What would you do? Continue?

I am hestitant to write this because my mind seems to change weekly, but I am starting to feel that I am on the wrong path.

There are many reasons but the principle reason I chose to start this premed/med path is because I felt what I really wanted to do was completely impractical. Now I am beginning to think I should go to my original “dream” path, despite the impracticality, and have faith that things will work out how they are meant to.

I really want to go back for my masters and PhD in bioengineering. I’d like to be a professor. Even if I found a job, I think there would be a really good chance I’d have to move to another state when I graduated, and I’d make less than I do now. Regardless, I feel that I am “supposed” to be a professor, not a doctor. I know lots of people are cluttering up the PhD world who weren’t supposed to be there, and that’s frustrating because it makes the jobs so hard to get. I am really drawn to working with students and also the research side. I am less excited about academic politics, but I also know that most academics haven’t worked in the corporate world. . .it’s not all roses either.

Anyway, I really feel torn between both options (med school/BioE) right now, and I wish I could do both. I’ve considered delaying med school by a year and going back for just the Master’s, kind of as a test. It might even have advantages of providing some more medically-oriented experience if I did decide to apply to med school after. On the other hand, this is just crazy that I am 30 (dang, almost 31), and cannot decide what to do. I think I know where I should be but I just have too much fear to commit to that path.

I just completed Biology I, and I enjoyed it and got an A. I have also started volunteering and it’s fun, so it’s not so much that I am struggling academically. It really is just that I feel my calling is elsewhere. (But I think it’s lame to say I even have a calling, I was raised to be less spiritual.)

I’d love to hear what others would do in my shoes. Thanks.

It seems to me that you’ve already answered your question yourself! You do not want to be a clinician. You want to be a teacher and you want to stay in academia… so go for it and do not ‘waste’ your energy for getting into medical school.

Many medical school offer MD/PhD pathway, but I think most of the people who choose it have at least some interest in clinical aspect of medicine and taking care of patients. If you decide to get PhD, it won’t prevent you from working in a medical field or for that matter teaching in a medical school, but you’ll probably won’t be able to see patients (although I know several PhD who have very clinical job and interact with patients).

It’s my two cents; hope that helps.


I think Kasia really hit it on the head. This is such an investment of time and energy, you really want to make sure that it is what you want.

Ditto the others; you definitely want to know what your end goals are. But, you’re probably going to take the premed requirements anyway, for this bio/engineering program, so it’s not like you’re closing any doors just yet. Best of luck,

Thanks for the input, guys.

I think Kasia is right, more or less, that I have already decided. I don’t want to be a clinician. If I went to med school, I would probably seek out the role with the least clinical involvement. It isn’t that I don’t want to help people, I am just not too big on touching them, and med school IS a huge burden if you don’t want to do clinical work . I really think I can help the world in a better way serving in another capacity.

I may do the prereqs I am already enrolled in for summer, just because I’m still not “sure” and only have 4 days to decide. While none of the classes will hurt, the Org Chems are not required for the track I would do. We will see.

I think the bigger question for me is if I resign myself from the medicine path, will I really do anything (PhD or otherwise)? I know there are some things in my personal life that I should really get straightened out first, but some of those problems are hand-in-hand with my “career crisis.” Life. Bleck.

It is always good to come here and “talk” to real people facing similar issues.

I agree that it sounds like you have already decided. It’s good that you know yourself well enough to acknowledge that now. Your reason for not wanting clinical medicine is reasonable. Touching patients is a large part of what we do, many times in intimate ways. It must be something you would be comfortable with.

Good luck in your courses and your academic pursuits. There are many non-clinical ways to still help patients.