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Help a 17yr-old make decisions>.<

  1. Aug 13, 2009 #1
    Hello, guys.

    I'm going to be a high school senior next year and was contemplating my different options for choosing a major and college.

    I've basically narrowed it down to two passions:
    Actuary/Finance (at mccombs, olin, or wharton)
    Chemistry (so that I can go on to med or pharm)

    But, considering the fact that the world is changing so quickly these days, and especially technology, do you think it's a smart investment to go into med school? For med, it just seems so intimidating to look 10+ years down the road, with 100Ks of debt and loans, wondering if my other passion may be the more "stable" choice, finance. To me, neither of them seem very stable at all.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2009 #2


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    Many interests can be examined and refined during the next several months. You would know more about yourself after a few varied courses in college. With your interests currently, you may well start as a Physics or Engineering major student. Technology always involves them; medicine uses many kinds of technology which involve Physics and Engineering as well as other sciences. You mentioned finance; Mathematics and computer programming will give you analytical skills useful for finance.
  4. Aug 13, 2009 #3
    I'm sure there will still be doctors in 10 years and that they will still be well paid.
  5. Aug 14, 2009 #4
    Yeah, I guess what I'm saying is....

    I'm very "flexible" when it comes to passions, and I'm kind of looking for the job that would lead to less frustration.
  6. Aug 14, 2009 #5


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    You must find your own answer; and this can best come from actually studying several different courses during the next 18 months. After that, you will have a firmer idea of what you would be best interested to do. You seem right now to want something generally in Natural Sciences or Engineering. These are very, very broad.
  7. Aug 14, 2009 #6
    Do you know any professionals in those fields that you could talk to and find out more about their jobs entail?

    Do you know any companies you think you'd like to work for? Call up their Human Resources department, explain your situation and ask for some typical job descriptions and what they look for in candidates for those positions.
  8. Aug 14, 2009 #7
    What kinds of things cause you frustration?
  9. Aug 14, 2009 #8
    You're still 17--you still have plenty of time to find out what you're passionate about. When I was 17, I was mainly interested in biology and chemistry. But once I spent a year in college, those interests immediately changed to math, computer science, and maybe physics. I think you feel like you need to make a decision because people (your parents, relatives, teachers, and friends) are making you think that way--you'll be applying for colleges, and they expect you to have a concrete life plan even though you're not sure what you want to do. But in my opinion, you should think about what kind of job you want to get after you found what you're interested in learning. There may be alternative, but I think that's the best way to go.

    But you know you're passionate about finance and chemistry, right? Then I think it would be a good idea to start looking for schools that are strong in the areas you're interested in. Maybe a school with good science and math departments would be a good choice. If you also have another areas that you're passionate about, consider them as well--think of a situation where you actually changed your interests.
  10. Aug 15, 2009 #9
    definately. There prolly won't be enough doctors...ever. So finance wise it's a sound profession to consider.

    But that aside i have to agree with what PieceOfPi said. It's too early to be making decisions. Although it's good to have an idea of what you might want to do but that does not mean you'll end up doing that. I hear students (average) in States change 5 majors in college.

    Anyhow, i would suggest you to take Advanced Course (if available) for those courses in highschool and get of taste of what's college is like. If your school offers AP in Chem or Bio, do NOT miss it!
  11. Aug 15, 2009 #10
    How about... which one has more time for a personal life???
  12. Aug 15, 2009 #11
    Money is unimportant.

    What matters is what you like to do, because you will be doing that the rest of your life. Learn about both subjects. Read introductory books. Find out which one interests you more.

    In my opinions, finance in chemistry both seem very exciting(and also lucrative).
  13. Aug 18, 2009 #12
    Money is not important to me... it's just that I was wondering if there were careers that earned a decent living, but the more important thing is free time.
  14. Aug 18, 2009 #13


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    Probably finance/business, but not necessarily if you get into an intense finance/business job.

    A more important question at this point is, "What patient contact experience do you have?" Do you do any volunteering at local clinics? Are you current in your CPR/FA certifications? How many patient contacts have you had in the last month? The last year?

    (My regular day job is EE, but I'm an EMT for shift and vollie work) -- I've found that how comfortable/happy you are in medical work depends on how you feel about patient contacts. Honestly, if medical school is just an option and not a passion, then you will probably be happier in business.

    From your post you sound very intelligent and forward-thinking, so your ability to do well in business school or med school is probably not an issue. But looking forward to the next 20 or so years of work after school, if you aren't motivated by patient contacts, I don't think you will find the med path satisfying.

    It's kind of like EE and Engineering -- if you aren't asking yourself all the time "Why did they make that like that?", then you probably aren't an engineer in your core. IMO with med careers, if you don't get a lot out of patient contacts, it's probably not meant for you. The only way to know this is to set yourself up in a volunteer ("vollie") or other position where you work with patients a lot. Are there any such opportunities where you live? IMO, you really owe it to yourself to get that experience before you set your sights on med school.

    I really do value my patient contacts. Not just the ones I help a lot, even the obnoxious ones. Because I help them too, even if they won't admit it at the time. How do you feel about blood?
  15. Aug 21, 2009 #14
    idk... I guess I'll just go with accounting. It seems fair enough
  16. Sep 7, 2009 #15
    Revisited... how will technology affect the field of medicine and how doctors do business in 10, 20 years?
  17. Sep 7, 2009 #16
    Honestly with an engineering degree and the right choice of other experience you will be qualified for finance/business, technology, or med school. As an engineer (in engineering or a different field) you can start out of undergrad making nearly $60,000 at your standard large US corporation. Whether you work 40 or 80 hour weeks at that point is a matter of preference and will be up to your goals and ambitions at the time.

    In finance/consulting they want to see analytic skills and leadership/communication skills. Unless you're going into actual accounting an engineering or hard science degree will not be a setback in finance. You'll just need to have demonstrated a business interest and maybe have taken some basic econ. Business graduate schools look for a diversity of undergrad experience and top schools are usually split about 1/3rd engineering, 1/3rd humanities, and usually less than 1/3rd business with the sciences mixed in.
  18. Sep 7, 2009 #17
    I don't expect it to change much. Doctors generally don't directly have to deal with much of the administrative side of things, which is where record automation etc comes in. I'd recommend keeping your options open if you start off the premed route. Most students interested in med school either change their minds or aren't accepted.

    Oh also, check www.bls.gov[/URL] for starting salaries, median salaries, job and industry outlooks, and basic descriptions of different jobs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  19. Sep 7, 2009 #18
    currently can't decide between CS and medicine -_-

    I have a feeling that if I enter one of them, I might regret not choosing the other.
    You see, I'll be applying to both UT and MIT this fall (early).

    UT is automatic acceptance (top 10%) while MIT... I think I might have a shot at
    But if I do get into MIT I really would like to go there. However, I would NOT go there just to get premed requirements; it would be kind of a waste.

    This is what makes if difficult for me to decide... the school I go to will depend on the future I choose..
  20. Sep 9, 2009 #19
    nvm, I've posted this in a thread by itself. thanks
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