The Clincher section is beautiful reading. Two years later, a 36 year old, newly wedded woman finds this story and is amazed to know she isn’t alone. My wife and I have been an item since college, and we both went through the medical school and residency process together (although at different medical schools, but that’s another story). Earn easy 1099 income with quick surveys for healthcare professionals with InCrowd. As pointed out at the end of the article, I never pursued the dream. But in this case, it was necessary and ultimately guided my decision to not pursue my dream both times. I went into medical school wanting to be a surgeon, but caught the EM bug pretty early. I have made far more money than my Father an Academic who was on Nobel Prize Winning Team . They always have to … I did even, about 10 to 12-years ago (I would have been around 35), begin to make a second go at it. I think you are on firmly on the right track towards FIRE from reading a few of your posts this morning. My community college experience lasted for 4 years until I transferred to a private college via an academic scholarship. But from the viewpoint of my 26-year old self, I was getting old. I trust that I made the right choices for me at each time in my life. We hang up our labcoats and business folios for good next year in July. Being a woman may be harder it is hard to know. Medical School paying full tuitions, scholarships. Lisa, I think you made the right choice both times. The decision was clear. It was only then that I realized that school is just a social filter. I chose medicine. There is a small piece of regret that I feel over not sucking it up and going for it when I was younger, but it’s hard to remember the exhaustion and the pressure to have a family I was feeling at that time. Thanks for sharing this story…it’s an excellent one. Look at all the doctors who blog about burnout, debt, suicide, and early retirement. Lisa you made the right decision for yourself. I know there are plenty of non-traditional students that do take the leap and tackle medical school later in life – I just couldn’t see that for myself. I think a big part of that is because of the sacrifices we both made to get me through medical school. Fast. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who made the decision to not pursue their med school dream. I love the continuum of regret too! My wife was a year behind me in the medical school decision process and made similar choices to you Lisa. I think I will be dropping out soon. He said, “What a waste.”. After a few years working in the pharma industry, I resided right around here on the continuum of regret. :O). It sounds like you also made the right decision to avoid advanced schooling. I too flirted with advanced schooling ( Law School ). I did a Ph.D in chemistry. Don't subscribe That’s why we work our butts off to be able to FIRE and have more of those one-on-one moments instead of dropping off at daycare and craziness of work-life balance. Many of my medical schoolmates took the traditional path, but we had quite a few older students with families. You made the right decision for yourself and your family, and it looks like you’re doing pretty well. Some people do well being a non-traditional med student but it is probably harder. If it’s a calling, and a burning desire (in other words, far more than the romanticized and glorified thought of becoming a doctor), I think there’ll continue to be regret down the road. Again. It was the only thing that kept me going, despite all the non-compliant patients and administrative hurdles. Lisa twice opted not to apply to medical school, which is not the same as getting an acceptance letter and dropping it the paper shredder. If just thinking about it made you tired then you made the right decision. Up to a decade of lost wages, massive student loans, and being expected to perform at the same level as the twenty-somethings, many of whom will be single and / or childless. I’m glad you don’t have any regrets. Perhaps file this under “Thank God for ungranted wishes”…or something. I really don’t have much of a reason for not pursuing the dream the first time around, other than very little life experience. If your not a doctor you probably did not want it. The only mainstay? Just feeling a little lost at doing the math myself and wanted to compare with someone else. I recently had a friend go back to medical school at the age of 38. I do have a deep, inherent interest in the workings of the human body and medicine. