Medical School Introduction: Sacrifices of Being a Doctor

The medical school introduction covers the most important reasons against medical school. If you can overcome the objections, medical school could be in your future.

Most likely, if you are reading this, you are considering to be a doctor. Maybe this is what you want, or what your parents want for you. Either way, before you plunge in, it would be wise to find out what you are getting yourself into.

When I was first considering medical school, I tried to find as many pros and cons as possible. I browsed forums, read blogs, and talked to people to get their perspectives on their experience as medical students.

This is what I found:

Most doctors were happy that they went through medical school, but they would not want to do it all over again. Surprisingly, there were even a few doctors who felt it was not worth it. The two main arguments against medical school are its price in money and its price in time.

Medical School Will Cost You a Pretty Penny (One Made of Pure Gold)

The first major cost is money.

Medical school is very expensive. In fact, most of America’s post-high school education is very expensive, and medical school is one of them. As of now, medical tuition per year (not including living expense) is between $30,000 to $50,000. Most, such as Harvard Medical School, are private and therefore would cost around $50,000 per year. The state schools, such as UMDNJ, would cost $30,000 per year.

The numbers above are just for tuition. If the living expense, such as rent, transportation, and food, are included in the equation, the cost per year is much higher. It is not uncommon for medical school students to graduate with over $200,000 in educational debt. I would probably graduate with about $200,000 in student loans.

total Harvard Medical School cost for 2011 - 2012

total Harvard Medical School cost for 2011 – 2012

A screen shot of Harvard Medical School’s website detailing the projected cost for one year is shown above. I did the math for you. The total for one year is $73,000. Now if you multiply that number by four, for the total years in medical school, the cost is quite large.

Medical School Will Suck Away Your Time

The second major cost is time.

There is a large amount of information to memorize on your path to doctorhood. Some people describe it as drinking from a gushing fire hydrant. The flow of information is unrelenting.

To swallow all that information takes a lot of time. You can expect to study 8 to 12 hours every day. It is very common for medical students, including myself, to study past 10:00 PM.

medical school introduction - drinking from a fire hose

Mr. Onionhead is experiencing the pains of drinking from a fire hose. Welcome to medical school.

Some of my classmates spend all their waking hour in the library. Although I do not do so, it is also common for medical students to pull one or more all-nighters in preparation for an upcoming exam.

Think Long and Hard Before Attending Medical School

If you are willing to pay the high price in terms of money and time, medical school could be for you. But remember, if you continue down the path, you will find it is hard to go back. There may be times you may want to quit, but you can’t. The cost is just too high. You would have invested too much money and too much time.

Click on the links below if you are interested in more introductory information regarding medical school. They’ll give you additional insight about what you can expect.

More Articles to Help You Decide

How Long is Medical School?
Medical school and the subsequent residency will take a long time to complete. Find out exactly how long being a doctor will take and determine if you can pay the cost in terms of time.

A Day in Medical School (Second Year): Wish You Were Here
This is one day in the beginning of my second year of medical school. As you will see, it is not fun and games at all, but a lot of hard work. See how I begin my day before 8:00 AM and end around midnight.

Doctors’ Diaries: 7 People’s Journey from Medical School to Doctorhood
In this section, I introduce you to a documentary I watched before I entered into medical school. Doctors’ Diaries reveals the journey of seven people as they go from Harvard Medical School to becoming physicians. They share how their lives progressed once they are doctors and if becoming a doctor is worthwhile in the end. I highly recommend that you see this if you are thinking about becoming a doctor.

Is Being a Doctor Worth It Financially? Not as Much as You May Think
This section explores if it is worth it to be a doctor or not, from a monetary point of view. If you consider the cost of medical school and the low salary as a resident, is being a doctor better than being an average college graduate? The answer may be shocking.

A Woman’s Hidden Sacrifice to Become a Doctor
Ladies, read this! Medicine may be more than what you have bargained for. Ignore this at the expense of your future happiness.

This article is part of the Get into Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about getting accepted into medical school.


  1. Benjamin Duck says:

    What would be the best major to pursue in undergrad to be prepared for medical school?

  2. Hiwot Wondimu says:

    I need full tuition fee scholarship in medicine program. Please help me. Thank you.

  3. ARSHAD AHMED says:

    I am currently completing my 12th Standard from Indian state board and can I quality for the medical course? I am currently Indian national. How does it change if I am Grenada resident?

  4. wow….. I have a dream to marry a lady doctor. Why….. I am a writer… no matter how busy my lady is, I am able to work any where….. even in a war zone or battle field…….. at the same time I have more time for family……..

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