You Don’t Have to Be a Doctor

Says my mom. This during another lengthy debate concerning the pros and cons of becoming one. And since registration for second year isn’t a declaration of marriage, I’ve flirted a bit with various career options in the medical field.

My first go around was this spring. Lilacs a’ bloomin’ and sun a’ shinin’ and a PhD a’ smilin’. What’s so alluring about the whole gig? I pictured falling in love with…

-No STEP or shelf exams

-Making science happen

-Finding the cure for cancer

-Analyzing data from home (it’s a no-no to bring your patients home)

-Writing Dr. on checks and what not

And just as I was looping the P h D beside my imaginary lab pseudonym, Allie Einstein, (some long lost, medically-minded cousin of the late and great), reality set in.

In reality, it was me that was sitting. My chair across a desk belonging to the first year curriculum director. When I asked if she’d do it all over, Dr. B expressed great contentment in teaching yet longed for the flexibility of an MD. Some sort of glass ceiling rises between writing anatomy books and teaching pathology and treatment options. As for her stress, papers are just as all-consuming. Research is fun but dwindling NIH funds make a clinical fall back desirable.

But before abandoning my springfling, I consulted another PhD, a biochemist in the pharmaceutical industry. She’s wonderfully brilliant and stylish and accessible. Before working from home, fifteen years of paper-ing and bench working earned her flexibility. Mentally, my usefulness-to-society age jumped from 29 to 35… And so I left my lab/castle in the clouds with its hypothetical Nobel Prize, off to discover the next best career.


Well, it seemed like a good idea in Photoshop…


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