Ask any student to sum up their medical school experience in one word, and they’ll likely say, “tough,” “rigorous,” or something similar. This is true regardless of where they are in their medical school journey. Pursuing a medical education requires diligent study habits and a willingness to push yourself.
Though you’ve always known the path to obtaining an MD is challenging, you find yourself dwelling on it a bit more now that you’re getting close to applying. Is medical school worth it? Will all those hours spent honing your clinical skills pay off?
You’re smart to carefully consider whether medical school is right for you. Taking some time to think about your career goals can help you make an informed decision. It’s also a good idea to hear some perspective from those who’ve completed their education. After all, they know the ins and outs of medical school better than anyone.
Is medical school worth it? Graduates reflect
During an event celebrating their residency placements, we asked some recent medical school grads to reflect on their medical school journeys. Check out the video below to hear their thoughts.
5 things to remember when considering whether medical school is worth it
1. Medical school is temporary
No one would deny that medical school is extremely challenging. You have to absorb a vast amount of material and hone the practical skills you’ll use every day. As difficult as it can be, graduates are often thrilled they persevered. “I would do it 1,000 times over and over,” says Dr. Tommy Martin, a St. George’s University (SGU) graduate who completed the program in 2018.
"I would do it 1,000 times over and over."
2. Obtaining an MD will enable you to pursue your dream career
You can’t become a resident, much less a fully licensed physician, without first completing your medical education. One you’ve obtained your MD, though, you’ll be one step closer to starting your career.
“I’m finally going to be doing what I’ve wanted to do for years, even before med school — probably even before college,” explains Dr. Sarah Falk, a 2018 SGU grad who is pursuing a career in psychiatry. “So, it’s just an exciting prospect.”
3. Finishing medical school is incredibly rewarding
Going from pre-med student to practicing doctor involves a lot of steps. You don’t often get the chance to slow down to reflect on how far you’ve come, but the end of medical school is a rare exception. Dr. Jeremy Awori, a 2018 SGU grad on the path to internal medicine, took some time to enjoy the moment on Match Day.
“To be able to stand here is a great blessing and something I’m very proud of,” he says.
"To be able to stand here is a great blessing and something I’m very proud of."
4. You’ll be able to positively impact countless lives
Many people choose to become doctors because they want to help people, particularly those interested in primary care. But you need the appropriate education and training before you can begin. Only after you complete medical school can you start improving patients’ lives. Eventually, you’ll be able to diagnose conditions, form treatment plans, and educate patients in a meaningful way.
5. The cost is manageable in the long run
If you’re wondering whether medical school is worth it from a cost perspective, you should remember that your education is an investment. Try to think about your long-term financial picture. Physician salaries are among the highest of all occupations, so loan payments will be less daunting once you’re actually practicing.
And don’t forget about the ways you can lessen your financial burden. There are more medical school scholarships available than you might think. And there are numerous other things you can do to help pay off loans.
Begin your MD adventure
So, is medical school worth it? Many doctors say the answer is yes, but you’ll ultimately need to decide for yourself. The process is incredibly rewarding for individuals who are truly passionate about medicine and helping improve patients’ lives.
If you know you’re meant for medicine, it might be time to start thinking about applying to programs. You’ll need to gather letters of recommendation, write a great personal statement, and complete any lingering coursework. Learn more about everything that applying entails by reading our article, “A Sneak Peek at the Medical School Application Process.”
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