You want to go into medicine – awesome! You’re aware of the ability to save lives and be a the forefront of an amazing field. But are you also aware of what they don’t tell you about med school?
I get it. If you’re contemplating a decision to pursue medicine, it’s not a career decision you make lightly. But there are still hidden cons of medicine that you’re not aware of.
A future career in medicine involves years of sacrifice. You will spend countless hours studying and at the hospital, and have limited time for your hobbies and passions.
But at the same time, it has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life.
I’ve learned so much about myself in these quick four years.
Long story short, I know there is no career path that I rather be on. Being a doctor is what I want to do, and medical school has made that more clear.
But I still want to shed light on the aspects of medicine and medical school which aren’t discussed enough. In this post, I will give you my top 4 that no one talked to me about before I started med school.
Expect a video on this soon. Stay updated by checking out our fast-growing YouTube channel!
For now, here is my perspective with a video from my pre-med video course, The Pre-Med Blueprint.
Delayed Gratification in Med School:
If you are not a person that deals well with delayed gratification, then medicine is likely not the path for you.
Think about this for a second. You graduate college (in the US) around 22. You thus finish medical school (assuming you get in on your first time) around 26.
Then comes residency. If you choose a primary care specialty, then you won’t be an official doctor until you’re 29!
If you pick a procedural heavy field (ie. surgery, Ob-Gyn, etc.) then add another 5-7 years after medical school.
Finally, looking at where medical school is going in the US, you’re likely going to consider specializing. That can be another 1-3 years after residency.
Want to be a cardiologist? Even assuming you get in on your first try into med school, residency, and fellowship, you still won’t be done until you’re 32!
That’s a long damn time!
So ask yourself this important question. Can your 18-20-year-old self be okay with waiting until your 30’s to finally be a physician?
Hesitating a little? I get it, it’s normal.
But it’s important to think about this before you find yourself down the rabbit hole.
If you see the medical field as the path towards money, fancy cars, nice homes, etc. then ask yourself if you can wait until your 30’s to have it?
Being Humbled and Mediocre:
Think you’re the smartest of all your classmates? Feel pretty good about yourself?
So do a majority of your med school classmates. But here’s the brutal fact.
50% of them will be in the 3rd and 4th quartile of the class.
We love the grades and percentiles when they work in our favor. But med school shows how easy you can become a victim of the standardized curve.
Your intelligence is relative. Even the smartest and brightest can be considered marginalized to unwanted percentiles.
I’ll share with you a personal example. I started as a C/B med student. I valued free time and my grades reflected that. When I studied longer, my grades improved but I was miserable. I didn’t want to remember my experience that way.
As a side note – here’s a video on how I overcame that obstacle.
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But fast forward to now as I’m about to wrap up medical school. I currently have a 3.9 GPA which I’m stoked with.
Am I an AOA student? Nope!
Am I in the first quartile? Nope (barely but still no).
Even with a great GPA, I’m still below the top 25th percentile of my class. That’s medical school at it’s finest.
Now I could easily feel cheated and disappointed that my hard work is not being reflective, but that doesn’t do me any good.
Instead, I realize that there’s at least 25% of my class which was smarter and harder working than I was.
And you know what? That’s completely okay with me!
I’ve enjoyed my medical school experience, but I also enjoyed a great deal of free time. Thus I’ll take my GPA, quartile, and happiness and remain inspired by my classmates.
Med school will likely show you that you are not the alpha male/female. If you depend on that for personal validation – med school may not be ideal for you.
If you’re okay with not being the smartest – than this may still be the field for you.
Being the Administrative Physician:
The idea of being at the patient’s bedside is real but overplayed.
Truth is, you’re spending most of your time with Microsoft.
This is something you’re warned about but don’t understand what it means until you are the care provider.
In a typical inpatient day, 20% of it is spent with the patient and the other 80% is spent with BS computer administrative crap (notes, discharge summaries, records, etc.)
The poetic version of a doctor we all once had is a myth.
Well at least oversold.
So ask yourself, are you okay with going through years of school and training but spending only a portion of your day applying that knowledge?
The administrative responsibilities of a physician are often reported as a common reason for burnout. We just don’t plan for it when we consider the field.
As a medical student, you’ll learn that you hate sitting in front of the computers. But that’s where you spend most of your time.
Don’t get me wrong, the patient encounters are amazing but be ready to become best friends with your chair and keyboard.
Lack Of Financial Education:
Congrats you’re a doctor! Here’s your $170,000 loan bill!
“How do I pay it What are my options?” “Oh you’ll learn that in residency.”
“Should I take an academic or private practice position?” “You’ll learn that too later in your training.”
“What should I do with my money once I start making an income I’m not used to.” “Oh well good luck with that.”
This is what it feels like to get financial advice in medical school. You’ll get a bunch of “it’ll come with time.”
But you’re likely going to be taking on several thousands of dollars in debt. You should have a better idea of what to do with your money now!
Do you know how to manage your money in medical school? Check out this article!
But you need to know how to save, invest, and pay off your loans.
Remember this – as a medical student and resident you’re broke! You need to act it before you ever start living a “doctor” lifestyle.
We, unfortunately, don’t learn that. Thus we have residents buying houses they can’t afford, cars they have no business driving, and vacations we only should be seeing on our instagram feed.
If you want to get a head start on learning how to manage your money, check out this post I made a while back!
So there you have it.
Yes, it may not be the most optimistic view from a med student, but it’s worth giving you a clear perspective.
This is what they don’t tell you about medical school.
Question is – does any of this change whether you still want to pursue the field?
Hopefully not, but I’ve seen students realize med school wasn’t for them because of one of these reasons.
The delayed gratificaiton is usually the most common reason.
So I ask you one quesiton – how bad do you want this? Two questions actually – what are you willing to sacrifice for this profession?
I hope you enjoyed this article about what they don’t tell you about med school. I think you’ll enjoy the following posts as well!
Tips for The First Year of Medical School
What To Know Before Applying To Medical School
How Hard is Medical School? (How To Survive)
Best Books On Personal Finance For Doctors
Want a more comprehensive guide on how to do well in college and get into medical school without all the stress?
I have a few options for you! If you want an initial step-by-step guide on how to create an irresistible med school application, check out The Pre-Med Journey.
You can grab a copy and see the reviews on Amazon by clicking the link here.
Then you will love our highly reviewed video course, The Pre-Med Blueprint! Updated on a weekly basis, the course will help you master your studying, boost up your CV, and know what you need to do in order to get accepted into medical school!
Check out The Pre-Med Blueprint here.
Thank you so much for reading.
Remember we have many helpful pre-med articles that you can find here.
Comment below with what questions you have as a pre-med. I’ll answer them in a future post!
Until next time my friends…