot of physicians are being furloughed and are having their pay cut. This pandemic has proved that a lot of hospitals have lost a lot of money because we had to shut down elective surgeries. And so they’re stressed and they’re worried.

“Healthcare has been changing a lot. And it will always change a lot until we can figure things out in this country.”Click To Tweet

Our healthcare system is actually stressful. We have ridiculous requirements for Medicare. We have horrible electronic medical records, where physicians are behind the computer all the time charting all the time.

But at the end of the day, you have said you want to take care of people with addiction and you feel that being a physician will give you the tools to do that.

[08:05] Choose the Path You Want!

You also said that getting a medical degree would be the best option to give you the expert-level knowledge to do so. That’s true. Being a physician is the only career that will give you that knowledge to treat people in that way. 

Make your own decisions. Choose the path that you want that is best for you, not what their considerations are. They may not like being a physician because they wanted stability. They wanted a good paycheck and not a lot of work. They may have chosen medicine for the wrong reasons. And you’re choosing them for the right reasons. So ignore everyone else.

[09:24] The Mental Health Aspect

You talked about a terribly traumatizing environment growing up, and it sounds like you have the skills to be resilient to handle whatever’s going to come your way. Nothing will prepare you for medical school. Unfortunately, medical school is hard. But it’s not traumatic. It’s just stressful and hard.

“A lot of times, students will potentially fall back into some mental health issues in medical school because they don't have the tools necessary to support themselves.”Click To Tweet

So be sure to work on those skills and continue those skills. Support yourself. Take care of yourself and go to medical school.

We need more people to take care of addiction. We need more people to show that addiction is a disease and not a crime. We need some policy people as well, which is a separate podcast.

Links:

Meded Media

Nontrad Premed Forum

Premedforums.com

Specialty Stories

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