Page 1 of 3

Applying Your Experiences to Medicine

So you want to be a doctor...



Embarking on a journey to become a physician is a noble, yet a strenuous endeavor that demands a significant amount of your time, energy, and emotional reservoir. Let's traverse through this voyage, touching upon the critical phases: medical school, residency, and finally, becoming a physician.

Medical School:

Enrolling in medical school is your first significant step into the world of medicine. It's where you'll transition from a general science background to a focused understanding of human health and disease. However, it’s also where you'll probably first experience the relentlessness of the medical profession. The volume of information is overwhelming; the pace, unforgiving. Your days will be occupied with lectures, labs, and endless hours of studying.

The financial burden too starts to mount as tuition fees and living expenses accumulate. It's not just a financial investment but an emotional and social one too. You might find less time for family, friends, and personal hobbies.


After conquering medical school, comes residency, which is known for its rigorous and demanding nature. This phase is where theory meets practice under supervision. Long hours, often exceeding 80 per week, become the norm. Being on-call means unpredictability; you're at the beck and call of the hospital’s needs, which can often lead to missing important personal events like weddings or birthdays.

The learning curve is steep. Every day presents new challenges, pushing you to the brink of your knowledge and skills. However, the gratification of saving lives and making significant decisions is unparalleled.

Becoming a Physician:

Once you've survived the gauntlet of residency, you step into the realm of being a full-fledged physician. The responsibility now weighs heavily on your shoulders. Every decision you make impacts someone’s life significantly. The hours don’t get any shorter, and being on-call remains a reality, especially in the early years of practice.

The learning never ceases. Medicine is an ever-evolving field; there’s always something new to learn, a new skill to master. The lengthy training continues with the pursuit of further specializations or keeping up with the latest in medical advancements.

Moreover, the emotional toll is real. Dealing with loss, chronic illnesses, and being a pillar of support for distressed families is a day-to-day aspect of the profession.

On the flip side, the intangible rewards are immense. The joy of healing, the bonds formed with patients, and the respect garnered in the community are fulfilling.

In summary, the journey to becoming a physician is a marathon, not a sprint. It's laden with sacrifices, continuous learning, and emotional upheavals. However, the impact you make, the lives you touch, and the personal and professional growth you achieve along the way can be profoundly gratifying. It's a path for the resilient, the compassionate, and the indefatigable. So, as you step into this expedition, brace yourself for the highs and lows, the joys and sorrows, and the rewards and sacrifices that define the life of a physician.

The Academic Rigor of Medical School

Being a physician starts with a rigorous academic journey that begins in medical school. The first two years are generally focused on theoretical learning, where you'll be in classrooms and labs. This is the foundation of your medical knowledge. Are you prepared for the academic rigor, and can you handle the stress that comes with it?

The Clinical Experience

As you move into your clinical years, you'll start to experience the healthcare environment firsthand. You'll rotate through various specialties, making life-altering decisions for patients under supervision. Can you handle the emotional weight and ethical dilemmas that come with this role?

The Residency Challenge

Residency is a demanding phase where you'll work long hours and take on significant responsibilities. You're part of a team but also expected to make critical decisions. Are you prepared for this level of commitment and emotional strain?

Entering Independent Practice

Once you've completed your training, you'll enter independent practice. However, being a physician isn't just about patient care; it's also about navigating administrative tasks and the complexities of healthcare systems. Are you ready to juggle clinical responsibilities with administrative tasks?

Lifelong Learning

Medicine is an ever-evolving field. To stay relevant and provide the best care, you'll need to commit to continuous learning. Are you committed to lifelong learning, often outside of your working hours?

Work-Life Balance

The demands of a medical career often impact your personal life. Long hours and emotional stress can strain relationships and affect your quality of life. Are you willing to make personal sacrifices for your career?

Financial Considerations

Becoming a physician is a significant financial investment. From student loans to malpractice insurance, the costs can be substantial. Are you prepared for the long-term financial commitments and implications?

Ethical Responsibilities

The medical field is fraught with ethical dilemmas, from resource allocation to end-of-life decisions. Are you equipped to navigate these ethical complexities?

Risk of Burnout

Physician burnout is a real and growing concern, given the long hours, emotional toll, and administrative burdens. Are you aware of this risk, and do you have coping mechanisms in place?

Final Thoughts

Being a physician is incredibly rewarding but also demanding. It's a career that will ask a lot of you—intellectually, emotionally, and ethically. As you contemplate this path, consider the realities and challenges you'll face. Are you ready for a lifetime of service, continuous learning, and personal sacrifice?