How I Knew Medicine Was Right For Me

Authored by: Alex S.

How did I know medicine was the job for me?

I went through a lot of different career exploration before medicine (a lot of outdoorsy type work, I thought I was going to be a park ranger or something, then when I decided against that thought I would be a bench scientist). But I’ve always volunteered a lot and always knew I wanted to be in a career of service. I worked in EMS and in an ER before I started in medicine and that experience confirmed that this was the place for me – I love patients, I love emergencies, I love being useful, I love knowing how to help when things are rough.

How much free time did I have in undergrad/ med school?

I studied really hard in college, but I also volunteered a lot in EMS stuff because that’s what I loved, and got into research as well. Did a lot of my hobbies, ran some organizations. So I didn’t really have any free time and I was stressed a lot. Pretty much the same thing is happening in med school. Thus far, I’ve made it work and am really excited about the projects I’ve been able to work on outside the classroom. So I’m really busy but it makes me really happy even if I’m simultaneously a little freaked out if that makes sense.

Did my family pressure me to go into medicine?

Not even slightly. My dad never went to college and worked a blue-collar job, my mom works in business. They just wanted me to be happy.

Do I enjoy my lifestyle? Money-wise?

I’m still in med school. I would encourage you not to do this for the money. It’s a lot of work and not worth it for prestige or money or whatever. I can’t say this from my experience but for me I loved taking care of patients before med school and that made me want to do more of it and have more responsibility and greater ability to help.

Any regrets? Would I do it again?

Dude, I feel so lucky. I can’t believe the opportunities I have right now. People take me seriously because I’m a medical student and that has allowed me to get involved in really cool research, start a large public health project with a bunch of awesome people in my class, do all kinds of stuff. Thus far, despite all my frustrations with my school (and there are plenty) it’s sort of a dream come true, I feel like I’m empowered to actually do things to help people, actually live my ideals of activism and social justice and compassion and all that. It’s really exciting, at least now.

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