The Lucky Ones

I used to be one of them. A barely mid twenty something making more money than I could figure what to do with at that age.

And then I went to med school.

And I hate to admit it, but somewhere in the back of my mind it's there.. too shy to come out,  though it does, to admit the HUGE mistake I made of ever going into med school in the 1st place. I love helping people who are sick or in need. I am very compassionate and also love learning medicine and all of this won't change.  I thought yes its hard but it would get way better in the end, and I would be learning medicine which I love and doing what I loved by helping the sick and those in need.  I thought that was all I needed. I was wrong.

It is the lack of a normal life that make me regret being a physician. And is it over when you are done with residency? No. Not for most people I know. I didn't do it for the money.. the loans are ridiculous and I was doing very well financially before med school, but still did not think this a big issue to do what I thought I would love to do for others. I just did not realize all that medicine sucks out of you. You trade your own life for others in some way. It's hard to even explain unless you have been through it. Many physicians are too proud to admit they are not happy or they forget what a balanced life is like and like to think they are happy. It's too painful to admit otherwise. Maybe I feel the way I do because I have had a normal job with a work life balance, and something to fall back on so it's easier for me to admit this. I have a normal experience to compare to.

My life would have been different for sure had I never gone but like many others still out there, I don't know who could have convinced me not to go at the time I decided to go. You don't realize until you are in the midst of it, and by then you've invested too much.

If I had not gone, I would have been able to help my family financially instead of vice versa. I would have decent free time to travel, spend time with friends and family, not miss out on so many life events, and just spend more time with my baby. Who knows whether DH and I would have wound up together though I really feel pretty sure we would have. I would never have had the experiences from med school, some of which were great. But the years of lack of my usual paycheck, med school tuition and loans,  residency pay, working long hours and not being able to afford things or having the time to do  things - I have missed out out on so much in life. Al of the regular people are in completely different stages in life. while you are slaving away like a dog, they are living in suburbia with a house, kids, and normal schedules and vacations.

This is what you get for dedicating your life to helping others. There is not enough regulation into treatment of resident and no one really knows the life of physicians. How many regret going into medicine? How many are truly happy? Reimbursement gets lower, the amount of hours put in/workload increase. And the salary pay is another way of saying "getting more than 40 hrs of work (ridiculously more) from a 40 hour employee" except the hours are ridiculous and the jobs so inflexible. There is rarely any part time positions. The job descriptions are not pretty (many should be split by two people), you have way too much to be responsible for, for all that you lose and have lost through your journey.

I am pretty sure if  I could choose all over again, knowing what I know now, I would not go into medicine. I will graduate from residency in July and am still not feeling sooo wonderful about the jobs ahead. Other than the fact that residency will be over, I am still fairly lost and upset/ angry wanting to get back or start to get my life back again. But now we are in different chapters. Almost a decade gone. I would not anyone in Pharma or Nursing. Or Chiro. Or PA or any other decent job with work life balance to do what I did.

Despite all of this, I know that my only choice now is to do the best I can with what I've got and think somehow there was a purpose for all of this.

I was sitting in the bookstore earlier and overheard a girl talking to her friend about not getting into PA school and some how she had a Eureka moment that involved her going to med school. She discussed it with her parents and brother and whoever else and everyone was all excited about it and I think this drove her even further into the delusion that med school was her answer. Maybe it is for her. Who am I to say anything? But on the other hand I feel for her, the long and painful journey ahead.. all the things she will miss out on.. Hope it's worth it for her in the end. Hope it's worth it for me in the end. My happiness related to med at this point comes from finally finishing the longs years. I am lost in regards to what to do next. I have not found one role model, anyone I'd like to be like in terms of their life (including work life balance) yet in all my years. In pharmacy, I met sooo many role models.


I wonder why God allowed me to take this path. Was this a mistake? Was he trying to stop me but I didn't hear him? Or is this right and I just have to hang on as I have been? I know the facts but I have to be practical though I will never give up on finding that balance. I really think more people should know what medicine is like before they jump on board this ship. It scares me to see others eager to jump aboard like I once was, without a clue where I was headed. It's not something docs like to admit for the most part.. but then others continue to suffer.  I would love to practice medicine if there were few changes that would give us a work life balance back. We only have one life and I cannot see mine being spent just working most of my life away. I need flexibility and balance to be happy.

dreamweaver127 dreamweaver127
31-35, F
15 Responses Feb 16, 2010

I am a med student as well..
Really.. Feel smthin very similar to u..👍

I dropped out of medical school 20 years ago and have only regretted it badly on 3 occasions and mainly for status/prestige reasons but also on the first occasion because I couldn't find anything else I was good at and was staring down the barrel of unemployment. For some reason I never felt good enough and thought helping people would be great and make me somebody. One day I made myself stop worrying about how I looked in other people's eyes and tried to be nice and help people every day in every little way I could. I mean you don't have to be a doctor to help people in life.
But you've done the work now man so just find some part of medicine that suits you and if you can't then just do something else - remember you've only one life!

It's the first ten years of barely making a dime. I had to repay huge loans. Then there's all the mal practice fees. I don't even want to think about it.

