Do you regret sacrificing your 20s to become a doctor?

Updated on : December 3, 2021 by Alex Harvey



Do you regret sacrificing your 20s to become a doctor?

20 years? Seriously? I didn't finish training until I was 35 years old. I started a little late with three and a half years in the Army and made a small contribution to our involvement in Southeast Asia. I discovered Woodstock on the cover of LIFE magazine at the PX. Driven to finish undergraduate school in about 2 1/2 years. He worked full time (including summers) and worked one or two part-time jobs at a time during undergraduate and about half of medical school. He married and had two children during that time.

That kind of schedule doesn't leave time for much more. At first people told me they wouldn't do what

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20 years? Seriously? I didn't finish training until I was 35 years old. I started a little late with three and a half years in the Army and made a small contribution to our involvement in Southeast Asia. I discovered Woodstock on the cover of LIFE magazine at the PX. Driven to finish undergraduate school in about 2 1/2 years. He worked full time (including summers) and worked one or two part-time jobs at a time during undergraduate and about half of medical school. He married and had two children during that time.

That kind of schedule doesn't leave time for much more. At first, people told me that they would not do what I was doing or about to do. Other residents and others told me that he was crazy to do a surgical residency. Near the end of my training, some of the same people frequently told me that they wish they were my place.

Life is compensation. Many things that are worth doing require a lot of work, time, and effort. Spending many hours as a doctor or surgeon does not end after training, it just continues. We find out everything we can about our options and decide. Anyway, look at life, there is always something gained and something. lost. Life is never perfect. Or, as I told one of my English teachers, "Utopia is not written backwards anywhere."

I didn't sacrifice anything in my twenties to start and finish my medical education, I received my MD at age 27 (2 year break between college and medical school).

I continued with my other interests, including a regular Opera program at the Met and the most demanding is the collection and culture of Colombian orchids. On the other hand, I was not, nor ever, a very social person.

In fact, having these non-medical activities / interests is what sustained me through the demands of the Medical School, helped me maintain balance and concentration. I was also lucky to have one of those sponge-like memories and

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I didn't sacrifice anything in my twenties to start and finish my medical education, I received my MD at age 27 (2 year break between college and medical school).

I continued with my other interests, including a regular Opera program at the Met and the most demanding is the collection and culture of Colombian orchids. On the other hand, I was not, nor ever, a very social person.

In fact, having these non-medical activities / interests is what sustained me through the demands of the Medical School, helped me maintain balance and concentration. I was also lucky to have one of those sponge-like memories and a deep passion for feeding it.

In any case, I was done with the didactic stuff after 20 months or so in a row and then moved on to the clinical rotations, which I really loved.

The residency and fellowship training (the next 6 years) was much more time consuming and demanding than the relatively innocuous School of Medicine. During those 6 years of my true training - 3 years of Medicine, a year of Chief Resident and 2 years of Cardiology fellowship - there was no time for anything but long hours of work with a lot of insomnia. But I loved what I was doing and gladly gave myself completely.

No. One of the most important things in life is having a purpose. And it cannot be about money itself. That is a by-product of serving a greater cause. That is one of the pillars of our civilization, moral men who do the right thing for the benefit of others. Western civilization is based on truth. We cannot claim to tackle a problem unless we see it devoid of pretentious assumptions. There is relentless consequence in medicine if we tenaciously cling to ideas of our own making. We must discover the truth, be willing to constantly refine our understanding as a case progresses.

I'd like to see that I really sacrificed my entire childhood to become a doctor! The field of medicine fascinated me since I was five years old, reinforced by some of the times my father bought me a toy “medicine cabinet”. Due to the dysfunctionality of my family, I isolated myself from them and their forms of what we would call housing policy. The water was nice and warm when I jumped into the pool! This happened around my 20s. But I knew this was only the beginning!

According to Sid, I didn't think of it as a sacrifice, although it was difficult as a woman to find a partner at that time. But my 20s were a particularly exciting time. I advise people that it is worth it if you enjoy it more and are enthusiastic about your goal. Go to a medical school where the students you interview when you visit, etc., feel highly valued and respected.

