Pre Meds- Are You Ready for a Commitment to a Life of Medicine?

It’s a question you need to consider deeply on a regular basis. It’s a question to which you cannot provide a fake answer. It’s a question that may provoke hours of thought and conversation, which may or may not provide an encouraging answer.

It’s easy to dismiss the question. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve already thought about it enough.

A physician recently told me that of his graduating class, 50% would have chosen not to go to medical school if they knew what it was going to be like. Of course, that means 50% were very happy they decided to go to medical school. But a 50/50 chance seems like a big risk for such a huge decision. My guess is that many had misconceptions about what medical school or the practice of medicine is really like.

Of course I’m only speaking from limited experience. I’m not a doctor. I’m struggling with the same question. But what I do know is that every physician I speak with stresses the commitment that a life in medicine takes. They stress the need to go into medicine for the “right reasons” (What are the “right reasons?” Do they really exist? That my friends, is a topic for another day.) They encourage a thoughtful analysis of the life you want to live. If you don’t they say, you’ll end up regretting your decisions and unhappy in your work.

Can you know for sure that a life in medicine is right for you?

Nope. How could you? But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thoughtfully consider why you’re choosing medicine. Explore your options. What plans do you have for your life? What are your goals? Do you want to have a family, write a book, travel, run marathons, etc etc? Will a life in medicine encourage or obstruct these goals?

I don’t have the answers, because I’m sure the answers are different for different people. I’m asking them because I think they are important questions to ponder.

The journey is long. I think it’s wise to examine the path ahead before continuing to stride forward.

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