On my Pursuit of an MD
Last Wednesday, I decided. I am done. I don’t want to be a doctor anymore. Now to some of you this may come as a shock because I have worked really hard all throughout my time in college (and most of high school) towards that specific goal. Yes, I am capable. Yes, I would get in. Yes, I could get through. Yes, I would be good at it. No, I don’t want it. It won’t make me happy.
This isn’t a whim, nor is it a decision I have taken lightly. I have been debating whether or not I want to pursue medicine for at least a year now. I am a total nerd and I love learning, especially if it involves the human body. My main goal in life is to serve God and I have always wanted a profession that is focused on making a difference. In addition, I am a great test taker with social skills (gasp!).An MD seemed like the perfect fit for me.
With everything that has occurred in my own health and that of my family, I have strong convictions and opinions about medicine. I have been to at least ten doctors. I watched my brother slip away into autism. I don’t believe in Western medicine. Look where it has got us (but this is a rant for another post). My goal was to get an MD, throw away everything medical school taught me, and advise my patients on how to become truly healthy: reduce stress, eat whole foods, slow down every once and a while, don’t vaccinate, go outside, smile, avoid drugs, believe in something, spend time with other people. Driving home last Wednesday, I was thinking about how I don’t have the time to be as healthy as I would like because I am working so hard to get into medical school. I reminded myself that it would be better in a few years.
It then occurred to me, it won’t be better. If I go to medical school, I’m looking at another 10-15 years of working 12-16 hours a day, cramming information into my brain, without the time to do the things that are a priority to me. I take school very seriously. I get paid to go to school so I consider it a full time job, but I don’t want it to be everything I do in life. I want to have the time and energy to grow a garden, run, spend time with the people I love, cook food from scratch, clean my apartment, read, get involved in a church, serve my community. I don’t want to spend 60 hours a week studying biochemistry or even patient diagnostics. I don’t want to have to get more vaccines to work in a hospital. I don’t want to give out prescriptions within fifteen minutes of seeing my patients for the 4-8 years I would spend in residency.
I want to enjoy life, every single day. Yes, hard work is necessary. Yes, sometimes I have to get through the day hoping for the next. But I don’t want to spend the next fifteen years wishing for the day when I would have my own practice and I could be the doctor I want to be.
If I am simply going to recommend herbs, nutrition, homeopathy, or acupuncture, why not go get a degree in one of those? All of those degrees are less stressful, less time consuming, and I will agree with the curriculum to a greater extent. Or why don’t I teach? I LOVE SI. Seriously, I love standing up in front of a group of students and talking about science. I am also a TA this semester and although I am only required to lecture once, I have signed up for at least three lectures. I love telling people about the things I am passionate about or interested in.
Yes, I am smart and many pre-meds would love to have my numbers and my resume. That does not mean I have to be a doctor. Our nation needs talented and capable teachers too. Just because I can doesn’t mean I have to.
At this point, I’m still not sure what I will do with the rest of my life or even next year, but I do know a couple things. I am not going to pursue any type of degree in Western medicine. I am also going to do less. I do not need to take 15 credit hours and shadow a doctor while being a mentor, SI leader, learning strategist, TA, volunteer, and officer in a social club. I do love everything I am doing but the compound effect is that I am overwhelmed and living off of bagels. Next semester is going to be different.