17 March 2009


Medicine is an interesting career in that it has very specific points at which you are forced to make a choice about what you want. The quintessential one is match day; there is a specific date on which everyone finds out what residency (and where) they will complete. For the current M4s, match day is this week. Medicine is also unique in that you are told where you will go - you don't get to weigh offers and choose one. You interview, you state your preference, and you hope to god you get what you want.

I have a lot of friends outside medicine right now trying to change jobs or get into graduate school and many of them have mentioned they envy the structure medicine provides. The next few years of my life are basically planned for me, but I find that terrifying. What if I can't make myself attractive to a residency program I want? What if I get stuck in a city I hate? What if I choose the wrong residency type (ie peds vs. surgery)?

I feel as if I have given up so much to do this, to be a doctor, and it doesn't end. I gave up a financially better career (banking) in a phenomenal city (NYC) to spend two years in night school just to apply to medical school. Now I'm living in a place I don't really like that's far from family and friends because it will give me the best chance at one of my top residency choices. I don't have the time (or energy) to play tennis or read books anymore and I can't keep a relationship together. I can't even make it to a friend's wedding or my 5-year college reunion. What do I have to give up next?

I know that what I'm doing is the best investment for my future and that I truly want to be a physician and yes, I am aware that eventually, when this is all done, I will have job security and a decent income (well... that depends a little on Obama...). I guess I just wish I was a little happier now. It's all well and good to plan for your future, but I seem to forget that I have to live in the present.

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