Every doctor has a story of how they ended up in medicine. Mine goes like this. My parents instilled two things that looking back now were probably the reason I was drawn to become a physician. From my father I inherited the love of problem solving. A lot of the clinical part of medicine depends upon applying scientific reasoning to problems and then finding patterns within information to arrive at a plan.
From my mother I inherited the love of helping other people. There are a lot of things in life that can make someone feel good about themselves, but I am yet to find something that trumps the high that I get by making someone else’s life better.
Technically what got me into medicine were hours of studying and a little luck. In my college 1000 students started as pre-med freshman year and around 40 actually went. It’s just not worth it unless it’s a burning desire in your heart. There is the classic joke though “What do you call the person who graduates last in his or her class from medical school…? Doctor of course!” And although the strain of residency has abated somewhat in the last 5 years or so do to changes in work hours, becoming a doctor is just the beginning. I did my residency at Stanford and although I loved my program there were definitely times when everyone sat back and said to themselves “Is this really worth it?” The answer for me was always yes, but sometimes it was difficult to say that out loud. And I surely don’t underestimate how much luck had to play in the process. I happened to choose great schools, meet great mentors and avoid any horrible life tragedies. Luck did seem to come much more frequently the harder I worked though. It still does. [I love this sentiment. It’s so true and often forgotten!]