My lifelong dream of being a doctor? Not for me. At least not lifelong.
For me, it was quite a long process until I decided to do a medicine degree. Therefore this will also be a rather long blog post.
Often you will hear from medical practitioners, may they be doctors, nursing staff, surgery assistants, etc., that they have known all their life that they wanted to go into medicine. For them, it was some sort of childhood dream. For me, it was quite different. During my degree and my time at the hospital, I have also met hardly anyone who has actually wanted to work in the medical profession all their life. Most people just somehow ended up there. Just like me.
Short version: My decision to pursue a degree in medicine is based on the experiences I have made during internships and prep – courses as well as countless conversations.
Long version: See below
How did I end up doing medicine?
I was very lucky and had to do many compulsory internships while I was still in school. This is why I got deep insights into work-life as early as year 7.
Until year 10 I had the chance to work for several medium-sized companies and got an insight into different industries. (medium-sized company = more than 250 employees and more than 50 Million revenue)
I spent one week in HR, one week in marketing, one week in accounting, one week in production with industrial mechanics, one week in logistics, etc. I got an insight into nearly every department there is in a medium-sized company.
I did enjoy all of the work, but something was always missing. In the office, I was missing the practical part. In production, I was missing the interpersonal part. In accounting, I felt right at home, but even there the practical and operational part was somehow missing.
When I had only one year left until my Abitur, I was still unsure what I wanted to do afterwards.
My sister was already close to finishing her medical degree at that point and just like any teenager going through a rebellious phase I definitely did not want to do the same subject as her. I know some students in my cohort who felt similarly and actually went on to study something different for that reason.
Therefore, I urge you: If you think this scenario might be applicable to you as well, please think again. Think about why you do not want to do medicine and then ask yourself: Are these actually good reasons?
After school in my spare time, I was attending Law courses for secondary school students at Bremen University. (http://www.uni-bremen.de/studium/studienorientierung/veranstaltungen-der-faecher.html) It was a great programme and it enabled students to attend lectures given by lawyers. One part of the lectures was always a Q&A session with experienced law students. It was great to have direct contact with students who had first-hand experiences. I had many questions but the answers I got were somehow not satisfactory so I decided against studying law within a few weeks.
So I was sitting at home thinking about what to do after my Abitur .. My dad was always convinced that I will become an economist. After a long call with my cousin, who has been working as a consultant for a prestigious firm for many years, I decided against an economics degree though.
Maths, Physics and Biology would have also been very interesting. At the vocational orientation event hosted by Bremen University, I looked into other subjects as well such as Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Business Psychology. It all sounded very interesting but those subjects were also all very specific.
What would I do if I decided to do something different in 5 years?
I thought about different options again and asked my parents and my sister for help. After many discussions, I started to realize that medicine is maybe not such a bad option after all. I was very interested in the human body. After my return from the US, I caught the „Fitness – Virus“ and got a personal trainer license in year 12. I was also quite interested in natural sciences and wanted to do something practical and something involving other people. I wanted to be able to look at all my achievements at the end of the day. All those expectations I had about my future job seemed to be fulfilled by the medical profession.
And even back then I was aware that if I did not decide to become a doctor I would still have countless other options. Ranging from becoming a medical journalist, scientist, working in a pharmacology company and office assistant at a health insurer to consultant, investment banker etc.
The possibilities did not seem to be as limited as with other degrees.
I already began a nursing internship before I arrived at university. I was a very confident young guy with a sometimes cocky attitude and got a lot of criticism from the nursing staff. Still, I liked the internship a lot and absolutely loved the contact with patients. From time to time I was even allowed to accompany the doctors on their round.
If you want to read more about that go to my blog post about the nursing internship.
I felt very good about the nursing internship so I decided to study medicine straight afterwards. As you can see, my decision to do a degree in medicine took quite some time.
Looking back now I am very glad to have made that decision. I seem to have quite a lot of possibilities now that I am nearly finished with my studies. The job is also very fulfilling and contributes a lot to society. Even though the degree was very exhausting at times I am very glad that I „fought“ my way through it. I am looking forward to an exciting time over the next years.