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Thanks for “getting it” and writing what feels like was written for me, even two years later. You’re such an inspiration for working and supporting your way through school! [PoF: Let me start by stating the obvious so we don’t have to rehash this piece in the comments. One thing is for sure, I have little regret over my decisions and I am very happy. What are your thoughts? And you seem to have found satisfaction in your discipline. My reasons for opting out the second time around were more substantial: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is my top pick for your first rewards card. That dream simmered on the back burner until I actually realized I could go to college and do quite well. Try not to second guess yourself. That didn’t end up working out either. Sometimes, just sometimes, a person will have a dream so big that it starts to consume them. Have you ever decided against something and then regretted it later? Thank you for helping us all. We won’t be too far behind! Thanks for sharing. I followed my goals and ignored everything else in life. Start receiving paid survey opportunities in your area of expertise to your email inbox by joining the Curizon community of Physicians and Healthcare Professionals. I'm a second year studying off of powerpoints and it just finally hit me that I was never meant to be a doctor nor do I want to be one anymore. Those courses fueled the flames of that simmering dream. Those kinds of decisions are not always easy, but I have found that if made with insight, lead to little regret. My first day in law school, the entire class was gathered in a lecture hall and they asked everyone who wanted to be in public service to raise their hand. He didn’t match in his choice of specialty, but completed another residency. In fact, I only realized I could pay my own way through school after meeting an engineer at my first real job, post high school. Ultimately, I decided it wasn’t worth the price. If they get excited about the thought of talking to good old Mr. smith about why he isn’t taking his blood pressure medicine for the 10 time or putting pressure on the abdomen of some drunk guy that got stabbed in a bar fight, then maybe medical school is the right thing. And, I was mostly happy. I use these examples in my coaching, including yours. But if the desire was mostly for the prestige, and the mid to high six figure income, then yeah I don’t think it’s worth it. All in all, I don’t regret it. 10 Actions That Hurt Your Med School Chances Avoid these 10 actions if your goal is to impress the admissions committee. And now it sounds like you’re fulfilled in your encore career as a writer/speaker/coach. Thanks for your comment, Tom! it's kind of sad to see someone who worked so hard to get into med school, survive year 1 to drop out because of not feeling "passionate" about medicine. The question came from my teaching assistant for a computer programming class. Everything I was doing up until that point was focused on getting into medical school. First-year medical students polled say they chose to go to medical school to serve their community and make a difference. It’s just of those inherent things that I think everyone goes through. As the years passed I have only ever thought about regret. Work life imbalance! Later in life I went on to get an MBA from a top school on the weekends. I was in medical school years ago when I chose to withdraw for the necessity of emotional and mental wellness, then tormented by the thought I could never get back in if I wanted to. As I sit here today typing this, it seem silly. I was in the exact right time and place. Sometimes we never know where a path might lead us. As you might guess, romantic relations are just as difficult. Twice”. If all goes as planned, I’ll start nursing school next summer. So many of us are trying desperately to find our way out of medicine AFTER giving up a decade and accumulating > $200K in debt. And, I was tired. All I could think of was how disgusted I would feel with myself as well as the possible resentment she might feel towards me. Instead, I took a less traditional route, but still made sure to take most required courses as electives. I will never know what might have been had I chosen a different path. Please. Lisa twice opted not to apply to medical school, which is not the same as getting an acceptance letter and dropping it the paper shredder.]. A person who almost got into medical school? Find the latest medical articles and paid surveys. Granted, she didn’t have a guaranteed path to the profession, but I’m not convinced that matters. My background is medical and psych, and I am a big believer in treating the whole patient, head to toe. In 2019, the average science GPA of all applicants was 3.48. Thankfully . And the additional classes I needed to take for the MCAT would’ve pushed me back another 2 semesters. Cookies help us deliver our Services. Kudos to us for realizing what we had and for avoiding enormous debt! They pride themselves as being Gen-Xers who have turned it all around and are now charting a course towards financial independence. If not, there are other ways to make a good living without sacrificing your 20s and starting your 30s under with a negative-six-figure net worth. I think the decision to apply to medical school needs to be an all-in decision. Sometimes the best decision is to keep moving forward. I agree that numbers make a story more compelling and easily believable, but I also understand people not wanting to make their numbers public for privacy reasons. I remember it like it was yesterday. The decision to go into medicine was easy– my father virtually made it for me and paid for it, too. It really would depend a lot on what other options were out there for me. Similarly, I opted out of Interventional Fellowship (I had been