Thinking of becoming a doctor

Hi everyone,

I’m so glad I found this forum, because I’ve struggled with the idea of becoming a doctor for years now and would like some feedback from people who’ve experienced a similar situation as myself. Since graduating from college less than two years ago with a BS in Business, I’ve been working in some rather meaningless fields (government consulting/litigation consulting). Needless to say, I find myself completely disinterested in what I do and almost embarassed to tell others about it. The idea of working in this job or any other similar-type job for the rest of my life depresses me. So every day I daydream about what it would be like to do something that interests me, challenges me, that I’m proud to do, and that adds value to society. But on the other hand, I also struggle with how risky it would be to give up my job, steady income, and comfortable life to attempt one of the most difficult endeavors out there. (Not to mention costliest - I already have 60k in loans!)

Because I have little experience in the field of healthcare, I would appreciate any advice on how to begin volunteering at hospitals, shadowing physicians, etc so I can determine whether or not this is something I actually want to do. Any other advice on first steps would also be much appreciated. Lastly, I welcome any feedback from others who were once in my shoes and can offer some words of wisdom.

Thanks for the help and I hope to hear from you soon.

I feel the same way about my job (software engineer)…it bores me and I dont feel like I am doing anything of value. Anyway, I randomly made some calls to some schools in my area this past summer, and I looked up the websites of hospitals near me for volunteer programs. This is pretty much all the legwork I did, and I applied and was accepted into a post-bach program, and I was able to start volunteering in the ER at a hospital near my house.

If money is an issue, you can keep your fulltime job while taking classes at night…that’s what I do. It makes paying tuition easy and its not so bad. There really isnt a need to dump a job if it pays well unless you plan on being fulltime student.

I haven’t shadowed any docs because between my job and taking 2 classes with labs…I dont have time, but I am still trying to figure out how to squeeze that into my schedule.

Thanks - that’s really helpful. Are you taking your courses at a university or CC? I want to start as soon as possible, but the courses I would have to take are Physics, Bio, and Organic/Chem - which I thought were only offered during the day. Do you have any idea about this?

Also, what does the volunteer work at the ER consist of?


I’m taking courses at a University. I am taking classes through an official evening part-time postbach program designed for working people. I am lucky that I happen to live near a school which offers this program, because every other university in my area offers full time postbach programs which are classes during the day only.

I dont know too much about how many universities offering evening science classes because I didn’t look into it myself really. I was basically ready to leave my job back then and become a full time student until I got accepted into the evening postbach program. Even then I figured I would leave my job if I cant handle school work and a full time job at the same time since school comes first.

This website lists postbach programs which many schools offer, its a good starting area to see what is available.

There are people on this board didn’t go through an official postbach program, but instead just took classes on their own, did fine, and got into medical school as well. The main difference between postbach programs vs. taking classes on your own (besides the cost difference) is that post-bach programs make recommendation letters easier to come by, help you find doctors to shadow, gives you an adviser, and offer linkages to med schools. Both paths are viable options though, it is the grades that really matter in the end.

In the ER my volunteer work is restocking every patient room in the ER with supplies like gloves, bedpans, etc… It is good exposure, and after I am done I just hang around and watch nurses and doctors do their thing.

I’d say read the following three posts I wrote:………

Wow - these are really great resources. Thanks everyone!

Ihopetobeado2, I really appreciate you digging back through your old posts. I was surprised to discover the percentage of physicians dissatisfied with their profession. However, I submit that they would be just as dissatisfied (if not more) elsewhere because at the very least, their job is rewarding. Most other professions have the same amount of administrative workload and shortage of resources, but I guarantee you can’t go home talking about healing people. Nevertheless, a really interesting piece on the state of healthcare in Massachusetts from the perspective of the physicians and other players.

Thanks again for all the help and I’ll be sure to post again with any new developments.

Try volunteering in an ED and see if you like it. I volunteer at a small hospital as a patient advocate (basically seeing if the patients and visitors need water/coffee/etc., cleaning rooms and so forth). One of the doctors has taken an interest in me and lets me shadow him every time he is working during my shift (needless to say, I always stay until the end of HIS shift when this happens!). Just get your feet wet, and remember, it never hurts to ask!