I must say I am incredibly delighted if you are considering becoming a doctor. Studying medicine definitely has its perks, and also its drawbacks, which I will get into in this post. This is actually something I discussed in the most recent episode of our podcast so if you want to check that out it would be much appreciated! We also discussed two other degrees, liberal arts and law, so if you are interested in those too it may be of use to you.
Why I Chose Medicine
I’d like to tell you a little bit about why I chose to study medicine, because I think it might be helpful, and because it’s also a very common question in medical school interviews. Most of my friends in medical school have either a parent or both parents who are doctors. Neither of my parents are doctors – my father is a civil engineer, so naturally I always thought I would become an engineer one day. After all, I loved STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), and I was always inspired by my father’s work.
For most of my school life, I had never considered medicine as a potential career path. It had never even crossed my mind. It was only later towards the end of secondary school, when I was given a career profiling test, that the idea of doing medicine became something real for me. I was incredibly surprised to see the top two career suggestions it gave: anaesthesiologist (a doctor who puts people to sleep) and surgeon.
Admittedly, I was initially confused as to why it suggested I become a doctor. I slowly came to realise however, that my interests in science, combined with my desire to help others, were the main factors that helped the profiling system come up with its answers.
Don’t get me wrong, you really don’t need a test to help you decide what you want to do in the future. But if you are interested in science, and like the idea of a career where you directly help other people, you can definitely write down medicine as one of your potential options.
What You Also Need
To be completely honest, medicine is hard. It comprises a lot of memorisation and dedicated study. But it’s not about the fact that it’s difficult, it’s about whether you are passionate about it, and whether you can be resilient and committed. I’m sure no one has ever found it easy and that everyone in medical school is pretty much in the same boat, but it’s those who are really committed that become successful in their studies.
Commitment is also important because it is quite a long course. It can take 5-6 years, which doesn’t include housemanship/foundation and specialisation years. With those long years comes a lot of costs, meaning studying medicine generally is not cheap.
The Good Stuff
Enough about the negatives though, let’s talk about the good stuff. If you really like the idea of research and life-long learning, then that’s great because medicine is all about that stuff. Doctors have to continually learn and update their knowledge with the latest information and technology being published every day.
If you love social, one-on-one interactions, and want to see the direct impact you have on the people you serve, that is also what medicine is all about. Being a doctor is a very human career. Doctors always aim to provide the best service to their patients, whether it’s the way they interact with or treat them. There are lots of ethical aspects to medicine too, including autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice.
It is generally a very fulfilling career. Yes, you need to have mental strength and resilience at times where things don’t go your way, but generally, being a doctor is very rewarding. You make the difference for others and help them live happier, healthier lives. Who could ask for more?
It is also a very well respected profession. And while this shouldn’t be your main motivation (neither should it be money), it is definitely a nice perk. Doctors are also always in demand, so it really is a calling to most people who end up studying it. We always need doctors.
And that’s all from me for now! I hope that this has helped you a little bit if you really are interested in studying medicine. If you need tips on passing the interview I wrote a post to help you here! (why you chose medicine is a really important question in the interview!) As always, let me know if I missed something by dropping a comment down below. Till next time.
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