accepted) 3 months before starting because I wanted to focus on my wife and family. Always strive to be the best where you are. Sometimes the career dreams we have in our early 20s are formed by a romanticized idea and fail to take reality into account. Working for global Pharma company. One Incredible Tax Planning Tool (and So Much More), Finding Career And Personal Fulfillment Elsewhere –, Increased Flexibility With Earned Income –. As Mrs. PIE wrote, there is no such thing as work life balance. We all had alternative pathways that we could have taken, and it just so happens the author took one of those paths and is now putting herself in a position to retire early. It would have to be a true calling that could not be silenced. Until one day, I had a decision to make. I ended up going to my parents for a couple of days. And with that, let me tell you a story. It sounds like you’re thriving in the life you made for yourself and your family; congrats! I have to trust in myself that those decisions were correct and move forward each day. Remember, I started my undergrad journey at 19 and lasted for 7 years due to having to work full time while getting through community college. The student loans themselves would have been crippling…not to mention that there are no guarantees I would have finished the process let alone found fulfilling work. I can’t say that with certainty. Now, I’m 35 and my wife is 34 and we don’t have any children (and we’ve been unsuccessfuly trying). Jeez, one of us may even work for the same company as you!! Im on the fence about whether I want to continue down the path Im on. Not that “We’re financially independent and one of us just works for fun so we must be retired”. I think I ultimately made the right decision the second time around. Their goal is to inspire others just like them to take control of their financial future and realize it’s not too late! There will certainly be embarrassment and humility along the way, but there won’t be any regrets. Wow. Of course, I had no idea about open admissions at the time; I was just ecstatic to be a real college student. Within months, I was gainfully employed by a global pharmaceutical company. It's just not who I am. Be content in knowing you choose which you shows up today, Mr./Mrs. I’m speaking to a large number of physicians who may be considering leaving the profession much earlier than anticipated. Married with four kids leaving a low six figure job.”. I Was top of my class actually setting the curve in BioChemistry with very little effort. I opted to look for work with my undergrad degree. Congrats on being able to walk away from your jobs next July! i mean you haven't really started doing medicine yet. I must say, even though I didn’t pursue medicine, I am content with my career and I’m having a blast as a PF blogger. Here's to a happier future!. Bets of luck. Get top-notch CME and peer-reviewed content. I opted to take the road more frequently traveled. We ended up meeting in person and she said she was unhappy with my decision to pursue medical school. The debt, time away from family would be too much for me, but he seems to be doing well so I wish him the best. I spent $1000 and 6 weeks registering and preparing for this test before waking up a few days ago in a cold sweat, realizing I would be saying goodbye to my family, my home, the children my husband and I are trying so hard to create, even my animals in order to put myself through absolute torture of 30 hour work shifts and missing the first ten years of my child’s life. But I go see the new patient in room 12 with 2 mo of toe pain instead! I respect your opinion, but I think it’s worth contemplating and discussing the person who twice opted not to pursue medicine. For most other people, 7 years gets you an undergraduate degree and one year away from medical school completion. You pay so much in terms of time and hours to become a physician that it’s tough to rely solely on the numbers. At least 100 people did. Do you work in the medical field as your current career? People copy there parents and it takes courage to strike out on your own. My medical school … and D.O. You can’t go back and change the past, but you can use it to help guide others. But, that 7 year old daughter of yours is probably all you need to know you made the right choice. Personally, I think if it was a calling for her, the first opportunity was clearly the better one. Yes, sometimes an ungranted wish is still a wish come true! I could put a bunch more items in your “Pros of not going to medical school” list to make you feel even better about your decision. We cannot claim and write a blog post “I decided not to be Joel Stein. Secondary School Teacher With an average yearly salary of $43,800, the highest in the the top 5, secondary school teachers rank third in regret with 43%. Married with four kids leaving a low six figure job. Would I have become a famous recording artist? I told him I wanted to be a physician. Either way has its unique challenges. Is there any way you or someone could provide an example of how they went about calculating the “pay off” of going to medical school instead of continuing down another career path? Oh to be