How Do I Know if Medicine Is Right For Me?

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How Do I Know If Medicine Is Right for Me?

Session 69

Taken directly from the Nontraditional Premed Forum, today’s question comes from Kyle, a student who’s not really sure if medical school is right for him.

This question relates a little bit to The Premed Years Session 229, where I spoke with Renee, a 54-year-old medical student. She was actually 53 when she reapplied to medical school. She was a former nurse turned nurse practitioner turned nurse educator, and she had a very successful career. But in the back of her mind, she always wanted to be a physician. Through the encouragement of her kids, she actually went back and finally made the leap. Listen to her story about how she took the MCAT five times and had to reapply to medical school but was finally successful and is now a medical student.

[03:25] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I really need some objectivity right now. Up and down academic trend, maybe 3.0 science GPA, maybe a 3.1. Graduated with an Allied Health degree, not a strong GPA throughout the program, finally picked it up in the final semester of my degree. Postbac, informal, very slow-paced right now, with the following prereqs. General Biology 1: 3.7 after retake. General Biology 2: 3.0. Chem 1 retake: 4.0. Genetics: 4.0. Chem 2: currently taking.

Here’s the deal. I’m just not sure I really want to be a physician. There’s a lot that goes into this thinking, but fundamentally, I’m not sure I want to do what a doctor does. I’ve done volunteering, shadowing, etc. I like the science side of it and not really dealing with treating or caring for people.

'Here's the deal: I'm just not sure I really want to be a physician.'Click To Tweet

I’ve gone from pre-nursing, pre-pharm, to premed throughout my academic career, and I’m currently in a health profession that is none of those but I’m enjoying my job. Who else out there is struggling with this doubt? But it’s not just doubt in my abilities, work ethic, or time to do this while working full time. But like I said, fundamentally, I don’t think I want that role like I once did.

If someone was there before, what brought you back to pursue medicine? You hear that cliche that if you can see yourself doing something other than being a doctor, then don’t become a doctor. This has been an ongoing multi-year, multi-seasoned fight, and I just don’t know if I have what it takes or if I really want this.”

[05:07] Is Medicine Right for You?

The short answer is, go find something else to do. It’s as simple as that. The role of a physician is very much ingrained in patient care. When you say you’re not sure you want to do what a doctor does and that you really don’t like dealing with treating or caring for people, that right there tells me that you should not be a doctor. And that is truly okay.

I talk about it on The Premed Years Podcast all the time, that it’s great to realize you don’t want to be a doctor because it’s a long, hard, and expensive process. In the end, a lot of physicians actually question whether it was all worth it, and a lot of physicians do not like being a doctor anymore.

It's great to realize you don't want to be a doctor because it's a long, hard, and expensive process.Click To Tweet

So for you to find this out now is great! Go find something else that you love to do. It doesn’t even have to be in health care. You’ve talked about going from pre-nursing to pre-pharm to premed. Maybe get out of medicine altogether and find something else that you really love.

[Related episode: 5 Reasons to Go to Medical School, and 5 Not To]

[06:35] A Farewell to Being Premed

If you’re struggling with similar things as Kyle is, I highly recommend you listen to Session 29 of The OldPreMeds Podcast where I read a post from somebody who wrote a farewell letter to being a premed. It’s a great post from somebody who realized that it just wasn’t what they wanted anymore. And that’s okay.

Going back to Kyle—congratulations for figuring this out. Go enjoy whatever it is that you’re meant to do. Go find it.