Why Medicine?

Q (from ask.fm): Why do you want to become a doctor? Did you ever consider any other profession?

For a time in my life (primarily during the med school application and interview process) I HATED this question simply because I was asked it oh so often. But really I LOVE this question. I love it because it makes me sit back and think about why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I’ve seen the quote “Medicine is for those who couldn’t imagine doing anything else.” by Luanda Grazette spread throughout twitter and time again by premeds and med students alike, and I simply do not agree. At least with respect to my own situation.

Since I have begun seriously considering my future (which started in late elementary school since I have always been nearly too obsessed with planning out my future), my career goals have consisted primarily of medicine, pharmacy, and research though at a younger age interior design and architecture were also top candidates. During this time, politics and business leadership also drew my attention briefly because I felt I could make a difference in those positions.

Making a difference. That’s the source of all of these career goals (minus architecture and interior design… I just wanted to make pretty houses). In medicine and pharmacy, I could make a difference in individuals’ lives through improving their health. In research, I could potentially discover something that would make a difference in our fundamental knowledge that could be applied to making a difference in many lives. In politics, I could make a difference by instituting policies that had a larger benefit for the nation with special interest in healthcare policy. And in business leadership, I could help bring a company success and target the goals of the increased revenue to giving back to others with particular interest in nonprofit charitable organizations.

As I explored these career options, my interests became more refined but I took something from each one. My interest in pharmacy holds true as I hope to have my research relate to the development of therapies. My interest in politics holds true as I am still particularly interested in healthcare policy and hope to be able to use my position as a doctor to educate others and make a difference in the way our healthcare system is set up. My interest in leadership holds true as I take the leadership skills for business and apply them to some day running my own lab. In fact, it is pursuing these other interests that I believe will make me a stronger doctor.

So why medicine specifically? First of all, the human body is beautifully complex and it is an amazing challenge to understand and seek to control its processes and especially its pathology. It is a challenge that I find absolutely invigorating and I believe it will keep me enthused about my work until the day I die. Second, it connects me to others and gives purpose to my work. It allows me to help others achieve their most basic need – good health.

I can imagine myself doing many things, but I have CHOSEN medicine because it is simply the best choice for me.

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Hanna is a MD/PhD student at the University of Illinois and an aspiring physician scientist who aims to specialize in hepatobiliary cancers. She is also passionate about teaching, leadership, and advocacy. The energy she once used to pep up crowds as a college marching band member is now directed toward exciting and educating others about science and medicine, especially through her tweets at @MDPhDToBe and her blog at www.mdphdtobe.com.

Posted in Medical School, Pre-med
5 comments on “Why Medicine?
  1. I SO agree with you ! I actually could do 4-5 other job and my goal is to change my career throughout the medical journey. To me becoming a doctor/surgeon is not the end, it is actually the mean. There are SO many opportunities and career which comes after that precious MD is attached to our name 🙂 For now I will settle with learning to become a surgeon but I definitely don’t see myself as being just a doctor and doing 7am-9pm hospital shifts for the rest of my life!

  2. I am very much agree with you. I also faced this question various times.

  3. J David says:

    In my case, medicine was partly forced upon me by my family. But upon completing it, it dawned on me that there are several avenues I can take, and not just limited to clinical practice.

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