in my 20s again, or so we think. Sure. We went through the thoughts of Mrs. PIE quitting some 10 years ago when we had our first child. You paid attention to your feelings (about wanting a family and feeling tired, etc). Right now I work in an office and find it to be almost soul-crushing. Dec. 15, 2020 Why Students Leave Law School Seek mental health support. They stop spending time with friends, they focus all their energy into that one achievement, and they work their fingers to the bone until that achievement becomes their reality. How Much Money Does a Doctor Need to Retire? I feel bad for taking someone else's spot...I guess this is what happens when you tunnel-vision yourself into a single goal without really understanding the beast that is medicine, ever since I was in high school. Based on what you’ve written before about liking your current job, it looks like you made the right choice. I took it. preclinical years are different. And that’s okay. Every moment lived, every decision made shapes us. She’s got a real, earned degree, she’s not giving out medical advice, and she sets a good example for young girls in general. That, coupled with my almost perfect GPA and unique story (at least I thought it was unique) meant I was well on my way to that lofty dream I concocted so many years ago. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would choose differently. With suicide rates and depression higher in physicians it’s not a choice to be taken lightly. He was probably right but I really wanted to be a doctor and it had been programmed into my thinking for years. Again. You make a great case! [PoF: Let me start by stating the obvious so we don’t have to rehash this piece in the comments. . Thanks for sharing! It’s so hard to tell when you’ve made the right decision when there’s a strong emotional desire. That’s a fair criticism and one I made myself in the commentary: Did I make the right decision once, twice, or not at all? Im 25, have a bachelors in MIS, and have spent the last year taking the prereqs for PA school part-time at a community college. Wow, that’s an interesting story. 3. She had been too afraid to tell me all this time. We will never know how things would’ve turned out had we taken different paths, but I guess that’s just part of life. However, the clinical parts of medical school made me more despondent about this cause. With a destined desire that that will not silence . It’s funny how I can’t differentiate between the two. Back to Lisa for closing questions — it would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments. What’s your experience with education/career regret? But, overall, I’m very happy with where I landed. when used to book travel (after a $4,000 spend in 3 mo) and other great perks you can learn about, Top 5 Mistakes Doctors Make With Disability Insurance. But the trappings of saving more and enjoying quality vacation time – we vacation lots as a family as our getaway from the madness and pressures of big Pharma – kept us in the workplace. Sounds like your wife and I have a lot in common. An emergency room physician at Walter Reed Medical Center said he has no regrets after being ousted from his position following his public criticism of … Medicine is a life changing experience, and only the deserving get in. I ultimately cannot disagree that I made the right decision the second time around. Work/life balance was a big piece in my decision to not pursue the dream. Keep calm and invest on. My college career started 7 years prior to that point in time, and I was losing steam. Three siblings I know decided to go into medicine as second careers. That is true. In other words, 54% of applicants got rejected to every medical school they applied to. Thanks, Ryan! But here are a few things: 1. Find a way to push at some level, but ultimately, you can’t live in regret. In 2019, 53,371 students applied to medical schools. Though my story is a little different then yours in that I went straight through traditional undergrad and straight into medical school, residency, etc….I still ended up with regrets and lots of “what if’s” on the other side. I’m glad that you found peace with your decision and hope that you’ll realize more and more over time that you didn’t miss out and many of us would trade places in a heartbeat. But 2 years ago, that little medical school dream of mine went ahead and reared its ugly head. Arrogance is a very unattractive trait. There it was, my medical school decision to make a second time. This has to stop. The second time around really came down to finances and family. Did I mention I was tired? My suggestion then – Dr. Jones should consider giving some numbers like you do, and MMM does. Track your investments for free with Personal Capital. He laughed heartily at me when I told him I wasn’t smart enough for college and couldn’t afford to go. I’m not necessarily unhappy, but I think I’ve learned that following what feels right in life is often the best choice. Thanks for sharing, Lisa! It would help others to see an example, and chart a path. We now have a 7-year old daughter and life is fabulous. My brother, who was a successful CPA, decided to go to med school in his late 