Medical School Dropout?
Date: Jan 18th, 2011 11:52:09 pm - Subscribe
Mood: unsure


Lately, there have been a lot of discussion surrounding an article written by Amy Chua in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Why Asian Mothers Are Superior".

This article, along with many other factors, has made me rethink the career path that I'm on. I always tell my friends, "Don't choose a career because of the money or because you want somebody other than yourself to be proud of you." But... have I not been taking to my own advice this whole time?

With each day that pass, I find that I lose the motivation and drive to attend class, study, or put in any effort. But school is expensive. Four years of undergrad and four more years of medical school. So far, I have $42,000 worth of debt. By the time I finish, I will have accumulated a total of $150,000 - not including interest. That is a scary amount; I can't bring myself to think about it. Of course, money isn't the reason I'm questioning myself.

I guess the main cause of my doubt is that I don't feel like I am learning in medical school. I went to class, studied, and did everything I needed to. But when people ask me a question pertaining to something I learned 3 months ago, my mind goes blank. Heck, if they ask something about what I learned last week, I don't know. Isn't that a scary thought? That a medical student, someone who will eventually have a huge impact on your life, can't retain any information? If I were anyone else, I wouldn't want me to be their doctor, or a doctor at all. How am I supposed to save people and think on my toes when I can barely remember to water my plant or pay my credit card bills.

I have a deep desire to help people, to make an impact, to leave a lasting impression. But am I meant to do that by being a doctor? There are plenty of careers out there that does that on a daily basis! Nurses, teachers, even event planners!

I have spent my whole life with my head in the books, studying and trying hard to make my parents proud. When I applied to medical school, I told myself that I was doing it because its what I wanted, not because of my parents. But now I'm not so sure.
I feel like I'm in the movie Inception and I am doing something that I don't want to do, but don't know it.

There are two scenarios that could possibly be my future.
1. I keep on going with medical school. Graduate in 3 years. Do my residency for say... 5 years. I'd be 30 then. Work hard to pay of my debt, which, by then, would probably be in the $170,000 - $200,000 ballpark due to interest. How long would that take me to pay off? Five to seven years if I'm very diligent and still live like a poor college student. Lets say it takes me 6 years, by then, I'll be 36. Still young enough to go back to school and do something else? Possibly.

But what if I quit now?

So here goes scenario #2. I drop out and am $42,000 in debt. I take my Microbiology degree and get a lowly lab tech job that pays no more than $30,000 a year. It'd take my (minus living expenses + interest) ~7 years to pay off my debt. What then? I'd always dream of owning my own business of... whatever. But what money would I use to do that? The ones growing in my tree in my backyard? Unlikely!

So I guess the real question is: Can one be happy in a career they don't think is meant for them that is time-consuming but also rewarding?
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