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happymonkey Offline
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Smile Aspiring to be a Surgeon - July 21st 2015, 04:37 AM

I've almost reached that point in high school where it's really time to buckle down and decide what I want to do with the rest of my life and right now I'm really passionate about becoming a surgeon, but I'm concerned since this is such a huge decision to make. It's no secret that medical school costs a fortune and becoming a surgeon takes decades, so I guess I'm just wondering if I'm seeming too ambitious and in over my head or if I'm being rational. I just need some encouragement to know I'm heading in the right direction I suppose. Thank you!
   
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Re: Aspiring to be a Surgeon - July 21st 2015, 04:39 AM

It's not too ambitious. But try to keep in mind that it is a longer term goal, and you'll need to set a lot of shorter term goals along the way, ie. get into a biosciences undergrad program, get good grades in each class, seek out relevant research opportunities, apply to med school, then specialize, etc. One step at a time. : )


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Re: Aspiring to be a Surgeon - July 21st 2015, 08:56 PM

Nothing is ever too ambitious! That is wonderful that you want to become a surgeon As long as you are doing something you love, you will have a great journey getting there.
   
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Re: Aspiring to be a Surgeon - July 21st 2015, 09:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by happymonkey View Post
I've almost reached that point in high school where it's really time to buckle down and decide what I want to do with the rest of my life and right now I'm really passionate about becoming a surgeon, but I'm concerned since this is such a huge decision to make. It's no secret that medical school costs a fortune and becoming a surgeon takes decades, so I guess I'm just wondering if I'm seeming too ambitious and in over my head or if I'm being rational. I just need some encouragement to know I'm heading in the right direction I suppose. Thank you!
Hey there. I know SEVERAL med students, so let me weight in. My tune is going to be a little bit different than the above posters. Please don't take me as trying to persuade you one way or the other. I just want you to know the expectations you're getting yourself into.

First of all, it's always great to think ahead, so I commend you on trying to figure out your life in high school. However, don't feel pressured into making up your mind and driving home with that plan. There's always time to go to school. I know a premed major who is in his 30s. It would be a huge mistake to determine you want to do something, begin studying and practicing, only to find out it's not your passion. I know someone who graduated and is a practicing pharmacist who regrets his choice to become a pharmacist. This happens to a lot of people, so you need to be careful in making your decision.

Secondly, without any background information on your grades, extracurriculars, courses your taking/have taken, it's hard to determine what YOU should do. Obviously, you should follow your heart so long as it leads to a career which will lead you to a sense of fulfillment, and won't leave you homeless. Of which, being a surgeon is a noble choice. But, there are so many issues to consider.

The first thing I would consider is what would you do if you don't get into med school? It's very competitive. By competitive I mean that the MCAT is a test designed to make you fail. It is out to get you, and there's no way around that. So, what do you do? Choose and undergraduate major that can be used as a backup plan. E.G. don't just choose biology or chemistry because you think it'll get you in the doors. I know a girl who majored in Spanish and got into med school. However, don't pick something like engineering as your GPA matters. You need to maintain somewhere around a 3.8 in college. If you think you can do that in engineering, great, but the average GPA in such a field is 2.5. So it's somewhat better to pick an easier major that can get you a job after college provided you don't get into med school -- BECAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS THIS POSSIBILITY.

Next, you mentioned the debt. The debt is tremendous and it is crushing, with very few ways around it. In fact, Med Students have one of the highest suicide rates, and depression rates. Can you live with going hundres of thousands of dollars in debt? This isn't just a hypothetical question, but a realistic one. Can YOU handle that? And just because you may justify by saying, "Well, I'll make a lot of money as a surgeon." But what if you fail med school? What if you lose your license? What if [fill in the blank]?

This depression/suicide issue is the same with practicing surgeons. It's supposedly one of the most miserable fields. And if you think about it, you can understand why.

I want you to view this realistically. I think med school is a great option, but there are other things worthwhile as well. I also want to mention this: If you have not taken a college course yet, be wary. Just because you do well in high school, doesn't mean you will in college. It is a completely different environment. Some intro classes require upwards of 12 hours of studies per week -- for one class. Most people take 16 credits (roughly 4-5 classes) per semester. This equates to 60 hours of studying per week, not to mention class time, labs, and travel. This doesn't include a part-time job you may be thinking about having. Tack on another 20 hours. This means you'll be busy AT LEAST 92 hours a week plus sleeping. There are those who skate by. But if you want to go to med school, you can't. You need mostly As which requires about this much time according to numerous studies.

I won't tell you what to do, but I will tell you what I would do if I were interested in med school. I'd get my general education credits done at a community or Jr. College and take some of my pre-requisites for pre-med (things like micro bio, organic chem, etc.) while exploring various classes that meet core requirements, but may be of interest to me. For example, I like math, and I'm good at math. So I've continued to take math every semester. Coincidentally, this lined me into a major that I want to go into. But, at the same time, I was able to knock out my english credits, my art credits, etc. This is what I would do if I were you because 1) It saves a lot of money, and you need to save as much money as possible. 2) It's hard to say in highschool whether being a Surgeon is right for you. 3) It's hard to say whether you are capable of the workload involved in med school. 4) It gives you a social life, and allows you to enjoy college and pursue your interests while discovering if medical school is right for you.

Good luck.


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Re: Aspiring to be a Surgeon - July 31st 2015, 05:03 PM

Eh, I would not want to do deal with the hassle of medical school. Sure you get a bigger salary but you also have to deal with being on call, emergency surgeries, rounding, etc. No physician that I know of gets away with just a set 9-5 schedule unless they do not admit patients, does pathology, or gives a huge chunk of revenue (such as sourcing their patients out to a group who sees them in the hospital). If you go into ER, then you're facing alternating schedules where you're on nights then days and then back to nights.


I'll stick to aiming to become an office nurse practitioner. Sure I will have call now and then but I also get to have a life and less debt.
   
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