haha no prob. thanks to all of you who had something to say. i really appreciate it!
post #31 of 69
10/14/07 at 10:11am
4th year medical student here...
I too was the 16 year old guy with aspirations to become a physician... so don't feel that all hope is lost. With this said, though, I had many friends with the same mentality and knew many people along the way who were never able to make it. The formula I used was 10% smarts, 80% work ethic, and 10% luck.
Having been through it, here's my take on things.
Undergrad: Go to a reputable state school or other similarly cheap institution that can provide a good education but won't break the bank. There is no need to go Ivy or anything close (unless you want to land an Ivy medical school). I have friends in my class who went Ivy and private and had anywhere from $150-200,000 in underclassman debt... it's not worth the money and unless you really desire elite medical education, I don't think it's necessary to go to such a prestigious undergrad. In undergrad, the most important thing is to keep a near 4.0 GPA and try to ace the MCATs. This sounds hard and is admittedly difficult, but it's not impossible. I graduated undergrad a year early and still had PLENTY of time to play sports, work out, party, etc. Had I been at a school with nearby skiing (~1 - 4 hours), I probably could've gone skiing a minimum of 3 or 4 times a week.
Medical school: Unless you're looking to be a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or other top ranked specialty... go to the cheapest medical school that will accept you. Don't let your ego let you make a $200,000 mistake. The best indicator of performance in medical school is YOU and nothing else. I have friends in carribbean medical schools that would put most american graduates to shame.
As far as time goes, be prepared to have VERY LITTLE free time. I'm not exaggerating, medical school is more work than you could EVER imagine. The best analogy is that each day of medical school feels exactly like you're in finals week.
As far as each individual year of school: 1) First year - in order to get A's, be prepared to only have less than 2-3 hours of free time each day. On weekends, probably you'll study 2 hours or so each weekend day. 2) Second year - in order to be even a mediocre student be prepared to have less than 2-3 hours of free time. Be prepared to study 3-6 hours or so each weekend day. 3) Third year - Now you're in the hospital working as a clinical student. You have no control over your schedule and it's not uncommon to work 100 hours a week on some of the more tough clerkships. Sometimes you're working 6 days a week. 4) Fourth year - Last year of medical school... you're so close you can taste it. The work load is still pretty rough, but by now you're used to it. You are working about 40-50 hours a week and usually have weekends off. Plenty of time for skiing 3-4 days a week if you wanted.
Residency: Depending on the specialty you are going into, you're looking at working anywhere from 40-80* hours a week (* = officially residents are limited to 80 hours a week, however, many of the more rigorous residency programs have their residents close to 100+ hours a week). You're finally getting paid, though, and the average resident salary is around $40,000 a year (which works out to be around 8 dollars an hour or ).
Summary: Becoming a doctor is just about one of the most rigorous things you can do. Be prepared to work hard during the better part of your 20's. As it is now, medical reimbursements are declining and physician salaries are not keeping up with inflation; with this said, though, doctors are still making on average ~ $200-250K a year. Up until medical school, you'll have plenty of time to ski without even a second though. During medical school and residency you'll be able to find skiing opportunities, but they will be greatly decreased.
Would I recommend it? That's a tough question. I feel like I've definitely gotten out of shape during medical school and had to make a lot of sacrifices. At the same time, though, I've learned a lot of cool information and it's a pretty rewarding profession. I'm going into emergency medicine and at some point I hope to be working out in a ski town doing that or sports medicine. So be prepared to work you tail off and be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices in your 20's... but after that you'll have a job that pays well, offers a lot of mobility, and will let you do what you like with your life.
Also, you should consider these other careers. Physician's assistant - pays ~$150K and is only a 2 year program after unergrad. Certified nurse anesthetists ~$150K and approximately 3-4 years after nursing school. Dentistry - pays ~$150-500K and only 4 years after undergrad.
Hope this helps
-not the real glen plake
just a quick correction to the dentistry fact...yes it is 4 yrs of school after UG but residencies these days are the norm for a majority of graduates....between 1-6 years....
Don't worry about debt from student loans. They are easy to pay back once you are out of medical school. Many hospitals are willing to repay your debt if you sign a contract to work for them for 3-4 years. You still get the same salary with no loans to worry about. I have a friend who is a radiologist. He just got a job with a hospital. His student loan payment is about $4000 dollars a month, but that isn't a lot when you consider he signed with the hospital and is making $40,000 a month.
I am currently in medical school. I haven't gotten to ski as much for the past few years, but I still make a trip out west for at least 2 weeks a year. Find an undergrad university that is close to the slopes. You can easily study and ski during undergrad. It is not so easy during your medical school career.
You are probably too young to realize what a commitment medical school really is. Don't worry about it until you have started college. Then try to shadow doctors and study your ass off. Just have fun now and ski as much as you can.
Bohemian, all kidding aside- we're in total agreement. Except maybe the China thing...sounds pretty creative. I'd buy some FXI or MCHFX and sleep at night. Of course, the only thing worse than a financial planner is picking up tips on the internet from knuckleheads like us.
1.) Bohemian, the AMA is an organization that represents primarily internists and primary care doctors (as an anesthesiologist I have never joined since they don't represent my interests), and they have supported universal coverage. They did not smear Mrs. Clinton in 1993; they resented not being asked to be involved with her committee, and voiced their displeasure as such. Do you blame them? Could you imagine a committee for education reform not asking the NEA to participate?
2.) Anesthesiologists do not necessarily hate CRNAs. My practice employs 30 to 35 of them on a full-time or part-time basis. What we do resent are some of the deceiving tactics employed by their national organization. Example: encouraging the offering of six-month "Doctor of Nursing" degrees to CRNAs so that they can introduce themselves to patients as "Doctor", thus duping patients into believing that their care is being provided by a physician.
3.) Best specialty for lifestyle and income - radiation oncology. High pay, low malpractice premiums. Call is very light; they only have one emergency, spinal cord tumor, which is pretty rare. Very boring though, in my opinion.
4.) I agree with you Mr. Crab. I never understood why the general public resented a cardiovascular surgeon making over a million, but took no issue with brokers making that kind of money on Wall Street. By the way, I did hearts for several years, gave it up about six years ago. Now I do primarily cosmetics and outpatient procedures. I don't miss it at all. I would imagine your wife feels the same.
|2) I was summing it up. I agree they should not be called a "Dr." So many damn 'doctors' in hospitals now. You have MDs, DOs (which still can be disliked), PhDs, MD/PhDs, and now D. of Nursing? It's asinine.|