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I'm scared please give me some insight!

  1. May 10, 2006 #1
    I'm scared.... please give me some insight!


    im a grade 12 high school student. im about to take my AS level exams in math phys chem and bio and go to college. im thinking of medicine. and i applied and got accepted at Dalhousie University at Canada. but there's somethin about the canadian system thats been bugging me. its the fact that i still am not considered a medical student for 4 yearrs of undergraduate study where im free to study any undergraduate course i want (and i went for physics btw). people goin medical will do a medicine preparatory course which takes about 1.5 years and u might or might NOT get accepted AFTER 4 YEARS!! im afraid of the risk. i dont wanna come back after 4 years empty handed. and they say gettin into med school is TOUGH there and few students are selected only. what are the chances of getting into medschool there?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2006 #2


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    don't be scared. others can tell you the chances of acceptance, but i can tell you that many of us have succeeded in our goals after many years of not doing so at first, just by being persistent.

    you are obviously very bright and will have many options.

    best wishes
  4. May 10, 2006 #3


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    Be sure to take some BioChem classes in parallel with your physics classes. That coursework will be something that the med school admissions board will be looking at.

    And to settle your fears a bit, let me tell you a little about one of my best friends. He and I met because we were both on scholarship for MSEE by Bell Labs, and we ended up at the same school (Univ. of Michigan in Ann Arbor -- way too cold for a Cali native like myself). I'll call him "Kent" (well, because that's his real first name). Kent is a very bright guy, and he and I did pretty well in grad school. We chased the same women, and, er, got pretty good grades as well on scholarship. We went back to work for BTL, and did some good things for them. Several years later, Kent confided in me that Medicine was really his main passion, and he was planning on going to medical school and becoming an MD.

    Well, he did it, and he is now one of the best OBGYN docs in a major city in the US heatland. One of the most telling things that he confided in me after he graduated from medical school was that he was glad that he was always good at memorizing things. He said that about 50% of medical school was memorization, so being good at memorization gave him a big leg up on the rest of his MD class.

    So take some biochem, and get good at memorization, and you'll be able to extend your Physics and science background into an important MD career. Go for it!
  5. May 10, 2006 #4


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    Good luck, but are you sure you want to do Medicine?

    Think hard. I'm not discouraging you, I just want you to be sure you're doing something you really love and want to toil at for the rest of your life. I kind of went with what my parents wanted for me, and I've regretted it nearly every day since. I've left Clinical Medicine now and am doing something more lab related. That's what happens to a lot of bright guys who enter Med for the wrong reasons - they end up in Pathology or Radiology, or leave Medicine entirely, which is a great waste of time.

    I know I'd be a lot happier if I had pursued a career rooted in the Physical Sciences instead. I had admission to Caltech to do Elect Engineering, but decided to make my parents happy by entering Medicine locally. Big mistake.
  6. May 10, 2006 #5


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    good advice, get a lot of experience and then follow what you love.
  7. May 10, 2006 #6


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    The Canadian system is similar to the US system. Medicine is a post-graduate professional degree. You definitely have more options with the Canadian/US system, because even if you don't get into medical school for some reason, you'll still have your bachelor's degree in a field you enjoy. It's not something to be afraid of, since it's the normal system over here. A lot of students start out thinking they will go to med school and change their mind along the way, or discover they aren't good enough in the sciences to do it. The good thing is that for them, it's not so difficult to change majors and get their degree in something they ARE good at. For those who can keep their grades up and continue to be motivated to go to med school, and want to be a doctor for all the right reasons ("I want to help people" isn't a good enough reason), they will find a med school to attend.

    The only thing you should check out is whether your citizenship will hinder your admissions prospects to Canadian medical schools. I don't know if it will or not. In the US, more seats are given to students from the state the school is in than for out-of-state or foreign students, because the schools want to train and retain physicians for their region. Someone from outside the US would start out at a disadvantage for admissions.
  8. May 15, 2006 #7
    thanx for the support people, it was some sort of relief for me. my mom will be working on us getting a canadian passport as that's what we're relying on in the 1st place (because honestly my mom can't afford to pay my full tuition fees for my entire study time). and YES i' WILL be taking biochem classes parallel to my physics classes (as this is REQUIRED before taking the MCAT exam). i chose physics because im really good at math (or i think i am.. ) in addition to the fact that physics is very interesting to me. but as a life profession, medicine grants me a better job security. and i've thought about it frankly, im not too much into engineering so that leaves out medicine for me.
  9. May 15, 2006 #8


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    You know, that's pretty much the sort of thinking that went into my decision to relent and do Medicine. In hindsight, it was a wrong decision (for me).

    Please think carefully. At the end of the day, you must do what you love, not necessarily what gives you the best security. I have a secure job as a doctor, but I'm not all that happy. Medicine is one of those things that will occupy 100% of your waking hours and 80% of your ordinary sleeping hours as well. Things have changed since the "good ol' days" and the trust and gratitude of patients and respect from the rest of society are no longer givens. The pay is in fact quite low for the amount of work you have to do, and the threat of litigation (often frivolous) is high. The morale of junior doctors has been low for some time, but now I'm observing many senior, established doctors beginning to sour on their profession too. And the situation can only get worse, I'm afraid.

