Why I Go to Medical School

Hopefully my previous post hasn’t scared off any great future doctors out there. And if you’re already in medical school–cheers to living the dream! Here are my reasons for staying:

  • I love helping hurting people.

If you’re like me, your heart breaks at the sight of a stubbed toe… ok, more like a congenital tracheoesophageal fistula. But you want to hug it all away, mentally/emotionally, for the less demonstrative types. Crying alongside patients who have lost physical functions, family members, or their dreams = comforting sick people = medicine.

  • I can’t picture life outside of a clinical setting.

And you don’t remember a time when you weren’t sporting a plastic doctor kit. My CRNA mom gave us the birds and the bees talk when I was six and Jon was four–Netter style. Emergency intubation? I’ma come along. Gummy bears? I’ma perform brain surgery.

My brother and I used to transplant arms and legs and whole heads. Preggo gummies exist too.

Transplant, tumorous, pregnant, amputated gummies. All sorts out there.

  • The above criteria is satisfied and…

Some inner aspiration or undigested bit of broccoli within me says,”Learn all life long! Delay gratification for a couple six more years! Become creative, caring, independent leader in local community!”

(Inner voices may be proof one can OD on vegetables.)

  • I hope that my today doesn’t look much different than my tomorrow.

What counts is community, faith, family and friends, and health, so I try to work medicine around that. A rising second year gave the best advice last summer to treat medical school as an eight to five job.

Much of the whining around a physician’s hours concerns life choices. Before medical school, did you truly put family and friends before that research abstract? In medical school, did you skip breakfasts during a week-long cram session? I liken getting to the gym or church or soup kitchen to climbing Mt. Everest. Backwards. On a good day. During some pseudo holiday break of sorts.

Becoming a doctor can’t be any less scary to a 20 something year old than trying to figure out what to do with the rest of life. And who knows? I might just have fun.