Whether you are changing careers or deciding late in your college career that medicine is your path, there is no doubt that making that decision can be anxiety-provoking and life changing. The truth is that medical students come in all forms and from every imaginable background—something I didn’t fully realize until beginning medical school myself. Regardless of where you are starting from, it can be a daunting task to ready yourself for the application process when you feel behind from the very beginning.
A friend of mine studied film in college and subsequently found himself working as a cameraman for a documentary television program about the lives of EMTs and ER physicians. He experienced some very tense situations, and from his work decided that he wanted to do more than document how people received medical care—his desire was to participate in the action of helping others as a doctor.
Unfortunately, his film education was the furthest possible undergrad experience he could have from pre-med. He had no applicable science credits, no anatomy or physiology, and the only shadowing he had done of physicians had been with a camera in hand. In short, his path would be an arduous one, and he was soon going to turn 31.
It was during my third year pediatrics rotation that the doubts starting creeping in. I really couldn’t see myself doing this for another fifty years – “this” being clinical medicine. When I finally gave voice to these thoughts, my friend and fellow medical student didn’t seem surprised. “Have you thought about quitting?”
I remember staring at her, unimpressed. “Are you crazy?! I’m not quitting when I’m already $150K in debt with only a year to go!”