Medical School Isn’t That Bad

Oh my gosh, the hours are so long. My attending yelled at me! I have to work a full 12 hour shift! And God forbid, back-to-back 12 hour shifts… including a weekend day?! Why am I here?

I’m getting pretty tired of how melodramatic some medical students can be about our responsibilities. Try to consider what residents go through! And what the doctors who trained “back in the day” of scant hour limitations went through. Many of us have 100+ hour weeks to look forward to later in our training… how many med students can genuinely say they have already experienced that?

If there’s one thing working hand-in-hand with residents has taught me, it’s that our schedules are nothing compared to what we have in store for us in the future. When we have actual liability for patient’s lives. When there are very few people left above us to catch our mistakes. When the only thing which dictates when we can leave the hospital is our patient load.

For now, our lives are easy in comparison! Sure, upcoming exams may create a sense of heightened stress, but in the day-to-day scheme of things, we are privileged individuals who have been given this opportunity to do things few others can claim with very little liability. Our patients confide their private lives in us. We are taught by some of the most brilliant individuals in their respective fields. We get to completely dissect another human being. And sure, we pay tuition for it, but these opportunities really are priceless. At this point, we’re supposed to be sponges – ask the questions, make the mistakes, and learn everything about anything we can.

So please, before whining about how “tough” the life of a medical student is. Or trying to garner respect from your non-med friends. Or acting like you’re doing this because you have to. Remember that a.) there are countless others who would humbly take your position and b.) it’s only going to get worse from here. Suck it up, work the extra hours while you still have someone supervising/critiquing your work, and embrace this relatively cozy training process.

You only get out what you put in… and I intend to learn with my $6 malpractice insurance for as long as I can. 😉

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  1. Hello!
    I am currently a high school senior planning to attend medical school after college. However, recently I am concerned with the costs of medical school and the benefits not outweighing these costs. In your opinion, if someone feels called to the medical field, do the benefits of med school in our current economic setting outweigh the financial costs?

    • It’s difficult to put a price on attaining one’s true calling. That being said, I would pursue different clinical activities during high school and college (shadowing physicians, working as a scribe, volunteering in the E.R., traveling abroad to learn about other healthcare systems, etc.) to confirm your interest in becoming a doctor. These experiences will either support your decision or make you run the other way. 😀 As far as our current economic setting… well… doctors will always be needed. Enough said.

      Thanks for the comment!


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