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Will stand up comedy hurt my future as a doctor?

I'm currently attending college. I'm majoring in chemistry and minoring in film studies in hopes of attending medical school to further my studies. The overall dream is to become a doctor, it's what I love. Ever since I was a kid I knew it's what I wanted to do with my life. My other passion is comedy and acting. I have preformed stand up comedy a few times now and can safely say I want to do this for the rest of my life. I don't expect to become for a better lack of a word "famous" but I would love to act in plays or a tv show or something like that. The problem is could it hurt my chances of becoming a doctor. Some might say I have a dirty/foul mouth. I can't help it. I'm honest I guess. I post stuff on the Internet. Could a future employer come across some of my creative work that they would find offensive and not hire me? Could they fire me? Does it hurt my chances? Do I pick one or the other? Any advice? #doctor #actor #comedian

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Sydney’s Answer

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Hey Tyler,


I agree with the above comment, performance and especially comedy could really help you put your future patients at ease and even make them laugh (which is probably rare in your field).


As long as you allow enough time to focus on your medical studies and residency programs, I don't see how taking time to also do something you are additionally passionate about (comedy) could harm you. I would say that in the professional field (business, law, medicine), a certain type of demeanor is expected. For example, employers absolutely have their HR staff search your social media sites to see what type of vibe you give off when you are not in the interview/internship mode. So I would certainly watch your foul mouth and any harmful or demeaning jokes you post online.


These are two extremely different career paths, so if you did want to pursue comedy as a full time career, you obviously know that your medical training would not transfer. You would have potentially spent a lot of money on college for a degree you did not need (for either case, but particularly for medical school as the amount of years needed for this degree is at least double that of a comedian that if they attended college, would most likely go for theater).


If you are at the beginning of your college career, take a few classes in the pre med field as well as any improve theater classes you can attend to help your decision. I would also talk to professionals in both industries (your professors may have even had real life experience or know people that you can talk to about these career paths).


Best of luck!

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Law’s Answer

I work at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and directly with our doctors. What I have found, a good bit of them have such diverse backgrounds and interests that it, as the other comments mention, improves their ability to relate and treat their patients and communicate with families (that are stressed and on edge). Similar to you, a few Attendings are in community theater, others in bands, I know many that are artists like myself. Bottom line, you will gain experience from many places, and the key is to build upon your skills and utilize all your talents in harmony to excel at whatever profession you choose. All the best to you.

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Ken’s Answer

Hi Tyler!


This could really help with your bedside manner!!


The problem that many people have with their doctor is that they feel that their doctor does not know how to relate to them personally - many doctors come off as very clinical.


This is where you could really complement your medical presence by implementing some of your stand up comedy. It would be a natural way to overcome the major obstacle that many people encounter with the medical field.


You might even be able to help your fellow medical students by schooling them in stand up comedy!!


Break a leg!!!!!!!

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