So I posted about going to, and subsequently dropping out of, medical school, but I still have some advice for you doctor hopefuls out there. Here are a few questions and concerns you’re going to inevitably deal with from others as a pre-med or early medical student.
1) WHAT KIND OF DOCTOR DO YOU WANT TO BE?
I don’t know grandma, geez! This question will come up all the time from everyone who knows your plans to become an upstanding medical professional. The problem is that most people don’t understand that it’s the equivalent of asking a kindergartener what they’d like to major in in college. Medicine is so far removed from most undergraduate programs that actually getting any real experience in a specialized profession only comes during the later years of med school. Even professors and doctors laugh in your face if you think you have an idea of what you’d like to be. If you’d like to explain to everyone that you’re not sure and you’ll find out in medical school because that’s where the real experiences come form, be my guest. But my personal favorite is to make up specialties and see who notices, much like someone actually put in the position of the kindergarten analogy might. But just be careful, you’d be surprised at some of the weird and gross specialties that actually exist and you don’t want your grams to Google “Butt Cancer Specialist”.
2) WOW YOU’RE GONNA MAKE SO MUCH MONEY!
Sure, most doctors make a really good living despite what the ones paying more than one alimonies will tell you. The problem is that you make all that money after you’ve more than likely borrowed a shit load. I mean A LOT of fucking money. Most medical students leave school with about $200,000 in debt. That’s a rough average so some have even more to deal with. Oh and on top of that, you don’t get paid the big bucks until you are a fully licensed physician. That means going through residency after you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a soul-crushing four-year journey through the hell that is med school. And maybe you’re thinking, “Sure they make 45 or 50k but they get to do cool procedures and see patients!” Yeah, but they do stuff like hold the fat flaps during surgery, or try to figure out how to get rid of a pill-seeking patient to get on to more important things. Most residents also work nearly 80 hours per week for that salary. They work so much a cap had to be set in place to prevent over-worked, over-tired residents from making avoidable medical mistakes. Do that math and they are only making $12 to $15 per hour. Nice. At least that dude at Target gets to go home and not get called on a beeper. So by the time you get licensed to be a full working doctor with all the benefits, you’re in debt up to your eyeballs, you work almost non-stop, and lucky you just spent at least eight years getting there. So you aren’t actually making any money until you are at least 29… and that’s if you entered school directly following undergrad. Yay medicine!
3) HEY, I HAVE THIS WEIRD THING, LET ME JUST SHOW YOU…
No. Don’t let them. Seriously. Number one, you’re a pre-med or early med school student, so you’re an idiot. Most fully practicing doctors are still idiots, so you definitely don’t know shit. Also, if you pull your disgusting ingrown toenail or wart out while I’m eating, I will barf on you. Oh and news flash to the maybe five people who haven’t been on WebMD in their lives: nondescript, flulike symptoms are the start of essentially every disease ever. Asking an early medical school student for a diagnosis is basically the same thing as asking, “Hey, what disease have you have been studying this week?” You’ll get the same answers. So many diseases and disorders have similar if not the exact same symptoms it’s ridiculous. This is because your body is not a treasure trove of various responses to foreign invaders. It’s kind of a one trick pony, which is why in medicine there are so many lab tests done to determine causes of disease. Oh you have weakness and a headache, you probably have a cold, or the flu, or cancer, or diabetes, or arthritis, or muscle tension, or you’re just studying for medical school. I understand how excited you are to get asked this like you’re the sage of heinous bodily functions, but you’ll probably do more harm than good if you answer them or pretend to look into it. Just leave it alone and repeat after me, “I’m not a doctor yet, so you should probably just go see one.”
4) WOAH, ARE YOU A GENIUS OR SOMETHING?
Nope, you’re not. Well fine, MAYBE. But probably not. If everyone who went to medical school was a genius then why is your grandma always complaining about her doctor? They are just normal people who decided to devote their entire lives to one very specific area of study. You may think you’re super smart for getting into or being in medical school, but you’re probably not. Most people get in by showing their level of commitment to the process of becoming a doctor. Volunteer work, research, leading and joining clubs are all just as if not more important than great grades. Grades are just a show of hard work anyway. The people who work harder for their grades will do better in med school as a general rule. As someone who barely ever studied in school, I floundered in medical school. If you don’t know how to study, you’ll drown in all the information given to you. That person who got an A on every test so far, ask him or her if they’d like to grab a drink on Saturday night. They’ll probably glare at you with bloodshot eyes and hiss. Or just say, “Can’t. Gotta study.” Just to piss you off more, by the time you do learn to study and do well, you’ll meet that one person who plays videogames all day and still passes classes. They are the genius, and everyone in medical school will hate their guts.
5) YOU’LL GET SO MANY LADIES/MEN NOW IF YOU USE THE “I’M GOING TO BE A DOCTOR” LINE
Ok, this is sort of true. First off in our unfortunately sexist culture, on average most men find women doctors to be intimidating, so I’m sorry to all the future lady doctors. God forbid a guy should want an intelligent, driven significant other. But the good news for you ladies too is that no one has time to date. Good luck getting your ass to a bar, and when you do good luck being sociable. “Hey, have you heard of that new disgusting disease I just learned about? Hello? Where are you going?” No one wants to talk about your medical school shit besides other students. But it’s your life now, so you have nothing else to talk about. Did you see that new movie everyone’s raving about? Nope, I was busy finding some dude’s pubic symphysis and trying not to grope his balls. Wow, you’d love this new game that came out, it’s right up your alley. I’m sure I would if I wasn’t drinking 10 cups of coffee a day just to stay awake to read one more chapter on the intricacies of the human asshole. But yeah, definitely let a hot girl at that one bar two blocks from your apartment spoil Game of Thrones for you. You’ll never get a chance to watch it anyway, and maybe you’ll get laid! But probably you’ll just go to bed early. After all, you’ve got a test to take every week for the rest of your life! Woo! Don’t worry though; you’ll probably have an awkward hookup with that one cute girl/guy from every class you attend for the rest of your med school career. That won’t get awkward.
Well, that’s just a few of the awesome things about the pre-med/medical school life. Think it’s still for you, well then you’re probably a delusional idiot who thinks it won’t be that way for you… or you just really like helping people. That’s awesome. Just don’t let it all go to your head. You’re not Superman, you’re only (almost) a doctor; and pretty much no one cares about that but you.