June 10, 2024
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What to Expect While Pursuing a Career in Medicine

If you already know that you want to work in medicine, that is wonderful, because it means you have already answered one of the toughest life questions, which is, what do I want to be when I grow up? Knowing that you want to follow this career path early on gives you a great opportunity to become ultra-prepared and adjust your mind and your life to satisfy the demands of med school, and beyond. Here we have included a few items to consider as you embark on this educational journey that are specific to landing in a medicinal based career. 

High Expenses

We cannot sugar coat this for you, med school does not come cheap. Even with scholarships, grants, or outside financial contributions, you should expect to graduate med school with some level of debt. Having said that, you do have the opportunity to try to cater your debt to be as manageable as possible. Government loans are strict and are not known for high levels of flexibility but the same is not true of private loans.

You can take out a student loan from a private lender to pay for your graduate medical degree. Private lenders can tailor loan terms to be more specific to the borrower and this allows you to pursue your field without money worries, at least at the start. Consider also that you may not be able to earn a paycheck while you are pursuing this degree. Internships, fellowships, and residencies are all common requirements to ultimately start your own career and they are not always paid. Private loans can often help support your life costs as well as your tuition-based ones if you need them to. 

Large Time Commitments

Even the most aggressive course of study is going to take more time when pursuing a medical career as opposed to one that requires only a bachelor’s degree. While you may have been able to find success with remote learning in undergrad, med school may not afford you the same luxury. There are hands on elements to grad school that cannot be accomplished with remote learning and the need to attend classes and labs in person can put a heavy demand on your time and schedule. 

Not to mention the required schooling will accumulate to many years of learning as well. While people who focus their career aspirations on other fields can often be in and out of undergrad within a handful of years then move straight into their career, hopeful medical professionals should expect to dedicate almost double those years if not more, depending on their exact field and focus. 

Emotional Ups and Downs

Med school is stressful. There is a lot of information to learn, the pace can be grueling, and the competition is fierce. These are all things that can potentially lead you to burnout, feeling inadequate, and even temptations to hang it all up and re-route your dreams. Instead of focusing on the stressors, find ways to cope with them that make sense for you, and use that to push yourself closer to the finish line. And do not discount the fact that there will also be periods of extreme happiness and satisfaction. Board exams are a great example, the months and years you spend studying to take these tests may drain you, but once they are over and you receive your scores the release and joy that can come from all that hard work paying off is unparalleled. 

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