This new post: “5 top reasons NOT to go to medical school” follows our recent post: “10 top reasons to go to medical school.” If you read both posts, you’ll realize there is very little crossover. That’s because you are either physician material, or you aren’t. While very many college students fancy themselves as ideal pre-med specimens, there are much fewer who pull it off.

So, here are my 5 top reasons NOT to go to medical school. Read closely…

  1. To get rich.5 reasons not to go to medical school

    Let’s be clear. There are dozens of careers that will make you a millionaire. A doctor may or may not be one. Yes, you’ll make a comfortable living as a doctor, and maybe even be comfortably “rich,” but given the sacrificial years during medical school where you made nothing, or almost nothing while taking out scads of student loans, you started behind the eight ball! There is lots of catching up to do when doctors finally get the M.D. behind their name. Money can’t be your prime motivator.

  2. To please your parents.

    This is a real thing. So many kids think their parents will be dreadfully disappointed if they don’t get this highly respected degree. But don’t you think your parents will be equally disappointed if you decide to take a path you don’t want, simply to please them? They don’t want you unhappy (do they?). This Decision of All Decisions needs to be one to please yourself, not anyone else! Before you make the final decision about your career, read our post on “Quitting Pre-med,” which looks at the reasons some students take the medical path—good and bad!

  3. For status and prestige.

    There is this faulty assumption that to have an M.D. on your door gives one status and prestige. In fact, it does imply an individual has some special knowledge and experience most others don’t. And it’s a sign that he/she worked mightily to get to where he/she is. But status and prestige must be earned by an individual’s own actions. If you come across to admissions committees as status-hungry, it’s a huge turnoff. On the other hand, if you’re selfless in your pursuit of this honorific degree, you’ll be more likely to get accepted by one or more of your chosen schools.

  4. To have the charmed life of “Dr. House.”

    Many doctors will tell you that being a physician is more like M.A.S.H. (hell) and less like the big city hospital life of Dr. House where clues always come together at just the right moment. Please stop watching TV doctor dramas if you ever want to be happy with your career as a real physician. TV medical drama is unrealistic and silly.

  5. Because you’re smart.

    That’s a good start. Then add determined, passionate, humble, patient, hard working and compassionate. Passing your pre-med classes is a starting point to your successful medical career. Becoming a good doctor requires so much more, including something people call “good bedside manner,” which means being truly empathic yet professional at just the right moments. Being a good listener. Translating medical-eaze into patient-friendly talk. If you’re smart, you have the first of may bricks in the M.D. wall, with many more bricks to add.

This list of “5 top reasons NOT to go to medical school” shouldn’t be interpreted as discouraging to anyone who truly is passionate about being a doctor. You know who you are. But with literally 1,000’s of career choices available to you, make sure to choose yours with a realistic attitude and not for any of the reasons above.

Here are a few more posts to help you on your pre-med path:

-Best pre-med major

-Med school requirements; your core curriculum

-Is pre-med consulting worth the money?