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Thoughts on "Think medical school is for you? You're probably wrong"


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23 minutes ago, celciuszoo said:

I wholeheartedly agree. Looking back at my own path, I needed to do law and work a few years before I understood what "real world" meant. Even now.. I am still learning, but having worked and sen how people interact, I was forever changed in how I deal with people and mediate conflicts.

I too was blinded in university.. it's hard not to be. When you're unsure about your career trajectory, you follow what all your peers are doing.. applying to med school... writing MCATs... research.. volunteer.. and you almost feel like: "Do I really even want this? Or does everyone want this so much that is making me want it?" I changed course because the rat race was not for me - I did not enjoy it. I switched into law and did a law degree. And I am sure we all fantasized about being a doctor.. I think we all have.. it's hard not to when you are bombarded by society's view of physicians and shows like Grey's Anatomy and House MD. But, the truth is, is it for you?

In taking your time and your own course, you will find that answer. I found this answer when I was in my mid-20s, some find it sooner, some later. But do not lose perspective - take control of your life and do what feels most right to you. 

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Eh, prestige, money, and security aren't necessarily bad reasons for wanting to go into medicine. The system is in fact structured to give doctors those very things, in part to incentivize people into pursuing the field - so we can't really complain when people follow those incentives.

It's just important to make sure those aren't the only motivating factors, and you will in fact enjoy the work, since you'll have to do a lot of it. I agree in principle with the article - that you should really critically consider if you would be interested in the job, and don't just do it for the money/prestige/security, but I can also see that to those who have, it does come off as a bit condescending.

Still, polarizing writing does make for a more interesting read...

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Considering her completely unrelated background that is neither connected to medicine/health/journalism and her condescending tone, I fail to see why this article should be given an ounce of relevance.

From my experience, I'd say most most people in my class didn't pursue medicine for money or prestige and if they did, they still truly care about helping people and making a difference. In fact, there are way more "hippies" than "frat bros" trying to make a quick buck. Of course, some did and form a very small minority but even out of those, the ones I personally know ended up pursuing specialties that are considered badly paid or not very prestigious out of sheer passion for the discipline.

It's hard to take a ranting person seriously when there are pretty much no arguments and just ranting without any reason.

(Disclaimer, I read the article yesterday so I might not remember it exactly how it was but that's how I see it)

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The general message is definitely one to be taken seriously. Regardless of the field, you should spend a considerable amount of time thinking if it's actually for you. Especially when it comes to a huge investment like medicine.

That being said, it's hard to agree with the article given how much she's generalizing, and how condescendingly she does it. "You're probably wrong" about wanting to go into medicine, she says. Why? Because you're probably (i.e. most of you are) a pampered child who has avoided the real world for forever, can't handle failure, and are going in medicine primarily because of "fear of uncertainty". Huge claims, based on... hmm... her own experience?

This passage just kills me:

"It's just that money is not the primary motivator. Fear is. Medical students are not like other students. They are used to being the best, to being treated as if they are gifted (of course, many of them are gifted.) The thing with medical students is that most of them have never experienced failure. Not big failure, anyway. Maybe they got mono during their freshman year. Maybe they failed a test once, in the second grade. Still, they play it safe. Having achieved perfection in high school, their goal is simply not to mess it up."

Sure, premeds are in general pretty neurotic, perfectionists and fearful of failure. But how does academic success imply that we haven't ever experienced failure elsewhere in life and grown from that? Getting mono during freshman year and failing a test once, seriously? That's honestly just so incredibly insulting.

n = 1, but from my own experience, I'd argue that most premeds are neurotic as they are because they have really high standards for themselves in the first place. They want to be the best that they can be. People like that tend to have pretty high standards for themselves outside of classes too. They're not kids that only do well in class because it's an escape from real life, as she seems to claim.

And finally, on the topic of physician burnout. "Is this a symptom of hostility in the workplace? Or is this real life, finally catching up?" I find that baffling. The hostility of the workplace can certainly be very difficult for many of us, especially since we're such perfectionists. But how does this mean that we're in it for the wrong reasons, that we're in it because we tried avoiding real world our entire lifetimes, that we're in it because our primary motivation is fear? The logical leap here is huge. People can be in medicine for all the wrong reasons yet make it through residency with no trouble. Yet others can be in medicine for the most genuine and noble of goals, and still burnout due to the environment. It has little to do with motivation, and much more to do with your ability to cope with such demanding environments (which of course can be boosted by the right motivations, but let's not pretend mere motivation is enough to get you through everything; it isn't).

This ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated. I guess I'm just not a fan of irresponsible writing. You should at least put some real arguments in there if you're going to write something this condescending.

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12 minutes ago, MedP111 said:

The general message is definitely one to be taken seriously. Regardless of the field, you should spend a considerable amount of time thinking if it's actually for you. Especially when it comes to a huge investment like medicine.

