Why Quitting Medical School Is The Rational Choice For Me

Medical school is a long journey comprising two phases, pre-clinical phase where students learn the knowledge of medicine and the clinical phase where we are trained to be a doctor. Students graduating from the pre-clinical years with Bachelor of Medicine title then continue to the clinical phase to be a doctor. Most students did this path when entering medical school, however students from the pre-clinical phase could continue their study to Master degree instead of being a doctor.

A month ago I was graduating as a Bachelor of Medicine from my university, I was on the first batch to graduate along with most of my friends. Three and a half years gone by since I entered medical school for the first time in 2011, hundreds of exams we did together, not to mention countless classes such as Problem Based Learning and Skills Lab. It’s a common fact that studying in medical school is harder than most other major, we study longer, harder, and get lower mark. However, I enjoyed my study during the pre-clinical years with watching movies 2-3 times a week, dining out most of the night, and reading books unrelated to medical school.

I like studying medicine, but that’s not how I prioritise my time. I use half of my free time reading self-improvement books and investing books (stock market related, usually), and the other half studying for exams. It worked for me, 270 books and 24 medical cycles later I graduated with GPA 3.36 and a hunger for more knowledge about investing and self-improvement. I might just be a motivator.

I did stock trading since the second year of medical school and it excites me, through the winning and losing, I learned and improve my strategy. As time goes by I was more interested in looking and analysing companies to invest in rather than learning the life cycle of malaria protozoa. Simply, I study medicine to satisfy my curiosity and willingness to have a basic medical knowledge so that I know what to do when emergency situation struck. Since high school I think it is rather cool to know what to do and act in emergency situation rather than stand on the side and call 911.

The thought of quitting medical school never came to me on my first three years of medical school. The ideas come up when I realised I was passionate when talking about investment rather than diseases. I was more excited when the market open than a patient coming.

Before the graduation in April I did two clinical phase in the hospital, neurology and oral health. Neurology was quite interesting, however I can’t imagine myself being a doctor and treating patients. I am interested in the knowledge but I couldn’t care less to take care of patients, I had very little empathy. Looking back the past 3 months I realised how miserable my life was, I had to wake up in the morning without willingness to seize the day.  I had no time to do what I love to do which is trading stocks and reading, I spent most of my time in hospital doing unproductive work for my future. That’s when I know I have to do something to change my situation, what’s the point in living if you can’t feel alive, right?

I know few of my friends having the same situation I had and couldn’t do anything about it. One of them manage to quit as I do and pursue his interest. However most students are stuck in their position and the only way is through medical school, due to social pressure and financial issues. Not everyone has the chance I have, but everyone could pursue own’s dream if one is brave enough.

I have an analogy to my situation, you have planned for watching a movie in theatre this evening alone, a movie you think you would like. You arrive at the theatre on time, bought few snacks and soda then entered the studio. The movie is a standard 2 hours film, but when you have spent one hour inside you are uninterested and it is boring. You’ve paid the ticket for a quite sum, not to mention the snacks. What would you do? Would you continue watching until finish or get out of the studio?

There’s two approach in answering the question, first you have spent some time watching the movie, with the cost you’ve paid (not refundable) it would be logical to stay sit and watch until it finish, after all it’s your decision to watch, right? That’s how people who rely on emotion would think. The second approach is in investigating the possibility of quitting, perhaps you could get out and take a walk in the park, meet new people, watch the sunset, or simply entertaining yourself at your favourite cafe. Yes, you waste an hour and ticket price in the process, but you could still enjoy what is possible next. Had you stay inside the theatre, you are wasting two hours instead of one, you feel bad for yourself, and you miss the possibility that could happened in the next hour.

With the same way of thinking, I reflect it on my situation and found the rational answer for me is to quit and pursue the subject I love. Isn’t it predictably irrational world we live in?



About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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5 Responses to Why Quitting Medical School Is The Rational Choice For Me

  1. knowledgeaddiction says:

    First of all, congratulations for your decision, I know it’s hard. What are your plans from now on?

    • agent909 says:

      In two months I will be studying applied finance (MBA course), my passion I found when studying in medical school. Meanwhile I’m trading forex and investing in stocks, trying to earn stable income for living. How about you? Have you apply to physics?

      • knowledgeaddiction says:

        I’m having the final high school exam in about a month so I’m studying hard for that one. After that I’ll apply for electronic engineering. It’s so exciting, I can’t wait 🙂

      • agent909 says:

        That’s great! I think it’s wonderful when you know your passion before graduating high school. When I was graduating high school I didn’t really know what I want to be or what my passion really is, but I know I’m smart and my family is financially sound, so I chose medical school. Three and a half years later I start doubting my choice, whether I’m really living the way I want to and found I didn’t. So I did the rational choice, after I got my bachelor degree I didn’t continue to clinical phase and pursue my interest in investing instead. I hope you really think about the future thouroughly, good luck with your exam!

      • knowledgeaddiction says:

        Thank you and good luck to you too!

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