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Hi! I'm not in medical school currently but I have been applying for a few cycles. Over the years, I've graduated undergrad and started a different healthcare-related career, and sometimes I wonder whether it's even worth it for me to keep applying to medical school. So I'm curious, now that you're done schooling and are residents, was the journey worth it? Are you happy with your choice to be a doctor and would you go back and do it again knowing what you know now?

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1 hour ago, eunoia said:

Hi! I'm not in medical school currently but I have been applying for a few cycles. Over the years, I've graduated undergrad and started a different healthcare-related career, and sometimes I wonder whether it's even worth it for me to keep applying to medical school. So I'm curious, now that you're done schooling and are residents, was the journey worth it? Are you happy with your choice to be a doctor and would you go back and do it again knowing what you know now?

Residency is not really even a great approximation of what it is like being a full-fledged attending. 

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1 hour ago, Hanmari said:

I think you'll get a heavily negative bias by asking residents

Maybe so but residency is a large part of the process so I still want to take it into consideration

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14 hours ago, eunoia said:

Maybe so but residency is a large part of the process so I still want to take it into consideration

Well, the short answer is residency kinda really sucks. I work every other weekend, don't make a lot of money, my sleep schedule sucks because I do a lot of call and I'm not making a lot of money. People my age are partying, traveling, sleeping when they want to and have jobs that are a lot of fun. 

That being said, would I trade this? No, because I love what I do and would do it over and over again. I run into people who aren't in healthcare and lost their jobs because of covid, while I know mine is secure. I know I will make a lot of money later in life and I think I'm having fun. Here's a caveat though, I know that I am an exceptionally happy person by my nature and I have yet to meet someone who is as happy and carefree as I am and I still feel that residency sucks. Other residents who I've spoken to say that they ask themselves on a daily basis why they ever decided to go into medicinne and how if they haad the option to not do this again, they would  NOT do medicine at all. 

Do what you will with this information and I hope it was helpful

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I know you asked about resident physicians but I'm a PA working in internal medicine and emergency. I'm basically a resident who never leaves and manage/teach some IM residents. I work longish hours for a PA but I absolutely love what I do! Yes it is overwhelming at times and I tell the residents that things do get better when they're staff but some just burn out. It is a long road to becoming a staff physician and its not for everyone. I've come across two residents who were at the brink of just giving up and choosing a different career due to the stress. I knew when I was deciding between Med and PA that I could not see myself in school for so long. I love to travel and spend almost every other weekend away from my home city. With the sort of work required in IM and Emerg, I knew being a PA would give me more flexibility and paid time off. In the end, it is tough but if you love what you do, you'll love going in and taking care of your patients! The sad part is people find out too late if they regretted their decision and with the time and money invested it is tough to turn back

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24 minutes ago, cutiepie said:

I've always wanted to be a doctor since I was very young. But residency is not what is cracked up to be. Medicine is more like a calling, not just a job. 

Where did you get the impression that residency was otherwise? Sorry for whomever led you astray!    

But would disagree that it's a calling blanketly, as many people run into issues by putting it on a pedestal.   It is a job, one that has often strange/perceived-inhumane requirements to progress etc.

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TBH, residency is more like hell on earth. It is the worst psychological torture you can imagine and it's everyday for years. It's so bad I'm relieved when Fridays roll around and dread Mondays.

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I like my job and I'd do it again. I feel like certain specialties (IM, general surgery) do have a higher proportion of unhappy residents, usually due to a high demand in terms of hours/calls, and also the general feeling that your specialty is often a dumping ground for many others. It doesn't help that some residents in these specialties are only there because they want to pursue a subspecialty that requires one of these base residencies.

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I'm one year out in practice and I would say yea, in my opinion it was worth it.  I would do it all again if given the option.  Med school was overall a positive experience but flew by and my memory seems to forget huge portions of it.  Residency was at times tough.  But at the end of the day, now that I am done, I get paid very well to do work that I generally like to do and I have a reasonable degree of control over it. As a physician you gain knowledge, respect and job security in most medical fields.  When you are looking at the potential for a 30+ year career after finishing your training, spending 6-9 years training, half of it paid at a reasonably (although still grossly underpaid given your training base) resident wage isn't a terrible sacrifice.

