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Not Sure About Medical School

MrJamminMrJammin Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited January 2008 in Pre-Med Topics
I'm a third year student in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics. As it is, I would like to pursue a doctoral degree in solid state physics, on route to becoming a professor.

My father demands that I go to Medical School instead. I have started to consider the thought, as becoming a tenured professor seems to be a very hard thing to do.

I want an opinion as to how I will fair with the type of education Medical School offers. I figure I must have a typical engineering mind, that likes to tinker, figure things out, be creative and inventive, etc. Does this translate well into medicine? Is Medical School really barrels and barrels of memorization?

Also I had a question about being squeamish. I can tolerate looking at lots of blood and gore; however, I am also the type of person who feels like puking when I see someone puke. Does this sort of feeling fade away after going through Medical School?
Post edited by MrJammin on

Replies to: Not Sure About Medical School

  • shades_childrenshades_children Registered User Posts: 2,206 Senior Member
    My father demands that I go to Medical School instead.

    I'm always amused at those kinds of parents. In my experience, the parents are in love with the idea of their child being a doctor and have little idea of how time-consuming, expensive, and competitive it is to get into medical school.

    I suggest that you ignore your dad. Med school is not something you should do on your parent's whim - it is YOUR time and effort at stake here. Getting into medical school and sticking with it requires a lot of sacrifice, and since you don't seem to believe you're ready for it, I strongly advise you to stay away.

    It might also be good to figure out why your dad wants you to be a doctor. Once you know, you can probably make convincing arguments against his reasoning and for your own career choice.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    I would spend some time volunteering in a hospital. Either it'll push you into medicine or it'll give you good evidence against.
  • s1185s1185 Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/434201-your-time-limited-so-dont-waste-living-someone-elses-life.html The decision is yours alone to make. However, I'd keep an open mind at your stage. Try getting a bit of clinical experience - you might end up changing your mind.
  • jbc42jbc42 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Like the other posters said, don't go to medical school if you're not 100% sure about it (it's a serious investment of your time and money!) but don't rule out the possibility either if you haven't had any experience in a clinical environment.

    I've always wanted to become a professor of virology, but there are always people (my parents included) who will suggest I go to medical school or get an MD-PhD instead, for various reasons including better funding and job opportunities. These people mean well--not everyone makes it in academia, after all--but sometimes they make me doubt my decision to attend grad school. Then I remember that I just can't see myself in a hospital, and even if having an MD could help in my research, I wouldn't want to spend years in med school just to get a "leg up" when I could be doing research and publishing. I think I'd be happier taking a risk and doing what I love, rather than having a secure job that I don't enjoy.

    Med schools draw people from all sorts of majors, including engineering. I would imagine that engineers' demanding, problem solving-oriented curriculum prepares them well for the rigors of med school.
  • hoffmannhoffmann - Posts: 13 New Member
    what about an md/phd program? there are a lot of people working in biological applications of engineering and physics. systems biology and bioinformatics are two areas that immediately come to mind. this way, you can get the phd you want with a little extra baggage, namely the md. plus, you'll be guaranteed financial security with the md as you can practice medicine if you desire. i hear radiologists stack the g's too...

    i don't think there's anything wrong with doing medicine for the money...just don't mention that in your interview. this guy says that most med students are in it for the money, anyway:

    Med School Hell » Everybody’s In It For The Money

    as for the type of learning in med school...well read this too:
    Med School Hell » Medicine Is Simply Repetition

    seems like med school and the practice of medicine = memorize + regurgitate + lather,rinse,repeat
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    i don't think there's anything wrong with doing medicine for the money...
    Other than that, money-wise, it's a stupid decision? (There are others, but do we really need them?)

  • afanafan Registered User Posts: 1,686 Senior Member
    I figure I must have a typical engineering mind, that likes to tinker, figure things out, be creative and inventive, etc. Does this translate well into medicine?

    For medical school-no. For medicine, yes, but recall that you are rarely called upon to do something new. Most patients have common problems, and require the usual therapy. Once you are finished training you may be able to build a referral practice where you are constantly facing new problems, but it takes time (years) to get a big enough reputation to have such patients represent a substantial part of your practice.
    Is Medical School really barrels and barrels of memorization?


    Medical practice, less so. However, very much unlike engineering, most medical knowledge is empirical. There are few first principles that can derive relationships. Diseases present in standard ways, and one recognizes them by pattern. So the memorization does not end when you finish medical school. It is just a part of life for practicing docs.
    Does this sort of feeling fade away after going through Medical School?

    Yes, for most people, after medical school and practice. However, you get to pick your specialty. So you match you tolerance for bodily fluids to the area of medicine you pursue.

    I wanted to answer your questions. However, I could not agree more with the others who say "because my father said so" is a terrible reason to go into medicine. You are a junior now, so you have done enough engineering to know whether you like it. You say you want to get a PhD in solid state physics, and I assume you know what you are talking about. If you are right you would like to be a professor in this field, it is unlikely that you would like practicing medicine. You might like being a professor in a medical school and doing research. You are right that coming out of medical school you will have no problem getting a job, while tenure track faculty positions in physics are tough, and the government is further cutting back on funding for basic research. So, as a career move, a PhD in physics may not be as secure as an MD. You could get work in industry, and I think that is the route taken by many people who come out with doctorate degrees in physics.

    Both medical school and a PhD program in physics are demanding, time consuming, and expensive (at least in opportunity costs). Both require that your heart be in it. PLEASE do not make this decision because someone else, even your father, wants you to. Medical school is tough enough for those who really want to be there. It must be torture for someone who is following another's dream.
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