    I strongly believe there's only one good reason to enter Medicine (or indeed, any highly specialised and labor-intensive field). That reason is love for the profession. That's the only thing that will keep you going when you're walking around like a zombie at 3 am after having had no sleep for the last 48 hours straight (a very common occurence as a junior doctor).

    Again, no discouragement intended, I only have your best interest at heart. Good luck on making the right decision for yourself. :smile:
    Last edited: May 15, 2006
  10. May 16, 2006 #9
    thank you a lot for insight. its great to have information from a doctor. ur contributions are valuable for me. thanx for showing t\me the -ves of medicine too. but my mom (shes a gynae), says that getting PhD straight ahead and working as a consultant doesnt carry as much headache for u... what u u described pretty much holds true for general practitioners and specialists, or so says my mom.. is that true from where ur around?
  11. May 16, 2006 #10


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    :rofl: No disrespect intended to your mom, but my dad (also a gynae!) said something very similar to get me into Medicine.

    He said a few other things too. e.g.

    a) Doctors get respect --> not a given anymore, anyway, I think it's a bad reason to do anything

    b) Doctors earn a lot of money --> not true anymore, if you consider the amount of work one puts in and the medmal insurance premiums, loss of quality of life, etc.

    c) Doctors have a stable income --> this one generally is still true, but it may change years down the road. Then again, academics in Physics and Math have pretty stable incomes too, wouldn't you rather have a stable income doing what you love?

    d) You only need a basic medical degree to make a comfortable living, after that you can specialise if you like --> COMPLETELY untrue! GPs are finding it exceedingly hard to make an honest living, at least, here in Singapore. In any case, my dad has sort of contradicted himself by strongly advising me to specialise *after* I had completed my MBBS. Remember that specialty training takes an average of 5 to 6 years after graduation and internship. Total time for a medical undergrad entrant to become a specialist = 11 to 12 years!!:surprised

    OK, speaking of PhDs, what do you intend to do your PhD in? Remember, a PhD is only good as an academic credential, and is therefore, only worth getting if you intend to be heavily involved in research. Research is a labor of love, unless you have some great love for applied biology that you haven't shared with us, I would discourage against going into it - it's a lot of hard work and not nearly as glamorous as others make it out to be.

    I went into Microbiology because I couldn't stand to see another patient and because I had some stars in my eyes about "doing research". Guess what - most of the research undertaken by clinical Microbiologists is dead boring, consisting of tracking and characterising resistance determinants. It's fine if you like that sort of thing on general principle, but believe me, the intellectual challenge is nonexistent, because it involves doing the same thing repetitively.

    I have aspirations toward pursuing some sort of Biomathematical discipline, but local circumstances and family obligations make it quite tough to follow my heart. So I'm probably going to have to end up doing Microbiology for the rest of my career, which would still be better than seeing patients, IMHO. I'm very certain that if I had my life to do over again, I wouldn't touch a medical career with a ten foot barge pole.

    Anyway, I've said my piece in an honest, candid fashion. It's your decision to make, please think it over.:smile:
  12. May 17, 2006 #11
    Curious3141, I was reading one of your posts and I thought you that what you said was good advice. So, I hope you dont mind, but im going to quote you and put one of your posts on another thread, what has been the most important lesson(s) you have learned in your life. If you do mind I will take it down. Thank you though for the advice you are giving. I am a senior in high school and my parents have "suggested" some carrers that they would like for me to follow; however, I am not quite that interested on their suggestions. But hey, dont mind going to that other thread and posting a message.
  13. May 17, 2006 #12


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    No problem at all, I only hope others can avoid mistakes like mine. :smile:
  14. May 17, 2006 #13
    hmmmm.. thanks again ... **walks away with confusion**. will have to explore more options before deciding on a career.
  15. May 17, 2006 #14
    just a thought. wat about physics engineering? what does it involve? do you guys happen to know anything about it? how much physics is there? wats the nature of the job? is it financially rewarding?
  16. May 17, 2006 #15
    if youre actually scared by the thought of doing this medicine or have ANY DOUBTS WHATSOEVER, you really do need to question your motives. if it was your passion you would have no fear and would be completely going for the challenge. my advice is to talk to some people from canada who've done medicine this way, or consider going to an english university where you can just do a medicine course.

    also, why have you applied a year early?

    xxxx Gareth
  17. May 17, 2006 #16
    one of the first questions you ask are 'is it financially rewarding?'. you should not be looking for this in a career. doing something you passionately love is what you should do. thats what i say with benefit of hindsight.
  18. May 17, 2006 #17
    a year early? im already a 12 grader and canadian universities suffice with 4AS levels (which is wat im doin now). english unis are out of my reach, financially especially. and my family has a shot at earning a canadian passport.
  19. May 17, 2006 #18
    where u from?
  20. May 17, 2006 #19
    in england we dont apply to uni until year 13 and need 4 AS and 3 A2
  21. May 17, 2006 #20
    im from iraq. but im studyin at the UAE.
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