I think that when we are training to become physicians we sometimes glorify the experiences that our non-medical colleagues are having in their 20's and early 30's.  

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I'm a resident and yes of course, but I knew what I was getting into and have found a specialty that I love and is fulfilling. I think if you survey people who applied more than once vs people who get in on the first try you may get different answers!

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On 7/2/2020 at 10:57 AM, eunoia said:

Hi! I'm not in medical school currently but I have been applying for a few cycles. Over the years, I've graduated undergrad and started a different healthcare-related career, and sometimes I wonder whether it's even worth it for me to keep applying to medical school. So I'm curious, now that you're done schooling and are residents, was the journey worth it? Are you happy with your choice to be a doctor and would you go back and do it again knowing what you know now?

Was the journey worth it, yes I had lots of memorable experiences in med school. As a clinician I experienced the human condition in a way that most people never will and took away many life lessons from those experiences.

Happy with choice? Yes overall.

Would I do it all over again? Twenty year old me would do it again in a heartbeat but me in 2020? Not sure. One thing to remember is that people change as they grow older in every single profession. The physicians you run into doubting their career decisions would probably experience similar doubts had they gone into other fields, so it's not just a phenomenon you see in medicine although physicians tend to make a bigger deal out of it.

Is it worth it to keep applying to med school? Depends on your outlook in life. In 10-20 years, would you regret that you stopped trying? For of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, "It might have been." - John Whittier

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It also depends on what your goals are. If your goal going into medicine is to become a subspecialist, I would think carefully about applying. Training can be anywhere from 6 up to a dozen years post-medical school for some surgical specialties and grueling, something i think can only feed on the wild imaginations of naive 20 year olds. 

But if your interest is in family medicine or in some form of primary care in the community, then it is definitely a reasonable and sound financial and lifestyle decision. 

 

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On 7/1/2020 at 10:57 PM, eunoia said:

Hi! I'm not in medical school currently but I have been applying for a few cycles. Over the years, I've graduated undergrad and started a different healthcare-related career, and sometimes I wonder whether it's even worth it for me to keep applying to medical school. So I'm curious, now that you're done schooling and are residents, was the journey worth it? Are you happy with your choice to be a doctor and would you go back and do it again knowing what you know now?

I just finished residency and I'm starting staff life, and I also left a career before starting medical school.

I will start off with my overall impression: Yes I am *generally* happy with my choice.

I think the biggest issue is many not actually in medicine/premeds/even medical students have a very skewed and idealist perception of what being a physician is all about. They fall in love with the good aspects of medicine (and these are the reasons why we all go into medicine, at least I think it is): being able to use our minds (and hands) and solve problems, being able to effect and impact someones life, being able to work with people (whether it be patients, allied health or colleagues), having a "secure" job with very good income potential etc...

What they fail to see or realize is how much we have to put up with and how much BS is within medicine (even as a staff): *long* training times, long work days (including working off hours/holidays), red tape bureaucracy that makes our lives painful (whether it be via the hospital, or government), being  underappreciated (by literally everyone) and overworked and then just expected to do more with less.

It's this mismatch between ones perception of how life would be and how life actually is that causes people to become jaded or bitter, and to some degree question whether they should do it.

No matter how much you say as a premed/med student you can put up with the negatives, until you actually go through it and get your A$$ handed to you on a platter, and still feel like you can go to work, then you can truly put up with the negatives.

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On 7/4/2020 at 1:23 PM, ACHQ said:

I just finished residency and I'm starting staff life, and I also left a career before starting medical school.

I will start off with my overall impression: Yes I am *generally* happy with my choice.

I think the biggest issue is many not actually in medicine/premeds/even medical students have a very skewed and idealist perception of what being a physician is all about. They fall in love with the good aspects of medicine (and these are the reasons why we all go into medicine, at least I think it is): being able to use our minds (and hands) and solve problems, being able to effect and impact someones life, being able to work with people (whether it be patients, allied health or colleagues), having a "secure" job with very good income potential etc...

