We were sitting in class all discussing the Powerball and how no one has won yet. Last week the Powerball reached 1.3 billion dollars and we were all discussing what it would be like to win the Powerball. We are all poor medical students so an extra 100 dollars is a big deal for us. I could not even imagine what I would do with 1.3 billion dollars.

An interesting conversation folded amongst a class of fourth-year medical students in regards to the Powerball. We all went around in a circle and discussed what we would do if we won the Powerball. Now, before I go into detail regarding what everyone said, let me just give you a breakdown of what you would receive if you did win. From 1.3 billion dollars the total lump sum that you would get is about 800 million dollars but that is not how much you would really get because there are federal and state taxes which would deduct a couple hundred million. So let’s say you are left with a little under 500 million dollars. 500 million dollars is still a lot of money.

Out of the 20 medical students sitting next to me, a little over a half said that they would probably not practice medicine which surprised me. They said that they might pursue a passion that they would not have time to otherwise. But each of the 10 med students that said they would not practice medicine did say they would finish out the last 6 months of this year to get their degree. This was interesting because I believe that if it was a class of first or second year med students the responses might be different. First, second, and third year are rough years and I think more students would be likely to say that they would give up medicine if they won the lottery. As a fourth year student you have completed all of the hard parts of your education so it makes sense that a fourth year would finish off the year in order to have their degree in hand. The rest of the ten students in my class had different opinions. Half of them said they would definitely finish off fourth year and go on to Residency. The other five students said they were unsure about what they would do and may take some time in between medical school and going back to Residency.

As for myself, I would definitely go on to Residency and practice Medicine. I would take more expensive trips and maybe not work as much since I would have about 500 million dollars to fall back on. But I never went into Medicine for the money although it is a wonderful incentive. So for me, the 1.3 Billion lottery would make my life easier financially and would allow the opportunity to do a lot more but hopefully it would not change my mind about Medicine. Who knows though… maybe everyone thinks this way before they win the lottery?

So, tell us…what would you do?