Med or no med

Med school is on the minds of many. Mine included.

If I think about it, I can come up with the following reasons  right off the bat:

  1. Personally, morally, and emotionally rewarding. There are very few jobs that offer the same level of “feel-good factor” as a doctor helping a patient regain health. Sure Steve Jobs can make the sexiest computers in the world, but he is helping the affluent get more gadgets. Perhaps working in social services that aim at helping the populations in need – such as alleviating children stricken with poverty and disease – would have the similar “feel-good factor” to helping patients regain joy of health.
  2. Stable income. Docs aren’t the richest people around, but they do well.
  3. Family expectation. Many of us grow up under the constant influence of our families who view raising children to be docs to be the ultimate achievement. When the people dearest to you all think that way, it’s quite impossible to put it off completely.
  4. Social status. It’s not some non-sense pride; it’s very much a real thing: how good do you feel doing what you do? How good do you feel when you tell people what you do? I think feeling good is important for most people.

Why is med school just “on my mind”, and not “all I can see”? Here are some reasons right off the bat again (meaning this post is much open to discussion and expansion):

  1. Crazy hours. I have lots of wild ideas that I’d love to pursue, and if my job occupies me 7 days a week, then bye-bye my ideas.
  2. Idealist bubble burst. Perhaps I fear the vision of coming out of med school for all the feel-good factor in the world, and realize I’m just becoming a soldier of a corporation built on exploiting the suffering.
  3. Somehow being a doc seems less colorful and intellectually exciting than being, say, a Google engineer working on world-domination. Being a doc requires doing the same things over and over, to build up the experience, expertise, and efficiency. Being an innovator requires constant learning, new ideas, and breaking new grounds.
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12 thoughts on “Med or no med

  1. Med is “just on your mind” possibly because of the following reasons of why it’s “just on my mind”:

    See the big picture. Different occupations playing different roles. Med is just one that is “stable”, prestigious, and fixes people up.

    If I want to know exactly what my life would be like from university on, I would do med. See patients…stable career…money guaranteed… down my pocket.
    Live through the life of what a big part of my family tree lived through. Helping patients…blah blah blah. Unless I am treating patients in rural areas (like Africa or a tiny countryside), cut the bull about saving the world. I am simply performing a service and completing a transaction in the end.

    The business world is harsh but it is very exciting. A combination of intelligence and luck is required.
    You might be a billionaire one day and go completely broke the next day.

    BUT, at the end of the day (as in 2 or 3 decades later), I have so much to talk about.

    This comment is not intended to state med is completely out of my mind. I simply have not made up my mind. (hey it’s a couplet!)

  2. I take the first line back, I don’t think those would be the reasons on your mind (simply because we are coming from completely differ family backgrounds). OOps!

  3. Haha… I don’t think using the same word counts as rhyming. And a couplet needs to have two lines of 10 syllables each, with matching stresses… but anyway
    You’ve named a crucial point in your mentality I think: you think the business world is exciting. Aside from being more unstable, I don’t see how it’s much more exciting than a career in med.
    In a business word you are also performing services or orders from your bosses. I guess if you climb onto management, you can start ordering people below you around. Who knows, if you keep climbing up, you might even reach the top, slicing through your competition.
    The business world requires more than intelligence and luck I think; it requires innovation, skills to play nice with people, skills to step over people, skills to attack and defend… I guess that is in a way more exciting than medicine, where your enemy is not people, but diseases. Where money and position is not the only goal, where climbing the ladder is not the only reason why you get to work.
    I think docs have many things to talk about as well. Perhaps you just haven’t met an interesting one.

  4. I think I am just bored of the topic about diseases. Been hearing about it for a big part of my life and the “proper” drugs to treat them.

    You hit a great point. Med’s enemy is disease. Sure you can learn about the right drugs to treat certain symptoms and hope it all works out. It is very challenging I agree.

    Unless you are researching, as a MD doc who does his/her job, I view it as playing with your toybox, which changes from time to time.

    Somehow med doesn’t appeal to me at all right now.

    I also agree that business gets disgusting at times, when money is the only target. But it’s an entire different type of interaction with people. People aren’t complaining to you all day about aches and illnesses.

    However, I disagree that climbing the ladder is the only reason one’d go to work in business. All the ppl I have met (maybe you can argue not that many) are very happy with their work, whether it ranges from the people owning companies or working in clinical operations.

    Hmmm the conclusion is to keep poking around!

  5. Yes, I agree with you on that MD is someone who plays with a box of life-saving toys. And that’s one of my concerns with a career in MD, because I love learning, discovering, planning, executing new stuff, and I don’t know how much of this a career as MD can provide.

    Climbing the ladder may not be the only reason one’d go to work in business, but if that’s not one of the reasons, then they are happy to stay in the same spot. If they are happy to stay in the same spot, then they will be less aggressive towards competition, and they will play with the same toybox until they retire.

    Keep poking around, and keep these issues in our heads is the way to go:)

  6. Also, this is a very personal comment that I have to make:

    With all the technology and medicine that we already have, I feel that we have enough to live through our lives (however many years that may mean).

    More research on medicine. Better medicine. Why can humans not accept death as a faith? (I’m glad the world didn’t start with Tinas).

    Although I do feel a responsibility to the world, I do recognize that I have approx. 80 years to live (if i’m lucky) and there are only that 80 years to live. With the addition of assuming that each person only gets one life, I’d like to make enough money to do whatever it is that I want to do (African projects, outings, etc…money is a part of the goal but not something I’d be dying over) and just RELAX!

  7. There is nothing wrong with playing with the same toybox. I (and you) are simply looking for something more, I think.

  8. Sounds like we both like to pursue interesting projects… what’s a job that can provide stable income AND enough free time to do as we please?

    I don’t think you get to relax in business until you pull yourself out of the job. If you can be gone from the business for a week, you can be gone forever.

    Why do MDs seem to relax less than business people is something to think about though.

  9. LOL I seem to have so much faith in myself in business. Plus I love talking (except when I am stressed about studying/exams).

    MDs do get a lot of time to relax…but I am currently very uninterested in being a doc as a career. So bored of the topic.

    I have one life and I’d like to make the most out of it. So what if I don’t go broke one day? At least that’s some experience to reflect back on on dooms day!

    Looking at what my dad and his siblings are at now, they have more than enough wealth to live through their lives. Sure they have taken many vacations…had this had that…lost patients a few times in their career…The end.

    Maybe I am asking for too much in my life. I want to be excited, go through ups and downs and still be successful and happy with everything in the end.

  10. Hm, everything you want, someone can find in a MD career. Up and downs, make the most out of life, experience to reflect on…

    I think you’ve decided that you don’t want to do what most of your family do, and you’ve decided business world is the right choice for you. Only experience in the business world interest you. Experience in med only bores you.

    If your mind is set, then perhaps you need to reflect on how you want to use your education to achieve your goals.

  11. Well my mind isn’t set set. I am having my ums and buts with myself.

    I am close to finishing my education. Keeping all doors open (whether it is research, med, selling stuff). At least 2 more years to ponder and poke the world!

  12. I think I have been too lucky to be exposed to so many different sides of lives and careers at this young age. People who have been studying and working hard their entire life, docs, company owners, people living off inheritance and “working” to help, ppl so devoted to their passion that money don’t even matter.

    I’ll keep looking!

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