2017 is coming to an end and it has been a year where honest confessions have worked out in my favor all year. In continuance with the tradition, I think I should end the year with another one. This was the year I stopped pursuing medicine as a career and moved to psychology. I never talked a lot about why I did that. So why not talk about that today. Before I start, I want to make it clear that I didn’t leave medicine because I didn’t like it or because I found it too hard to study. I loved the subject, I enjoyed studying it and it was something I had always wanted to pursue. There were many things that contributed to my decision to leave, I will try and list some of the most important ones here,
- It is a noble and safe career.
I understand if this may not seem like a reason to leave medicine. Rather, it would be one of the reasons to actually be a doctor but medicine is too safe a career for me. I would study for about a decade, maybe more and then live a safe life of being a well educated saver of life; and that’s it. I would be a doctor, have a prefix to my name but there would be nothing for me to progress to, to look forward to. I don’t know if I am being clear here or not but I wanted something more. Of course there are many doctors I know who have started other businesses and become successful in other fields as well but I didn’t see more than a decade of studies worth it.
- The seniors expect a weird, irrational submission from juniors.
The first day I went to college, we were made to follow a weird regimen. It was as if I was back in kindergarten and was being told to respect any person I saw. I understand that seniors have experience and deserve some respect but I thought that if you need to enforce respect on us then it isn’t really respect, it is more of a submission by force. It was something that I would have had to do for the rest of my life. I don’t think this is that big a problem for many other current MBBS students or doctors but for me it was so I had to change something.
- The job has too many responsibilities.
I haven’t always been shy of responsibilities in the past. I liked being responsible, having some power and work to do. I relished it. When I truly understood the magnitude of the responsibilities I was going to have, I started getting anxious and didn’t think I would be ready for something like that, especially if it was going to go on for life. I know I sound like a coward at the moment, it was a decision made out of this instinct. I am not going to debate that and accept this as a flaw in my personality.
- I needed to help myself before I helped others.
This year when I was again at the precipice of deciding my career, I had a choice to make. I knew I wasn’t in the mental state to be studying medicine but I might have ended up saving lives and helping the sick, on the other hand I could go for something comparatively relaxed and find myself a bit more before getting serious about my career again. I chose the latter. I decided that I needed to go kind on myself for once and be selfish.
- It is a dangerous job.
No matter how noble this career is considered, being a doctor is a dangerous decision in India. The reports of patients’ kin assaulting doctors keep coming day after day. Moreover the service has been corrupted by a business-like approach to healthcare which has alienated the common public against doctors as a whole. The atmosphere between people and doctors is not a very favorable one, it hasn’t been for quite a long time and it is only likely to get worse.
All of this said, I do want to point out that this is my personal opinion and it is not necessary that everyone else see it the same way. There are still many students willing and continuously trying to become doctors and I respect them for that but I am also afraid that they do not fully understand the responsibilities and expectations that come along with a career in medicine.
These were some of the big factors in me choosing to give up on something I had worked hard for. I had devoted 2, and by extension, 3 years of my life for this. I had always thought of my future as a doctor and had made many plans to that but currently there is a minor uncertainty in my future, an uncertainty I like. I will never know what could have been. What could have happened if I never got depressed, where I might have been or what I might have been doing but that is something we will never know now. That was a long chapter of my teenage life and one that I can now say has ended. I don’t look back on my decision with regret or pride. I accept it as something that was, at that moment in time, necessary.