People become doctors for many different reasons. Some know they want to be physicians coming out the womb, others discover it along the way. There is however a select group of people that never really wanted to do it, but were “aggressively guided” by their parents. I have a few friends in my class that have shared with me that they belong to this group. Their parents told them that they have to be doctors to be considered a success by society and by their family. They were told that it’s the only respectable, high paying job there is. Often, these people don’t really explore other options and assume that if their parents are saying this is the best option, it really is for them. Medicine is an incredibly difficult, taxing and expensive career to pursue for anyone that wants to pursue it. If you don’t want to do it and force yourself through, you are guaranteed to burn out and be filled with regret down the road. Let’s look at some options to prevent that.
- Understand Where Your Parents Are Coming From
Every parent wants to see their child succeed and be happy (for the most part). Being a doctor is indeed a well-payed, highly respected job. They are just trying to guide you and encourage a path of success for you. Often, parents went through the pain and struggles of failures in their own lives and don’t want their kids to go through the same thing. They try to keep you safe and prevent failure from occurring. Although this isn’t perfect parenting, and I don’t know what is, understand that your parents have good intentions. Don’t be upset with them, don’t burn bridges with your family, and make sure to communicate properly.
2. Shadow As Much As Possible
Shadowing doctors is something that is expected to be on your medical school application, but more importantly give you insight to the life of a doctor. Take every opportunity you get to shadow physicians in as many different fields as possible. This can set up potential reference letters in the future which is a bonus point. For you though, take this opportunity to see if you can potentially do this for 40-50 years. Understand that no job, especially a well payed job is going to be sunshine and rainbows all the time. But if you absolutely hate it and are watching the clock, it could be a clear cut sign.
3. Use All Free Time For Exploration/Passions
If you have this dream of yours or a different job that you may be interested in, it’s your job to make time for it. While you are living under your parent’s roof, pursue medicine and chase that “safe option”. But every waking second that you are not doing something for this process, you need to be spending it on things you “want” to do. If you don’t know what else is out there, then explore. These days with youtube and the internet, you can learn anything. If there’s even a slight interest in something else, go learn it and see if that could be a sustainable career for you. If you already have an idea in mind, then go all in on it during your down time.
4. Results talk
Once you have an idea of what you may want to pursue instead of medicine, you should go all in during your free time to show that it would work. Whether it’s selling products online, doing photography, building cars, whatever. Results talk in this world, so if you can show your parents that you can make money and feed yourself with whatever you want to do, they’re more likely to join your side.
5. Tough decisions
There is no easy path to take here, but the options are clear. If you absolutely hate the idea of being a doctor, and you have a tangible plan for what you actually want to do, now it’s time for the tough decisions. Talk to your parents calmly, and present these ideas and results. Be clear about how you feel and what you want to do without being rude or combative. If they join your side, great. If not however, it is time to do some introspection. Your parents are very important people in your life and you absolutely should do everything you can to prevent burning bridges. However, living the rest of your life in doubt, regret and anger is simply not the way to live. More or less, if you’re under your parents’ roof, taking money from them, what they say goes. But if you have so much conviction and belief in your dreams and ideas, and you just can’t get them on board, it may be time to leave. Go out on your own, struggle, and fail your way to success. When they see you happy in your idea of success, not theirs, they are likely to come around and be proud. And if not, well then you still get to live a life doing what you want.
This last paragraph was tough to write because it is not as easy as I’m making it sound. It’s very difficult to kill a dream because of your parents and likewise to leave your parents for a world of risk and uncertainty. Do some serious introspection and don’t take this lightly. These are just suggestions for you, because again, your career is what you will spend the majority of your life doing, and hating every bit of it is just not the way to go. Do not pursue medicine if you don’t genuinely want to, it leads to regret, burnout and depression down the road.