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Concerns About Studying Science vs Medicine at University


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Hi all,

 

I know this is a long post, so I have put the detail in the 'quote' box below if anyone wants to skip it.

 

I am nearing the end of high school and so, among all the other stresses I face at the moment, I need to decide what I will do at university next year. I love science, biology and chemistry (I suppose biochemistry) in particular, and am doing very well with my final grades. So, fortunately and unfortunately, there are a lot of doors open to me.

 

 

So, after that rant, my question is this; what careers (if any) exist within medicine that have a strong scientific base and will be challenging for someone in my position? I am not really concerned about pay (though the more the merrier as they say) and, unlike most potential medical students, do not mind if I have direct contact with patients or not (i.e. I am fine with working in a laboratory).

 

I know I could not be a GP (the job strikes me as repetitive) and surgery seems a bit daunting. However I would love to hear suggestions from anybody, and advice from people who work in medicine (or have contact with people who do) would be really appreciated.

 

Basically I am feeling pretty lost at the moment – but hopefully this will prompt me to consider other options and maybe lead me into something I would not have thought about before.

 

Thanks,

 

Virgil

 

P.S. Out of interest, would doing a medical degree allow me to go into research later if I so desired (and would thus allow me to open more doors without making concrete decisions yet)?

 

P.P.S. Once again, sorry for the long post.

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Hi Virgil,

If you are interested in research, you may want to check out university labs. Research in private companies tends to be more monotonous; they tend to focus more on a very narrow range of problems, while professors pretty much have the freedom to study whatever question they find interesting. I would imagine you would find their work much more 'inspired'. Heck, research is where all the great scientific discoveries come from, so of course not every lab will be doing uninsipired work.

 

I also don't understand at all why your teacher said research would be a waste of your potential. Sure, it may bore you if you don't have the temperament for it, but did Einstein waste his potential by doing research?

 

As far as going into medicine, all fields of medicine have a strong scientific base. I would imagine any area could be challenging, even for the brightest individuals. It depends on how hard you push yourself.

 

You can indeed go into research with an M.D., but it's somewhat more difficult. You don't get the training in research that a Ph.D. student does, which is why M.D./Ph.D. programs were created for people interested in doing medical research. It's a really long road though, so you should be very sure that's what you want before you go the M.D./Ph.D. route.

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hi - i'll try to write a longer response later, however.... my first thought is since you are still in high school, you have many years ahead to get your goals more clear. whether you want to be a doctor or not or do medical research, what you study as an undergrad will be the same. just sign up for classes, and maybe get some summer internships so you can get a better idea of what you do or don't want to do. you have several years to decide.

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In short, do medicine.

 

You can still pursue a conjointed Medicine/Science career if you did medicine, but you can't do medicine if you went into science.

 

Eg. MBChB w/ BMedSC (Hons) and go on to do PhD.

 

But if you went BSC you don't have the option to do med.

 

Plus u would be way more respected as a scientist if you came from a medicine background.

 

Easy.

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I was going to say you could go the MD/PhD route, although it's a very long road. I work in a lab and there are a few people here with an MD/PhD. In that, they have clinic a few times a week and then spend the rest of the time in the lab doing research. You also don't need to get a PhD, just perhaps enter into a field in a research hospital? There are plenty of MD's who do research on the side.

 

Since you are not even in College yet, go for a science major, biochem or something to that effect. That as an undergrad will prepare you for medical school or graduate school. Perhaps try and work in a research lab during college, get a feel for being in the environment and see if it's something you could see yourself doing. You have lots of time to figure this out, good luck

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Hi Virgil,

 

I also don't understand at all why your teacher said research would be a waste of your potential. Sure, it may bore you if you don't have the temperament for it, but did Einstein waste his potential by doing research?

 

Boy, if he said that back to the teacher that would've been great! lol. You can tell the teacher didn't think that one through, unless your like a violin prodigy or something like that. Anyways, research is definitely something where you have to have the drive and passion behind your work, because it could very well be a life long objective if you really want to achieve it. Your work environment certainly would influence that, so having the right colleagues is important also. Researching for a university is your best bet. I either wanted to go the research scientist route or the engineering route. I pick the engineering route because of the creative aspect.

 

 

“Scientists investigate that which already is;

Engineers create that which has never been.''

~Albert Einstein

 

However, I have to question the accuracy of this quote, because if a scientist developed a cure for cancer, wouldn't that be something which has never been? aha!

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In short, do medicine.

 

You can still pursue a conjointed Medicine/Science career if you did medicine, but you can't do medicine if you went into science.

 

Eg. MBChB w/ BMedSC (Hons) and go on to do PhD.

 

But if you went BSC you don't have the option to do med.

 

Plus u would be way more respected as a scientist if you came from a medicine background.

 

Easy.

 

Good response, go with this. It's like in business where certified accountants can get all the jobs Business Administrators can plus more that they can't.

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