You can go into this life but once.Do the BEST you can.Look for the Passion in Helping others first and you will find the true inner satisfaction. Look for the best in others/patients who crosses your path and you will have true happiness and satisfaction. I have once into Medical practice for 6 long years and now into Health administration for almost 3 years now and I havent regret it yet. My joy comes when helping some one out.<br />
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Malresres Ngwele (Ni-Vanuatu 2011)

" Almost a decade gone. I would not anyone in Pharma or Nursing. Or Chiro. Or PA or any other decent job with work life balance to do what I did."<br />
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i do not completely understand this sentence/paragraph. do you or do you not advise someone to be a nurse?<br />
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because in your next paragraph it say that you have pharmacy role models....?<br />
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j/w nursing is my major

I hear your story all the time. I'm an OR nurse, I work around 50hrs/wk. And for some reason, a year or so ago I decided I wanted to go back to school to become a surgeon. So now, I work 40-50hrs/wk, school full time, I figure once med school and intership/residency starts it will be a breeze. What a break from it all! But I am always suprised how many doctors say what you say. And warn me not to do it. I also find it sad, how under valued, under appreciated, and under supported you guys are, I know the family sacrifes you make, the time, the energy. I talk to some of the docs wives more than they do. But I just wanted to tell you that in your heart, when you make a difference in someone's life. That's why you chose medicine, when you touch that fevered brow, take the pain away, or just giving someone good news, that's why you chose medicine. To be a healer...

My dream has always been to study medicine, and although I somehow ended in Biotech, I stil hope to make it into medical school. Seeing as how my whole life has been uneventful and what one could describe the blacksheep of the family, perhaps this is the job for me. Although nothing is certain, I will see what happens. Thank you for sharing your experience, it gives much thought on the decision on whether choosing or not the long and hard path of medicine.

I have contemplated becoming a physician even though I am not sure if I will even be accepted to medical school. I have pondered other paths but nothing appeals to me and my dream continues to linger. I understand your pain and frustration and it scares me for what I have to come. However, I think its imperative if you look at your life from a different perspective. From this minute forward you can change your life...you have a career position where you are benefiting so many people and the laws of attraction will resonate that back to you. Look at your life in light. You can be a physician and be content but you have to find that balance and a position that can satistfy you. <br />
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It may seem that you made the wrong decision but if perhaps you had not made the effort ... you would have been writing about regretting not becoming a doctor.<br />
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Do not regret the things that you have done but only those which you have not.<br />
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Do not linger on the idea of hating this chosen path but switch your mind to how you can use being a physician to better your life and make yourself happier.

I'm in a residency and completely agree with your post. I would enjoy what I'm doing if I did it for 50 hrs a week; not 80 hr and not at the cost of having a normal life. My backup plan is to teach high school biology if the lifestyle of an attending sucks just as much. I know that I would not have gone to medical school if I did things over.

Thank you for this experience. I am not a doctor, although I lived most of my young adult life with the thought that I would become one when I got older. You haved shed light on something that I am sure many others have felt but as you said, are too proud to admit.<br />
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I hope one day you can find some peace in your career, and thank you for your dedication.

I've been a gyn for 9 years and what you write resonates completely with me. IT'S NOT WORTH IT!! I've been searching for the entire time trying to find something else I can do, but there are so many barriers to changing like having to pay exorbitant malpractice insurance tails just to move or change jobs. This is something that NO ONE told me about before I started practicing. There is so much stress, and you're right about the expectation of sacrificing your life to help others. When you decide that that's just too much of a price for you to pay then many people look at you as selfish although they have NO intention of making the same sorts of sacrifices.

This is something I have also been struggling with...but for some reason I cannot pin point... I still continue to go down the road I have always believed was for me. However, to say I never doubt, I would be lying.

I hope you find some sort of internal solution. I am an undergraduate student, and medical school hopeful. What you are saying is troubling to me-- it is a lot of time and effort to dedicate. <br />
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I hope you end up being happy with the decisions you've made. I feel your despair or regret rather strongly and want to remind you that the you of the past-- the one who made the decision to become a doctor had the best intentions, and did consider the situation and still felt is was worth it. Happiness is ours to create, but I can see how that would be hard when the logistics of our life are bound up with all these expectations. <br />
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You're not alone though. My sister says similar things (she's doing her residency in family med right now).

thank you very much.your experienced actually woke me up from my dream of being a physician.I've always want to become an ER doctor.I've been thinking about helping people and help out my family all this time.But I never know how stressful being a physician is.You are right.Even though I want to help people but i cant trade my whole life and happiness to people.this is my life and I only have one chance in life.My life won't complete with smiles and hapiness.If being a physician take all that away then I don't want to be a physician.I will think of other jobs that best fit me.Once again.thank you very much.

I want to be a dermatologist someday!..Im taking up Bs Pharmacy for my premed course.I know that I am not that smart but I really really wanted to be a dermatologist someday.I am doing my best!!..Actually on my 1st yr 1st sem, I thought that I will shift to other course so that I don't take my studies seriously so I got 3.00 grades in my major subjects. And now on my 1st yr 2nd sem I didn't shift because I realized that I really really wanted to be a dermatologist. but I failed one of my subjects. I get high grades from all of my subjects except this failed one.I felt so depressed when I knew that! I really really dont know what to do..There are so many thoughts on my mind right now if I should continue to be a dermatologist or not because I read that in becoming a dermatologist you should get high grades in your premed and you should avoid having repeated subjects because it will be a big impact in the future in becoming a dermatologist.so what should I do?should I continue or shift to other course?Do i have a chance in becoming a dermatologist in my case?although I know that there is a chance but I feel that its hard for me but i want to be a dermatologist!!!...please help me!..I want some good and professional advice..thank you..