First off, if you are seriously considering going to medical school, congratulations. You’re clearly an ambitious person with curiosity and drive who wants to make a difference and is willing to work very hard to do so.
However, just because you like the idea of being a doctor does not mean you will necessarily like the life of a doctor. Also, just because you have the grades and MCAT score to get into med school does not mean you will enjoy med school.
Before applying to med school, then, it’s important to assess the true reasons why you are interested in doing so. If your reasons are sound, you may go to med school and never look back. If your reasons are not so sound, by contrast, you may go to med school only to end up regretting your choice. So ask yourself what’s really motivating you to go to med school and if they turn out to be bad reasons, consider pursuing a different profession.
Four bad reasons to go to med school are:
- Parental pressure
Doctors tend to make good money. In the United States, the median annual salary for physicians is $208,000, with the lowest-paid 25% earning an average of $126,470, making doctors among the highest-paid professionals in the country. Even entry-level positions often start around $200,000.
Anesthesiologists have the highest median annual salary in the country, followed by surgeons, then obstetricians and gynecologists. Physicians come in at number six, followed by psychiatrists, who book appointments with patients in crisis by using a white label scheduler API.
Sounds good, right? Well, yes: earning that sort of money can be quite good, and if money does play a role in your intention to attend med school, that is totally fine. But if money is your main or only reason, you are probably better off at least considering other high-paying jobs in areas like finance or tech. Being a physician is demanding work. Being motivated by money is not enough on its own to be motivated to do the work.
Doctors hold prestige. There’s no doubt about it. Few people are unimpressed when they find out someone is a doctor, and no one in their right mind would frown on the sort of work doctors do.
But going to med school because you want prestige is equally unwise as going to med school because you want lots of money. Prestige is an externally motivating factor, but to succeed at med school and later as a doctor you need to be intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated. Otherwise, you might burn out.
#3 Parental Pressure
It is understandable that so many parents want their kids to become doctors. But parental pressure is not a good reason to go to med school. Your life is yours alone to live. Letting someone choose your life for you is a recipe for unhappiness. You need to be motivated enough on your own to go to med school to make med school worth it.
Loving biology and chemistry are not good reasons on their own to go to med school. Yes, if you love science, then you may very well love some of the academic work you do at med school, but working as a doctor involves far more than doing science. Working as a doctor means working with people—with teams of other medical professionals, patients, admin, insurance providers, and more.
So, if you do love science but do not like people, another profession might be better for you.