That being said, it's hard to agree with the article given how much she's generalizing, and how condescendingly she does it. "You're probably wrong" about wanting to go into medicine, she says. Why? Because you're probably (i.e. most of you are) a pampered child who has avoided the real world for forever, can't handle failure, and are going in medicine primarily because of "fear of uncertainty". Huge claims, based on... hmm... her own experience?

This passage just kills me:

"It's just that money is not the primary motivator. Fear is. Medical students are not like other students. They are used to being the best, to being treated as if they are gifted (of course, many of them are gifted.) The thing with medical students is that most of them have never experienced failure. Not big failure, anyway. Maybe they got mono during their freshman year. Maybe they failed a test once, in the second grade. Still, they play it safe. Having achieved perfection in high school, their goal is simply not to mess it up."

Sure, premeds are in general pretty neurotic, perfectionists and fearful of failure. But how does academic success imply that we haven't ever experienced failure elsewhere in life and grown from that? Getting mono during freshman year and failing a test once, seriously? That's honestly just so incredibly insulting.

n = 1, but from my own experience, I'd argue that most premeds are neurotic as they are because they have really high standards for themselves in the first place. They want to be the best that they can be. People like that tend to have pretty high standards for themselves outside of classes too. They're not kids that only do well in class because it's an escape from real life, as she seems to claim.

And finally, on the topic of physician burnout. "Is this a symptom of hostility in the workplace? Or is this real life, finally catching up?" I find that baffling. The hostility of the workplace can certainly be very difficult for many of us, especially since we're such perfectionists. But how does this mean that we're in it for the wrong reasons, that we're in it because we tried avoiding real world our entire lifetimes, that we're in it because our primary motivation is fear? The logical leap here is huge. People can be in medicine for all the wrong reasons yet make it through residency with no trouble. Yet others can be in medicine for the most genuine and noble of goals, and still burnout due to the environment. It has little to do with motivation, and much more to do with your ability to cope with such demanding environments (which of course can be boosted by the right motivations, but let's not pretend mere motivation is enough to get you through everything; it isn't).

This ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated. I guess I'm just not a fan of irresponsible writing. You should at least put some real arguments in there if you're going to write something this condescending.

Well said, and I completely agree.

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I have never been in the field for altruistic reasons and never will be. I have always been a person with a mindset these writers would denounce as unfit for medicine. Didn't stop me from getting into med school and didn't stop me from matching. Doesn't stop me from being a competent resident, because having priorities elsewhere doesn't mean I want to be a bad doctor to my patients nor does it mean I'm going to slack off on learning.

Sure there have been days in premed, med school, and even in these few short months into residency that I thought medicine isn't for me. Is it because of the reasons I came into medicine for? No, it's because some things in medicine are the quality of melena frothed with C. diff and no amount of love for the field is going to change my perception of that. Would getting through those moments be easier if I had more altruistic motives? Maybe. Can I replace said motives with other equally powerful ones? I do it every day. Every day I walk into hospital knowing this is a step towards the life I envision for myself. I better become a damn competent doctor to attain that life, and that involves all the professionalism towards patients that these sanctimonious parrots seem to think only stems from martyrdom.

From day one of premed I have been laughing at writings like these and know that I am proof to myself that the only thing you need in this longass journey is conviction for whatever you want most out of all this. It could be helping others. It could be whatever else you love about medicine. It doesn't have to be.

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4 hours ago, Hanmari said:

I have never been in the field for altruistic reasons and never will be. I have always been a person with a mindset these writers would denounce as unfit for medicine. Didn't stop me from getting into med school and didn't stop me from matching.

...

From day one of premed I have been laughing at writings like these and know that I am proof to myself that the only thing you need in this longass journey is conviction for whatever you want most out of all this. It could be helping others. It could be whatever else you love about medicine. It doesn't have to be.

Agree with your line of thinking.

As an aside, and meaning no insult, I'm genuinely curious as to how her choice in pursuing a masters in history instead of medicine is treating her

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5 hours ago, Hanmari said:

I have never been in the field for altruistic reasons and never will be. I have always been a person with a mindset these writers would denounce as unfit for medicine. Didn't stop me from getting into med school and didn't stop me from matching. Doesn't stop me from being a competent resident, because having priorities elsewhere doesn't mean I want to be a bad doctor to my patients nor does it mean I'm going to slack off on learning.

Sure there have been days in premed, med school, and even in these few short months into residency that I thought medicine isn't for me. Is it because of the reasons I came into medicine for? No, it's because some things in medicine are the quality of melena frothed with C. diff and no amount of love for the field is going to change my perception of that. Would getting through those moments be easier if I had more altruistic motives? Maybe. Can I replace said motives with other equally powerful ones? I do it every day. Every day I walk into hospital knowing this is a step towards the life I envision for myself. I better become a damn competent doctor to attain that life, and that involves all the professionalism towards patients that these sanctimonious parrots seem to think only stems from martyrdom.

