Like all other high school seniors at the time, I had succumbed to the stresses of college application season. With this, I had horrible headaches that caused me to vomit incessantly. Although migraines are common, I did not know what they were and could not find the root cause for it. Mine were a bit abnormal since I would get them while sleeping; this intrigued my doctors, so they referred me to a neurologist. I watched intently as the neurologist had me go through a few tests. The multitude of wires connected to my head and all of the wavy lines on the monitor fascinated me. This is where the seed for my interest in the brain had emerged. After this, I decided to take more brain-related courses in high school such as Psychology, Sociology, and Anatomy and Physiology. My love for the brain grew and officially blossomed into me deciding that I want to pursue medicine. Not because my parents wanted me to, but because I hope to treat brain diseases and educate myself more on this complex body part.

The reason for why I was so stressed was because I did not want to fail my parents. I sought to get into a university that would allow me to attain the finest pre-med experience.

I now began to see medicine as something I wanted to pursue for myself. However, it is not always this easily laid out for pre-med students. It takes time to learn to cope with the stress.

While on our journey to Medical school, we are asked the question, “Why do you want to become a doctor?” a myriad of times. Whether that question is coming from a Medical school application or simply from a friend, the answer usually ends with “…because I know it would make my parents proud.” This is a very common answer. However, it should not be the only driving incentive to want to go to Medical school. Here are a few ways to make sure the reason you plan to become a doctor is not simply for your parents, but also to ensure your own happiness in your life.

Specialization

Some kids think that by following the path that their parents have laid out for them, they do not have a choice in regards to their own future. However, this is not the case. Within medicine, there are many specialties that one can choose from. Here, you can take control and specialize in a specific field that interests you. I would recommend that you do some shadowing and gain clinical experience before picking a specialty; this will increase the chances of you enjoying your medical experience and the specialty field that you will choose.

Personal Experiences

It is also very common for medical students to have a personal experience that pushes them towards this field. For some individuals, a family member with a disease could possibly encourage them to further educate themselves on the condition, and perhaps even specialize in that field. For others, it could be a condition that they themselves have encountered. Personal experiences can become reasons for people to want to learn more about a specific bodily structure or function, which in turn, leads the individual to want to help others the way their doctors helped them. In order to be more inclined to want to pursue medicine, you can think of a personal event that pertains to medical conditions that drives you towards this field. This will also help in ensuring that you will enjoy your occupation as a physician.

Self-satisfaction

The feeling after successfully treating a patient, and seeing the look on the patient’s face after is beyond satisfying. It is incomparable to any other form of success because you just saved a person’s life. Not many people in the world can say that their occupation allows them to give back to their community by cheating the natural course of human illnesses. Not many people can change the lives of so many people in a given day. Not many people can help the sick and needy. Doctors can. With this, comes a great rush of happiness that will continue to come for as long as the doctor practices.

These should help give you a stronger reason to want to continue to pursue medicine. There are many driving factors for why students want to pursue medicine; you are not limited to the ones discussed earlier. Though if any of the methods above apply to you, then you know that you are pursuing medicine with the right drive. Medical school is not easy. Having the pressure of your parents’ expectations on you can make it harder because you obviously would not want to disappoint them. This is why finding an interesting branch of medicine can be helpful. It can become another driving force towards your career path. Furthermore, the best physicians are those that are happy with what they are doing. You will come to realize that in medicine, being happy is an inevitable consequence. Yes, there will be times where medicine can fail you; however, every loss can be seen as a lesson. This way, you can ensure that the next patient with this condition will be cured.

When it comes to parental pressures, it is almost impossible to completely circumvent them. Instead, you should find ways to cope with the stresses and perhaps use it to your advantage. For me, I like to use the stress as my motivation to work harder. I go to my parents directly and communicate my feelings to them. They almost always respond with a supportive answer or one that reassures the method of respect discussed earlier. Parents want to see their kids be successful. Do not take this as stress; take this as encouragement. Medical school is not a piece of cake and you will need all of the support you can get from your friends and family. Getting that support is not difficult if you use the methods above to drive you, and see the stress from your parents as them caring for you. With your family as a support system, you can be a very successful medical student.

When being asked about why you chose medicine, your answer should have multiple reasons. It is okay for one of those reasons to be because of your parents; however, it should not be the chief reason. You should be pursuing medicine because you want to, not because of anyone else. Overall, becoming a doctor requires dedication and the desire to want to help people. Being happy should be number one and by implementing the methods discussed above, you will be more inclined to want to pursue medicine because of your own wishes rather than anyone else’s.