40s. My wife says she made the right decision to not pursue medical school now 17 years later as well. My life went on, as life does. If you go to law school with just some vague notion of public service and no sense of real, directed purpose, you WILL regret your decision. I think you made the right choice Lisa, both times. He is 61, loaded up with debt, not in the best of health, and will work far longer than had he just continued. Until one day, I had a decision to make. My medical school decision came around the year 2002. The way I try to help people with decisions like this is to tell them to imagine themselves in ten years. Late in high school, after a less-than-stellar academic career, I started to cultivate a dream of going to medical school. Oh well, time passes, unfortunately regret does not. , Contributor Oct. 23, 2018 Expect to be drained for cash and to eat a lot of ramen noodles. Within days, I had applied and was accepted to the local community college. This is a regret but, surprisingly, it’s not a big regret. The Chase Ink Business Cash offers 5% back on up to $25,000 spent on cell and landline service, internet, cable TV, and at office supply stores. Welcome bonus of 60,000 points worth at least $750 when used to book travel (after a $4,000 spend in 3 mo) and other great perks you can learn about here. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is my top pick for your first rewards card. In my eyes, it was a huge gamble to assume my relationship and/or eggs would be there waiting for me on the other side. And 7 percent reported regret about their specialty choice, according to the results of a survey of more than 3,500 second-year residents. If you can ONLY see yourself being a doctor, then give it a try. It’s so individually based. Watch this video to find out! Falling into debt trap is optional. It was definitely easier to opt into medical school as a 21 year old boy then it would be for me to do now as a 36 year old father. Much earlier than if she had opted to pursue medicine the second time around. I am in a state where my school is decently recognized and there are a lot of D.Os in allopathic residencies (Ohio). The latest version of an annual survey from Medscape/Web M.D., shows dissatisfaction among U.S. doctors rising. Only 54 percent of physicians say they’d pick medicine if they had the chance to choose their career path all over again, according to a new survey by Medscape (h/t The Daily Mail).The poll surveyed 24,216 doctors and health care professionals in 25 medical specialties and found that declining pay and high levels of student loan debt have doctors increasingly dissatisfied with their professions. I had to find a new reason to keep me going. I’m a big believer that there are no true “right” or “wrong” decisions; you never know where a given decision will take you. I can’t imagine making that move. , Yeah, all in all I feel good about the life decisions I have made. My bad. I probably should’ve put more effort into my dream when I was first able to pursue it. I too work for a large pharma company. Click on this link to Join Curizon and you'll also be entered into a drawing for an additional $250 to be awarded to one new registrant referred by Physician on FIRE this month. Thanks for the support, Jason! My advice (for anyone who asks and/or will listen) is that if you can see yourself doing ANYTHING other than being a physician, then run toward it. If it’s your life’s dream to become a physician, go for it. Personal worth is not measured in letters after your name, accolades, or positions. By Kathleen Franco, M.D. He opened my eyes to an alternative route to the same destination. I’ve heard similar things from other doctors. In life you become who your destined to be. And those 8 years would’ve been tough years. I can walk away knowing I could absolutely do it, but choose not to, so I am at peace. Will follow your journey along the path to FIRE for sure. Nice post. Join now & receive a $10 bonus!. Have questions? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see myself being successful with so many competing responsibilities. That being said, I think many bright young students and successful mid-career scientists often face similar decisions. All Time passes and life goes on. Not only was I working my butt off to put myself through school, but I was also volunteering in the emergency department and cardiac cath lab at a local city hospital. Many “previously important people” now identify as “a hiker,” or “a biker,” or “a traveler.”. I had relegated my medical school dream to the back burner for good. These days I’m enjoying my FIRE journey with this most awesome community. Thanks for the kind words. Thinking back, it seems like I was foolish to not go for it when I was in my 20s…but I can’t remember how tired I felt and how the pressure to get married and have children felt. Obviously I can’t change it now. I will say I love the school I am at, and have really gotten a good education. Would my happiness level be higher if I had chosen to pursue the white coat? Do call me Harjot. I was getting so tired. , Thanks for sharing your story, Lisa! 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