Hell no! It's from 20 to 30 when you have real experience ... and letters after your name. I didn't "sacrifice" anything. I had so much fun and I loved what I was doing! ... IF you feel that it is a sacrifice, change your attitude or do not dedicate yourself to medicine, as it is not fair to you or your patients ...

I was 21 when I entered medical school. When I finished training in surgery, I was 32 years old. A friend sent me a card congratulating me on graduating from the 26th grade.

Do I regret "sacrificing" my 20 years? What else was he going to do?

She was a registered nurse for three years, then did a year of premedication and entered the John A. Burns School of Medicine. It was a long road, it was a bit more difficult to get into medical school at 27, but I was much more mature and focused.

This opens up a fairly large can of worms in the United States. About 40-50% of doctors will tell you that we would never choose a drug again. Let me explain why.

-The salary / reimbursement / employment has changed in the last 10 years. Now we are reimbursed less than the previous generation of doctors. This may not seem like a big deal, however I graduated from a state medical school with $ 284,000 in student loans (I paid the state tuition). With interest earned through residency and scholarship, my total is now $ 615,000 and my monthly payments are over $ 5,000. Yes, the doctors are well paid.

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This opens up a fairly large can of worms in the United States. About 40-50% of doctors will tell you that we would never choose a drug again. Let me explain why.

-The salary / reimbursement / employment has changed in the last 10 years. Now we are reimbursed less than the previous generation of doctors. This may not seem like a big deal, however I graduated from a state medical school with $ 284,000 in student loans (I paid the state tuition). With interest earned through residency and scholarship, my total is now $ 615,000 and my monthly payments are over $ 5,000. Yes, the doctors are well paid. However, we have not been able to save money during medical school (4 years) or residency (2 to 6 years) or scholarship (1 to 3 years). This means that we don't start saving even 401K until we start practicing. For me, I was in my 30s when that finally happened (I graduated from medical school in 2011). You will only earn $ 48,000- $ 60, 000 during your residency and only about $ 62,000 in scholarship. You may not be able to pay all of your interest during this time, so you will be in the same boat as most of us, unless your family has been able to pay for your medical school. (Note: he had no undergraduate or graduate debt. This is * all * from medical school.)

-Training is hard. This is true no matter what specialty you go into. The 80 hour work week is an average of 4 weeks. This means that you can be working 100 hours one week and 50 the next. For us, we never went past 80, but we often watched more than 100 hours a week. When we honestly reported our hours, we were told that we were inefficient and that it must be our fault that it took us so long to do our work. The longer you are on a program, the more tired you will be. By our second year, we were all on antidepressants. At the end of my fourth year, I was exhausted. I finished without saying anything. Medicine values ​​stamina, endurance, and tenacity. You will not be allowed sick days and, if so, You won't take them because even if your assistant reluctantly agrees to let you go, your co-residents will be upset that they have to pick up their extra work. This applies to dental appointments, doctor's appointments, and other self-maintenance things. You will eat, sleep and breathe your specialty during training. Nobody cares if you are exhausted, tired, depressed, failing as a spouse, trying to have a baby, taking care of a baby, etc. All of these things are considered your fault or your decisions, so you have to deal with them. Some people don't make it through training. You need good assistance as a mentor. Find one. etc. All of these things are considered your fault or your choices, so you need to take care of them. Some people don't make it through training. You need good assistance as a mentor. Find one. etc. All of these things are considered your fault or your choices, so you need to take care of them. Some people don't make it through training. You need good assistance as a mentor. Find one.

-You will not be able to go to any city / metropolitan area and find a position. When I was searching, there was only one position in my home state and none within a 2 hour drive of my family. You must be prepared to move where it is needed. This sounds obvious, but I don't think most of us think about this when we start residency or medical school.

-When you get your first care job, you will be better financially, but you must remember point 1 and save much of your earnings to be able to catch up with your colleagues. I work on my surgery job and I also have a secondary hustle, but I want to be more comfortable and I am a few years older than the typical graduate.

-Some random things you find:

"No one respects you as a resident either."

"Women, you will continue to be the nurse." Even when you introduce yourself as "Doctor" and have it in giant neon letters on your coat. Even when you tell them you did the operation that saved their lives.

