You're only 27. You have time to think about this another year if you want to. It's a very hard road, no question. Expensive financially, lots of emotional and physical (ie, sleep) sacrifices. Would I do it again? I don't know, but probably yes. Being a doctor is a meaningful profession in which I have the privilege of serving others. Residency is hard, but it's also wonderful. The feeling of being brought under another physician's wing as they teach you the craft, and the feeling of confidence that comes from learning the craft, is wonderful. It's an experience I would not trade. Residency is hard but I do love it. And I'm a mother too. I still wouldn't trade it, even though I am a parent. I will say, I am in a humane field where I get time to read, think, and sleep -- ie, psychiatry. I do think specialty choice and practice setting make a difference in how people feel about their jobs and there is wide variability.
I agree with newmommdphd - I am very glad I did this. I have a 3 yr old, and I am pregnant again. About to finish PGY-1. I think specialty choice is really important. My life gets so much easier next year as far as schedule, and the ability to accomodate even a pregnancy. Other specialties would not be this flexible. Just wouldn't be able to. I could have been happy in many specialties, but I really thought about what would make not just me happy, but my whole family, and my specialty is perfect (Anesthesiology). I really don't think I would ever redo my choice. Hopefully, I am good at it! Being a mom and a physician is very very very hard. I wish I had more time to read, but holding my 3 yr old and playing with him is time I won't trade. I do the best I can. I bet a single person without a family does a better job. That said, I've been told my fund of knowledge is excellent, and I had an attending all but offer me a PGY-2 in IM next year if I wanted it, and an EM attending tried to get me to switch to EM last week. So I think you can be an excellent physician or in my case PGY-1 and still shirk reading as much as you want and spend time iwth your kid! Residency is very empowering, I agree with newmom. However, it is also exhausting. I just finished four back to back night shift with the last two 7p to 7am in the ED, and that is just exhausting. I hate those shifts. But you have to do it. Those are things you can't control in residency. You are too tired to do anything for a week at time, becuase you are a poor nocturnal person? Tough %^&*. For all the tough days - I wouldn't change a thing. I definitely am glad I'm an MD. Do I wish I was a 33 yr old going to Europe, because I was financially sound with my family right now with actual retirement? Yes. But that's life. Sometimes you can't get everything you want right away, so you go with the things most important to you. For me, that's my family and medicine. We'll trek Nepal and take extended vacations later on.
5 years 6 months ago - 5 years 6 months ago#94147by tr_
Freedom00, FWIW knowing what I know now I wouldn't start MD training with small kids in tow.
I'm extremely happy with my work and life right now (academic/research psychiatry 3 years post residency, I attend part time and do research the rest) but I would not start this road with small children. There are just too many years where you are forced to spend so much time away from them, it wouldn't be worth it to me. I had my first at the end of my 2nd year of residency and that was fine, since the way my program was structured I got most of the hard stuff out of the way before the baby stuff hit. And now I'm in a position where I have total control over my schedule, it's fantastic.
But prior to this I spent years and years working 60/70/80 hours per week in grad school, med school, and residency. I never would have done it if I'd had a kid. I would have quit.
I agree with others who have said that experiences differ vastly among specialties. Psychiatry is very cushy comparatively. Many other specialties continue to demand intense hours and uncontrollable schedules for the duration of the career. (Also I have no med school debt which is a huge factor in allowing me to maintain the controllable schedule I enjoy.)
I think you're really smart to think about this now *before* you sink in a lot of years and money that you can't get back.
There's really no way to know if medicine is right for you until you do it. Look in to what it takes (7+ years, 60-80h/wk, 250K debt not including lost income) and see if you still want to do it. Medicine will probably get more frustrating and less lucrative as the years go on, but it will always be a useful, service-oriented, intellectually stimulating, and in-demand profession.
Your happiness in medicine depends on so many other factors: are you naturally happy? is your spouse supportive and available? would you have trustworthy, affordable childcare? do your kids have special needs? would you only be happy in certain specialties? do you need/want to work part time? can you function without sleep? do difficult concepts come easily to you? etc.
Try out the post-bacc program next year if you're up for it - after a semester, you'll have a better idea.
Thank you so much for sharing your insight into my story. Thank you for taking the time to write me something; you women are really, really amazing.
I realize that it's been six months since I first posted my story about declining the acceptance letter to a pre-medical post-bacc program. I thought I owe it to these wonderful ladies an update on myself.
To be honest, I think I'll have this "what if" question mark with me for quite some time. What if I went with the post-bacc? What if I regret this decision later in life? The list can go on and on.
But these questions have also developed something a lot more profound and permanent within myself. It's the belief that you don't always have to do something just because you can, and the belief that regrets are based more on how one feels about oneself and the imagined results more than on real lost opportunities. Also, it nurtured in me the belief that while anything is possible, not everything is possible.
When I decided not to go with the program, I was first overwhelmed by feelings of great relief. I felt a huge load off my shoulders. Then those thoughts of "what if" came creeping back to me, and I feared that these would be with me for a long time! That wouldn't be good.
But instead of dwelling on these "what if"s, I am deciding to channel that energy and brain power to what is present---my work and my studies. Looking back at my life, I've always done better when I wasn't contemplating about choices. I guess things can only be analyzed in retrospect; it's impossible to analyze how I would feel about becoming a physician or not becoming a physician decades down the road. I think one of you mentioned that there is no way of knowing if being a physician is right for you until you become one. What an advice. Thank you for that. Now I can stop thinking I can figure it all out.
But again, damn, the profession is one attractive one. I really admire you all for taking down that path. I think I'm beginning to also realize that becoming a physician is less about
intelligence than I had once thought; it's more about how much you want it. And the fact that I can imagine myself doing something else just alludes to the conclusion (?) that I don't want it so much.
Thank you, moms. I have my ups and downs about the thought still, but I'm not breaking down =)