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Should I Be A Doctor?

In our society, being a doctor still offers great prestige. One of the main reasons doctors are respected is because they possess a knowledge and skill that the average person does not. Not to mention, this combination of skill and knowledge is often the key to life or death. Nevertheless, both becoming a doctor and being a doctor are not easy. There is a reason why more than half of medical school applicants are rejected every year. Many doctors work long hours in high stress environments while handling difficult patients and making life-altering decisions daily.

If what I mentioned above is all you know about being a doctor, then you probably have not done enough research to make an informed decision. If you’re a college student or younger and you think you want to go to medical school, you need to ask yourself numerous self-reflective questions to answer the ultimate question, “Should I be a doctor?” In the rest of this article, I provide a long list of questions you should ask yourself (and answer honestly) before you fully commit to becoming a physician.

Most important questions:

1. Are you a hard worker?

2. Do you have the intellectual capacity?

3. Are you passionate about helping people?

4. Are you passionate about learning?

5. Would you enjoy learning about medicine?

6. Are you willing to go to school for 4 more years (if you’re in college) and training for at least 3 more?

7. Do you have good interpersonal skills?

8. Do you want to specifically use science to help others?

9. Do those who are closest to you think that you will be a good doctor?

10. Can you handle a position of authority?

11. Do you work well in a team?

12. Are you humble?

13. Are you willing to ask others for help?

14. Are you willing to put others’ needs above your own?

15. Are you prepared to deal with difficult doctors?


Not as important questions but important nonetheless

16. Are you a leader?

17. Are you good at solving problems?

18. Are you mentally and emotionally strong?

19. Do you enjoy or at least appreciate research?

20. Do you know that being a doctor is not the best way to make a lot of money?

21. Are you ready to handle patients of all different types?

22. Do people like you?

23. Do you enjoy studying?

24. Would you want to be a doctor even if no one pressured you to do so?

25. Do you like being needed?

26. Do you like mysteries?

27. Are you okay with uncertainty?

28. Are you aware that you will probably end up accidently killing at least one of your patients?

29. Is healthcare the only thing you can imagine yourself doing?

30. Are you ready to see tons of sick and dying people?

31. Can you handle the sight of blood?

32. Can you handle the gross aspects of the human body?

33. Do you work well under pressure?

34. Are you motivated/ambitious?

35. Are you trustworthy?

36. Can you organize your thoughts properly?

37. Are you able to cope with unfortunate and unwanted events?

38. Are you good at managing your time?

39. Are you aware that you’ll be paying off debts for a long time?

If the majority of your answers were yes, then the answer to the question “should I be a doctor” is most likely yes as well.

Edward Chang

Edward Chang is the Co-founder and Director of Operations of He graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a urology resident at the University of Washington. He also attended UCLA as an undergraduate, graduating with a major in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. If you are interested in contributing to, please contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EdwardChangMD and Prospective Doctor @ProspectiveDr.

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