"He'll meet everyone at the hospital." All the world. Be kind and use these relationships to learn and network. Registered nurses taught me much of my critical care knowledge. They detect changes in patients before you do (spend more time with them) and make or break your nightly calls.

—Use the other residents in other programs to help out. I mean this in the sense that if you have a question that really isn't worth asking, call your fellow residents and ask what they think. The network you build will really help you even after graduation.

"You will be surprised at their reactions to the death of a patient." Depending on the situation, your reaction will change. You may even feel like you have become numb. Don't worry, as doctors we compartmentalize deaths so we can get on with our day. There will be one that will break your heart. Lock yourself in the bathroom or call room and cry. Then straighten your scrub and get back to work.

—There's no crying, it's surgery. I guess this applies to medicine in general.

-you leave the residence hall being a different person than the one you had when you started. The surgery changed my personality. It's not a bad thing, per se, but you will have to "find yourself" again when you become an assistant. I didn't even know what hobbies I liked after I finished training. It is definitely a journey.

I could go on forever on this, but these are the things that pop out of my head.

I know a family in which almost all of them are doctors. The father was a doctor and 6 of his 7 children are also. About two years ago my family was having dinner with this family when we started talking about the medical field (at the time I wanted to become a medical assistant). To our surprise, all 6 doctors agreed that they would not seek a doctor if they had to do it again. They felt it was just not worth it. Now these were all successful, established, and respected doctors, not some bitter exhausted ones. They provided good reasoning to support their claim:

  • Education: training to become a doctor
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I know a family in which almost all of them are doctors. The father was a doctor and 6 of his 7 children are also. About two years ago my family was having dinner with this family when we started talking about the medical field (at the time I wanted to become a medical assistant). To our surprise, all 6 doctors agreed that they would not seek a doctor if they had to do it again. They felt it was just not worth it. Now these were all successful, established, and respected doctors, not some bitter exhausted ones. They provided good reasoning to support their claim:

