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Uncertainty As An Undergraduate

presuccess91presuccess91 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
edited March 2011 in Pre-Med Topics
Hello CollegeConfidential,

I'm currently a 2nd Semester Sophomore Psychology Major with an interest in Pre-Health. My current schooling is as follows:

Year 1, Semester 1:
2.6 G.P.A
2.6 Overall G.P.A.

Year 1, Semester 2:
3.6 G.P.A.
3.1 Overall G.P.A.

Year 2, Semester 1:
3.9 G.P.A
3.4 Overall G.P.A.

I had pledged a fraternity my first semester at University, and obviously my G.P.A. took a hit, but my grades have only gone up and I am currently on track to receive a 4.0 this semester (with MTH142 and CHE102 in my schedule). I have completed 52 credits thus far and have been primarily interested in attending Medical School to pursue a career as a surgeon. My motivation is not financial; I want to better society and help people. To me, nothing says helping someone like cutting them open, fixing what could be a life-threatening ailment, and sewing them back up. I have very versatile abilities, ranging from extensive writing talent, to mathematical qualities.

I chose Psychology as a major because I believe that aside from the understanding of the universe, the two most important things humans can learn about are how their mind and their body work. I figured Psychology would enable me to learn about the brain/mind, and medical school would teach me about the body. As college has progressed, I've also acknowledged my extensive interest in psychoactive substances and their effects on humans. Some of my friends and family members have recommended I look into a career in Psychopharmacology, and after some research, I think that this also may be an interesting route to take academically, but I have various concerns. I still want to become a medical doctor, and I don't want that dream to die out. It's a prestigious occupation, it pays well, and most of all it is vastly rewarding. However, I feel my mathematical abilities may be going to waste in pursuing such a career, as would my interests in Psychopharmacology; particularly the engineering of substances that may aid in cognitive enhancement and therapy.

So I was basically wondering if there are doctors out there who, although may have achieved a degree which enables them to perform surgery, still find themselves doing research things that they are interested in. From what I've gathered, devoting your life to becoming a surgeon is a pretty limiting choice to make (due to the time and devotion required to succeed in the competitiveness in the field).

I'd also like some feedback on where I stand academically thus far, or any recommendations some of you with some experience in this field may have.
Post edited by presuccess91 on

Replies to: Uncertainty As An Undergraduate

  • premed4premed4 Registered User Posts: 944 Member
    I don't know about surgeons, but my dad is a pediatrician and over time he has begun to do less and less clinical work and treating patients, and now he is transitioning into research. I would assume that as you progress throughout your career you will end up with having to choose either 1. A route that will lead to you becoming a head of the department, or something similar, or 2. To start doing less work with patients, and more research and publishing.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,124 Senior Member
    There is a program that addresses both clinical and research interests for doctors. It's called a MD/PhD-- where the student pursues both educational tracks.

    MD/PhDs tend to pursue a more academic track post graduation and often work in research programs associated with medical schools or as high level researchers in federal agencies (NIH, NINDS, etc) and in industry (such as pharmaceutical companies). They divide their time between medical practice (about 30%) and research (70%).

    However, MD/PhD usually have complementary medical specialties and research fields. (Neurology + psychopharmacology, surgery and medical surgical devices, etc. You won't see surgery + psychopharmacology.)
  • psubmbpsubmb Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    A couple comments:

    First, you seem to be equating MDs and surgeons. There is an incredible range of interesting non-surgical medical specialties out there! There are a lot of doctors that do, as you describe, make a huge impact by cutting someone open and fixing a problem, but you should look into what else is out there in order to have a broader perspective of what medicine really is and what different things you can do as a physician.

    MD/PhD is a good option for some people... but be aware that MDs can do research as well. There are plenty of MDs (no PhD) at academic medical centers doing important research.

    That being said, "the engineering of substances that may aid in cognitive enhancement and therapy" does not sound like something that a MD or even MD/PhD would generally be doing. Developing drugs and most pharma research is not really the realm of physicians, even physician-scientists.
  • presuccess91presuccess91 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Fair enough. What does being a neurologist entail? I'm fascinated by the brain and it's mechanics, but I also want to perform surgery.. I just don't know what route to take haha

    Thanks for the responses thus far
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,124 Senior Member
    Neurologists don't do surgery. Ever.
    Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, it deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle. A neurologist is a physician who specializes in neurology, and is trained to investigate, or diagnose and treat neurological disorders. Pediatric neurologists treat neurological disease in children. Neurologists may also be involved in clinical research, clinical trials, as well as basic research and translational research.
This discussion has been closed.