What they fail to see or realize is how much we have to put up with and how much BS is within medicine (even as a staff): *long* training times, long work days (including working off hours/holidays), red tape bureaucracy that makes our lives painful (whether it be via the hospital, or government), being  underappreciated (by literally everyone) and overworked and then just expected to do more with less.

It's this mismatch between ones perception of how life would be and how life actually is that causes people to become jaded or bitter, and to some degree question whether they should do it.

No matter how much you say as a premed/med student you can put up with the negatives, until you actually go through it and get your A$$ handed to you on a platter, and still feel like you can go to work, then you can truly put up with the negatives.

I completely agree with this. I was a different professional before joining medicine and while I am happy with my choice I think I would've been just as happy with my previous job. Hindsight is 20/20 after all.

There are a lot of positives with medicine but also a lot of negatives. It's like any other job and we do a disservice to prospective students by portraying it as the ultimate profession. I work with a lot of people that enjoy their staff lives but I also work with a lot of people that clearly dislike how their life has gone. You need to understand what your priorities in life are and decide if the sacrifices of medicine still allow you to achieve this. A mismatch between perception and reality is what causes disillusionment and burnout.

It's easy to think that you can tolerate anything when you are young. I worked in a demanding profession before and residency training was by far the hardest thing I have every done. I honestly don't know if I could recommend my past self do it again just because of those years. The vast majority of people do make it to the other side though for what is worth.

I am a strong believer in actively shaping your life to accomplish your life goals. It is easy to ride the medicine escalator upwards but too many get trapped in a life they no longer want with no other options. I think we've all had our share of preceptors and colleagues who fit into that category.

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On 7/2/2020 at 2:10 PM, skyuppercutt said:

People my age are partying, traveling, sleeping when they want to and have jobs that are a lot of fun. 

I've seen this often in threads like these, and as a premed student, I am genuinely curious as to what these jobs are if anyone can fill me in 

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4 minutes ago, Remyelination said:

I've seen this often in threads like these, and as a premed student, I am genuinely curious as to what these jobs are if anyone can fill me in 

jobs in corporate, financial, and technology sectors

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4 minutes ago, Remyelination said:

I've seen this often in threads like these, and as a premed student, I am genuinely curious as to what these jobs are if anyone can fill me in 

One quick example between consults haha:

My friends who went to UWaterloo and subsequently went to work for big tech make good income (like comparable or better than medicine after the same number of years) and have great lifestyle (they've expressed shock when I tell them my hours).

I recognize that not every software engineer ends up there but it still doesn't seem as competitive as medicine in Canada.

 

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1 minute ago, klamar said:

jobs in corporate, financial, and technology sectors

Yea there are lot of cushy jobs at large companies. People just clock in a clock out.

Also, if you're ambitious you can climb in other industries. I tell students not to do medicine for the money because there are other routes to money in Canada that require a lot less sacrifice. Maybe it's not as clear cut or obvious but to say that medicine is the only good job out there is insane.
 

Too many people in medicine have never worked another job and as a result they don't appreciate all the good things we have in medicine but at the same are ignorant of how good things can be outside of medicine.

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14 minutes ago, blah1234 said:

One quick example between consults haha:

My friends who went to UWaterloo and subsequently went to work for big tech make good income (like comparable or better than medicine after the same number of years) and have great lifestyle (they've expressed shock when I tell them my hours).

I recognize that not every software engineer ends up there but it still doesn't seem as competitive as medicine in Canada.

 

Yeah I have a cousin who went to UWaterloo and is now in big tech... it does look like a great lifestyle. When I was in high school I always thought more education is the path to a good life and didn't know programs like those existed (and even if I did, I probably still would have done premed). I am applying to medicine for my first time this fall, and reading threads like this, combined with my enjoyment of the compsci classes I've taken, does leave me a little apprehensive.

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