  • Education: training to become a Physician will consume 8 solid years of your youth, with very little time for anything else. Course work and workload are the most difficult of any educational path you can choose, in addition to high-level research in math or science. The cost of this education can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which means that most doctors graduate with enormous debt. Additionally, admissions to medical schools have become increasingly competitive. Only students with perfect grades, extracurricular and a + 95% MCAT will be accepted in the really prestigious schools. An "average" medical student (still a Valedictorian by most standards) you could end up spending 4 years in a grade C school in rural Iowa, if you're lucky. And without a "good" medical school credential in your name, your career is already limited. I met an excellent student with near-perfect grades, who spent two solid years after college applying to every medical school she could find. Nobody accepted it. It's that competitive. Don't even try it unless you know you're smart enough to master high-level chemistry classes all day. If you drop out of med school, you're screwed. You get all the debt without purchasing power and your reputation is ruined. And without a "good" medical school credential in your name, your career is already limited. I met an excellent student with near-perfect grades, who spent two solid years after college applying to every medical school she could find. Nobody accepted it. It's that competitive. Don't even try it unless you know you're smart enough to master high-level chemistry classes all day. If you drop out of med school, you're screwed. You get all the debt without purchasing power and your reputation is ruined. And without a "good" medical school credential in your name, your career is already limited. I met an excellent student with near-perfect grades, who spent two solid years after college applying to every medical school she could find. Nobody accepted it. It's that competitive. Don't even try it unless you know you're smart enough to master high-level chemistry classes all day. If you drop out of med school, you're screwed. You get all the debt without purchasing power and your reputation is ruined. who spent two solid years after college applying to every medical school he could find. Nobody accepted it. It's that competitive. Don't even try it unless you know you're smart enough to master high-level chemistry classes all day. If you drop out of med school, you're screwed. You get all the debt without purchasing power and your reputation is ruined. who spent two solid years after college applying to every medical school he could find. Nobody accepted it. It's that competitive. Don't even try it unless you know you're smart enough to master high-level chemistry classes all day. If you drop out of med school, you're screwed. You get all the debt without purchasing power and your reputation is ruined.
  • Residency: You thought medical school was the hard part, huh? Well, after graduation, expect to spend 3-4 years as a resident physician-in-training, which by many reports is the worst part of the entire process. There is basically no limit to how many hours residents can work, or how little they are paid. Senior doctors are often verbally abusive and will throw undue heavy lifting on you. You are expected to perform the duties of a full physician, but without any of the benefits. In reality, limits were placed on residents hours after a high-profile death of a patient in the 1980s due to an error caused by lack of sleep. The limits they imposed? No more than 24 consecutive hours and no more than 80 total hours per week. Yes, that's the "
  • The Pay: What's wrong with this part? Doctors make a lot of money, right? Well, something like that. Doctors get low or medium numbers of 6, generally between 120,000 and 300,000 per year for general practitioners. High-level surgeons and specialists can earn between 300 and 500k, but that's around the upper limit, with some outliers. It's good money, sure, but you could earn as much or more as a corporate attorney, and law school is 3 years for medical school / residency 8. The same goes for a master's in business or finance, or you could invest the The time, effort, and capital of your education to start a business or mutual fund, which could be even more profitable in the long run. Therefore, Doctors are paid very little compared to the training they receive and the intelligence and work ethic they bring. And let's not forget that educational debt! Even at 200k, you will be paying that interest for years. And with the recurring costs of certification, malpractice insurance, and continuing education, you may never really feel rich.
  • Job satisfaction: Becoming a doctor is hard, really hard. Medical school is basically rings 6 through 9 in Dante's Inferno. But everyone knows this, and students enter the field with an idea of ​​the challenges that lie ahead. So even with all the work, insomnia, and expense, it's worth it in the end because doctors save lives, right? What could be more rewarding than that? Well, as Bob Dylan says, "times are a change." New practices in the HMO-managed medical industry are slowly but surely squeezing the joy out of the medical profession. For example, many healthcare systems have truly idiotic requirements for physicians to approve almost everything their subordinates do. In California, a registered nurse can't even start an IV without a doctor's approval. Now the nurses are teacher phlebotomists. They could start an IV drunk and blindfolded on the deck of the Titanic. But somehow, a doctor has to come to sign every time, or you risk bigger problems. When I volunteered at a hospital, I witnessed doctors running from place to place all day, just signing things. They did not get to do procedures. They were unable to speak to the patients. It was mainly the nurses who did these things, while the doctors used their 8 years of education to check the boxes. It was actually very sad, but at least they were getting a good workout. They were unable to speak to the patients. It was mainly the nurses who did these things, while the doctors used their 8 years of education to check the boxes. It was actually very sad, but at least they were getting a good workout. They were unable to speak to the patients. It was mainly the nurses who did these things, while the doctors used their 8 years of education to check the boxes. It was actually very sad, but at least they were getting a good workout. It was mainly the nurses who did these things, while the doctors used their 8 years of education to check the boxes. It was actually very sad, but at least they were getting a good workout. It was mainly the nurses who did these things, while the doctors used their 8 years of education to check the boxes. It was actually very sad, but at least they were getting a good workout.

In short, I cannot recommend the doctor's way to anyone. It is simply too difficult, too expensive, and in the end, it pays poorly. Fortunately, there are many more reasonable careers available in the medical field. You can become a physician assistant or nurse practitioner with just a master's degree; you don't even need a bachelor's degree in biochemistry or anything, just a few prerequisites. There are also master's degrees in anesthesiology and magnetic resonance surgery. All these jobs pay 6 figures. Nursing school is also a good investment, although it is now very competitive. However, any of these would be preferable to the barefoot trail of broken glass and Legos that is the path to becoming a doctor.

Some points! Take it as you like.

Doctors sacrifice most of their 20s and 30s trying to pass rigorous exams throughout their undergraduate, medical education, and residency. If they fail any component during this process, then they simply cannot become doctors. It's a solid 15-year commitment to doing nothing but medicine. And you absolutely cannot fail. The dividing line between success and failure is clearly defined in medicine, and it's ruthless if you can't make the cut.

Doctors live between the ages of 20 and 30 in extreme poverty. I have a group of friends from medical school who just don't earn anything.

