Why Not To Go To Medical School

Why Not To Go To Medical School

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So you’re interested in going to medical school. But maybe you shouldn’t. In this post, we’ll talk about reasons why not to go to medical school.

Once you’re done reading this post, you may also enjoy other posts in the Pre-Med series:

Top 5 Mistakes First Year Medical Students Make
5 Things You Need To Get Into Medical School
Regaining Motivation in Medical School
What Are The Requirements For Medical School?

Let’s start with why I wrote this post.

This past week one of my classmates and I were talking about our plans for residency. I recently decided my future career (Internal Medicine) but he was much further from a decision.

Instead, he says he was considering “selling out” and getting a consulting job. Now I’ve nothing against the consulting job.

But can you imagine going through 4 years undergrad, the freaking MCAT, and 4 years of med school (+ step 1 and Step 2) just to end up in consulting?

This is why knowing if your reasons are authentic can save you a lot of trouble later on. But if your reasons correspond with one a few in this post, it may be reason to think on whether or not to go to medical school.

So let’s get started.

I Want To “Help People”

You may have read the headline and wondered why wanting to help people is a bad reason to go into med school.

Well honestly it’s not a bad reason, it’s just too vague of a reason.

Almost every pre-med says they want to go to med school to “help people”.

But what does that mean?

Why can’t you go to nursing, PA, or PT school and do the same thing?

You don’t even have to do medicine to help people. So why medicine?

Wanting to help people is honorable but it is too ambiguous of a reason to decide a life career on.

Check out my post on what you need to know before applying to med school to understand how to develop your “whys”.

Financially Attractive:

Money and medicine is a topic that we shy away from but everyone thinks about.

Yes the profession has a great salary and you and your family should be taken care (if you’re smart of course).

But can you deal with the stress of hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt? Remember medical school leaves you with an average of $150,000 of debt.

You may think this is not a big deal with a future 6 figure income. But remember that you don’t get paid the big bucks until you are out of residency. This can be anywhere from 3-7 years.

Those 3-7 years will be salaried between 40-60K (depending on your geographic region). During this time your loans are still accruing interest.

So a $150,000 loan can balloon to $250,000 – 300,000 at the end of your residency. Can you deal with that kind of financial burden on yourself and your family?

Now add a 3-year fellowship if you’re interested in cardiology, oncology, or any profession requiring additional training.

Medicine will make you broke before it makes you rich. If you’re going in for the money, pick a different field.

Family Pressures:

Trust me I understand this one. If you come from an immigrant or high expectation/achieving family, being a doctor seems like the only choice you have.

But it’s not worth it.

You may love your family but you can’t make your life decision’s on the desires of others.

If you can’t imagine yourself going in to work every day for the rest of your life, your family’s desires are irrelevant.

Find a field you love before you worry about those you love. It’ll be much easier to take care of them later on.

Social Status:

This goes for the prior few reasons. You’re likely a high achieving individual. Thus you may feel the pressure to continue to do big things in your life.

Don’t let your past success force you to pick a “successful appearing” profession. You will be miserable with your life.

I’ve unfortunately have talked to more classmates than I expected about being done with med school and second thinking their decision.

Yes some of them thought they were going into medicine for the right reason. But some didn’t evaluate their “whys” deep enough.

The only social statement worth making is showing that you are truly happy with your life and career. Pick wisely.

You’re Too Far In The Hole:

So you’ve told everyone you’re going to be a doc. You’ve taken all the required classes, majored in Bio, took the MCAT, and are all ready to apply.

You can’t imagine turning away now.

But it’s never too late to change directions.

Remember it’s 4 years of countless studying, long days, and tests. Then you have 3-7 years of residency before you can even become an independent doc.

This is a lifelong commitment and I ask you to not take it lightly. So while it may seem difficult to do a 180 and switch, it may be the best thing for you if you have doubts.

So there you have it. Medicine is a great field filled with great people – but it’s not for everyone. 

Hopefully now you know the main reasons on why not to go to medical school.

Thus it’s important to consistently reflect on your motivations to pursue medicine in the first place.

Once you have a solid reason, continue to revisit it and assess whether that reason still holds true.

If you’re reading this you’re likely a budding physician. I hope for the very best for you and don’t wish to see you perceive this field with regret.

Now I want to hear from you, what are other bad reasons you know or have heard on why not to go to medical school?

Also comment below if you’re struggling with the decision to become a doctor. I’ll try my best to help!

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post then you may enjoy the following posts as well!

Top 5 Mistakes First Year Medical Students Make
5 Things You Need To Get Into Medical School
Regaining Motivation in Medical School
What Are The Requirements For Medical School?

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. 

The Pre-Med Journey

You can grab a copy and see the reviews on Amazon by clicking the link here. 

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Med School Handbook:  Join thousands of other students who have taken advantage of the hundreds of FREE tips & strategies I wish I were given on the first day of medical school to crush it with less stress. 

2. The Med School BlueprintJoin the hundreds of students who have used our A-Z blueprint and playbook for EVERY phase of the medical journey so you can start to see grades like these. 

3. Med Ignite Study ProgramGet personalized help to create the perfect study system for yourself so you can see better grades ASAP on your medical journey & see results like these. 

4. Learn the one study strategy that saved my grades in medical school here (viewed by more than a million students like you). 

Thanks for reading!

Until next time my friends…

1 thought on “Why Not To Go To Medical School”

  1. Thank you so much for your insightful article! I’m definitely wrestling with the idea of going back to medical school. I received my MS in 2019 and have been working in the medical device industry since. I feel incredibly unfulfilled and medical school has always been a dream of mine. My ‘whys’ do include wanting to help people, but more importantly I want to practice rural medicine. There is such a need in the US and I want to offer the people in those communities the health education they deserve. However, I am so nervous about the financial aspects of medical school and being a very broke student again. Any advice would be much appreciated!

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