From day one of premed I have been laughing at writings like these and know that I am proof to myself that the only thing you need in this longass journey is conviction for whatever you want most out of all this. It could be helping others. It could be whatever else you love about medicine. It doesn't have to be.

100% agreed. You don't need altruism to get through med school/residency and feel fulfilled. This is all premed dogma baked in ovens of desperation, delusion, and wishful thinking. 

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On 12/6/2017 at 0:33 PM, Snowmen said:

Considering her completely unrelated background that is neither connected to medicine/health/journalism and her condescending tone, I fail to see why this article should be given an ounce of relevance.

From my experience, I'd say most most people in my class didn't pursue medicine for money or prestige and if they did, they still truly care about helping people and making a difference. In fact, there are way more "hippies" than "frat bros" trying to make a quick buck. Of course, some did and form a very small minority but even out of those, the ones I personally know ended up pursuing specialties that are considered badly paid or not very prestigious out of sheer passion for the discipline.

It's hard to take a ranting person seriously when there are pretty much no arguments and just ranting without any reason.

(Disclaimer, I read the article yesterday so I might not remember it exactly how it was but that's how I see it)

Her background is related to health and medicine: MSc in the history of medicine and undergraduate degree in science. She also has experience in the publishing field...

I agree that there are many generalizations in her piece. It is polarizing, which is precisely why we are still talking about it several years removed. Controversy makes for good debate. 

16 hours ago, Redpill said:

 

Agree with your line of thinking.

As an aside, and meaning no insult, I'm genuinely curious as to how her choice in pursuing a masters in history instead of medicine is treating her

I think the Oxford name helped more than the degree in the history of medicine, but she seems to have found something she's passionate about outside of medicine.  

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The article was quite emotionally charged, and almost bitter toward those aspiring for a career in medicine. I don't think her assessment of "premeds" is fair. 

I don't doubt that there are premeds out there who are ignorant and naive and want a career in medicine for the wrong reasons. But I also don't think that this is exclusive to medicine. Does any high schooler or undergrad know what it means to work as an accountant? Or a police officer? Or as an engineer? Unless you have friends and family in the profession - not really. Some of my best friends from undergrad are engineers and I still don't understand what they exactly do in their work place. 

You can shine the same unreasonably critical light on anyone entering any profession.

The fact that the author decided to shine the critical light on premeds without at least acknowledging general naivety/ignorance of all undergrad students is what I find most disappointing. Furthermore, not discussing the systemic reasons/phenomena/theories for the existence of "premeds" is also very disappointing.

She just decides to point the finger and blame "premeds" for doing what they think is best for them. How can you point a finger at anyone in society and blame them - when they are simply trying to succeed in life?

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People are just going to think what they want to think. This article reflects that well. 

I know I entered medical school to connect with patients and be a leader in medicine and public health. I don't need to prove that or declare that to anyone. I just do it.

I'll set a good example by what I can do in the field. That's the bottom line.

- G

 

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As part of a group that deals with the public, I think it is good to at least be aware of such viewpoints, because they do represent how some patients will see you before you even open your mouth, even if you don't agree with it.

Although the article came across as sensational, and I don't agree with the sweeping generalization, I think we should recognize that we are all biased because we are the beneficiaries of the same process she complains about. 

On December 5, 2017 at 9:03 PM, la marzocco said:

I wholeheartedly agree. Looking back at my own path, I needed to do law and work a few years before I understood what "real world" meant. Even now.. I am still learning, but having worked and sen how people interact, I was forever changed in how I deal with people and mediate conflicts.

I too was blinded in university.. it's hard not to be. When you're unsure about your career trajectory, you follow what all your peers are doing.. applying to med school... writing MCATs... research.. volunteer.. and you almost feel like: "Do I really even want this? Or does everyone want this so much that is making me want it?" I changed course because the rat race was not for me - I did not enjoy it. I switched into law and did a law degree. And I am sure we all fantasized about being a doctor.. I think we all have.. it's hard not to when you are bombarded by society's view of physicians and shows like Grey's Anatomy and House MD. But, the truth is, is it for you?

That's also her point at the end of the article. From my own experience in undergrad, medical school was the default goal for a large proportion of people. Everyone has their own reasons for applying to medicine, but medicine doesn't have to be the default. Speaking for only myself, if I had applied to medicine right after undergrad, I wouldn't have a good idea of what I was doing and it wouldn't have been the right time for me. If you did in undergrad, that's awesome, but it may not be everyone's experience. 

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My 2-cents on this:

Diversity is strength. It would do well to have a full range of diverse opinions (some polarly opposite of each other) on every conceivable topic. That is the foundation of modern Western freedom-of-speech/ideas societies and the source of all of our innovations in science and technology.

My personal take on this:

I find that for myself, when the medicine journey gets tough, I second-doubt my career choice, when the going gets easy again i don't doubt my career choice. Simple as that.

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