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Some points! Take it as you like.

Doctors sacrifice most of their 20s and 30s trying to pass rigorous exams throughout their undergraduate, medical education, and residency. If they fail any component during this process, then they simply cannot become doctors. It's a solid 15-year commitment to doing nothing but medicine. And you absolutely cannot fail. The dividing line between success and failure is clearly defined in medicine, and it's ruthless if you can't make the cut.

Doctors live between the ages of 20 and 30 in extreme poverty. I have a group of friends from medical school who just don't make any money during their 15-year stretch. That means there is no money for housing, food, clothing, cars, gas, and basic necessities. Plus, those medical textbooks aren't cheap either. Your older parents are going to have to pay for most of your adult life, and you would also have to take multiple minimum wage jobs to contribute. That means that at the age of 25-30, you could be waiting tables, washing cars, or delivering newspapers. For all the glory there is for being a medical student, you'll still be scrubbing floors and flipping burgers.

They don't make as much money as you think. To be clear, doctors certainly make a healthy living. Doctors earn around 150k and surgeons can earn up to 500k (orthopedics). However, keep in mind that this salary only kicks in if you get past residency (which is notoriously difficult). In addition, you will continue to drown in debt. Undergraduate debt. Medical school debt. Your living expenses. Bank loans. You would have to be over 40 years old to break even of accumulated debt of about 200-300k before you can enjoy the loot.

Doctors don't sleep. But how can you enjoy your comfortable salary when you barely have time? Doctors wake up early in the morning and go home late at night. And I mean fucking late at night. They just don't have time to have fun. Unfortunately, this also puts great pressure on your loved ones. It's hard to raise children and nurture your marriage when you have to come and go to the hospital. There will be a lot of personal sacrifices and sometimes you wonder if it was ever worth it.

Helping the sick is not as rewarding as you think it is. You are probably imagining a heart operation that saved your life. The quiet buzz of neurosurgery. A smiling old woman or a child with a broken arm. You are imagining how great it would be to save lives. For the most part, that's wrong. Sick people are fat. The sick smell. They have vomit. They have stab wounds, punctures, pus, sores and mucus. And above all, they are ungrateful. A disturbing number of former patients will take it upon themselves to sue physicians for malpractice lawsuits, and as a result, physicians may lose their license to practice medicine. That's 15 years down the drain because of an ungrateful patient who can't appreciate someone doing everything they can to save his life.

Now, let's take a look at business.

Businesses make more money than medicine. Business will always outperform medicine in money. To be fair, the average doctor beats the average employee who works in some random human resources department of a company. However, if you look at the salaries of people who work in investment banking, hedge funds, private equity, and big technology ... you can see that the business is winning by huge margins. You make money straight out of college and if you save over the next decade, you'll have 200k in savings versus 200k in debt from medical school. Big difference in life. It's the difference between a flight to Hawaii or a day spent studying and waiting tables.

Businesses have social status. Sergrey Brin? Larry Page? Steve Jobs? Elon Musk? Peter Thiel? Mark Zuckerberg? Bill Gates? Larry Ellison? These names occurred to me at the top of my head. Name me 10 famous doctors. Exactly.

Now, you could be saying that these people are rare exceptions and there is no way you can match their success. Before I wrap up, I want you to spend the next 15 years studying economics, business, and coding every day. If you think you can't be relatively successful in business with that work ethic, what makes you think you can become a successful doctor?

Arguably, business impacts more people than medicine. A surgeon can only save the number of people he treats. An internist can only diagnose the number of people who walk through those hospital doors. But business ... business has changed the world. Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Citadel, Renaissance, Twitter. These technologies and funds have affected the lives of billions of people, for better or for worse.

Bottom Line: You probably grew up in a society that valued being a doctor. However, times have changed. The old guard is being moved. The most popular careers now are in technology and business. New companies emerge every day, and each of these companies produces innovation and technology capable of changing the way people interact.

It is an exciting place to be if you have the determination and work ethic for it.

But it is your decision. Your destiny and your luck. Take out a chalkboard and write down the things you want to achieve / have in life, and then chart a path to get there. And most importantly, read lots of books in the library. Knowledge is power.

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