4 answers

How have you reacted to the people who have told you that you don't have what it takes to become a doctor/surgeon?

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I'm a high school junior who has always wanted to become someone important in the medical field. The duty to help people to the best of my ability is something I want to pursue. However, an obstacle that I've faced is the belittling of my abilities to do so. So I would like to know how certain doctors have overcome this obstacle so I can learn from them and be the best doctor I can be. #doctor #medicine #science #pre-med #surgery

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4 answers

James’s Answer

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hi angeles,


i graduated med school in 1993 and have been a family physician for 20 years.


when i was growing up my mom worked as a nurse in labor & delivery. she worked alongside the obstetricians when they did c-sections and she would always tell me that i had the hands of a surgeon.


but i don't think that ever really influenced me. what did influence me was tagging along with her at the hospitals. i realized early that what i didn't want to be was a nurse - because they work really hard.


i can't say that anyone ever directly told me that i didn't have what it takes to be a doctor. but i did have some similarly discouraging experiences. every single doctor that i spoke with about my intentions discouraged me from going into medicine. but that was always because they were pessimistic about the future of medicine.


i did a lot of pondering on that. was medicine truly that bad of a career choice? or was it maybe some ploy to find out if i was truly committed to going into medicine?


later, when i was interviewing at medical schools i found it odd that every single interviewer made a point to ask me if i had made any plans in case i didn't get admitted. again, it left me wondering if this was another "test" of my resolve.


so if you do choose this path you should be aware that negativity is the rule, not the exception.


let's get back to your situation.


my guess is that your demeanor doesn't seem "doctorly" to some.


what you'll find is that every specialty in medicine has its own personality. for example, athletic types tend to be drawn to orthopedics, brusk types to interventional cardiology, flaky types to psychiatry, etc, etc.


of course, those are stereotypes and definitely don't apply to everyone. but i'm telling you this because i've found that just about every personality type is represented in medicine just like in the real world. there is no single "doctorly" demeanor. it's simply a stereotype. a myth.


of course, there is the possibility that perhaps you were belittled because of poor academic performance. now that would be much more serious and i don't have anything positive to cheer you up if that's the case. medicine is undoubtedly very rigorous academically. and i don't see that ever changing.


it sounds like you have some motivation. next you need education. later you'll need training.


what have you researched about medical education and medical careers? have you spoken with doctors or other medical professionals? spoken with your school counselor?


enthusiasm is a good start. but you need to formulate a plan. what will it take for you to get from point A to point B? is it practical? is it even possible? what's it gonna take?


so if you're truly committed then don't let critics stop you. but be realistic about the struggle. make a plan.


good luck!

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Vernon’s Answer

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What others say is nonsense. The only voice you need listen to is your own. I had the sad and unfortunate experience to inform a junior in high school (a biology student of mine) that she wasn't committing to her dream of being a surgeon. She was in ALL the sports, cheerleading, clubs, student council, etc. Her grade in my class was C.


She buckled down somewhat, but never made the commitment to being a physician and ended up in nursing. Having taught human anatomy in medical school, I can assure you that this pursuit is a 24/7/365 task that will last the rest of your working life. You will, of course, find time for family, friends and personal activities, but between now and when you're established in your own medical practice you will be a student.


You must be or become an excellent student every day. Do NOT become obsessed with competition with others. Your grades and personal character development are what medical schools look for. Work for a doctor as an office flunky in your spare time or summers. Get letters of reference from your family physicians. Do all those things that allow you to present an honest, excellent and complete resume' of yourself and your willingness to commit.


Good luck.

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Eva’s Answer

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This is a tricky question. I'd look into exactly what it takes to become a doctor. It's not a short path. Think through that path and if it's one you are on board with doing.


It's true, some people do not have what it takes. Only you will know whether you do or not. You can interpret other peoples' comments as something to prove them wrong or a reality check. It's up to you which case you are in.

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Debra’s Answer

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Ignore the outside and listen to your heart. The heart is your best guide, your north star .

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