Save Lives or Money

March 19, 2017


I get a lot of flak for majoring in neuroscience because if I don’t get into medical school, there’s not a lot of things to do with a bachelor’s degree in this field. Also, I don’t have a backup plan if I don’t get into medical school. When I told one of my relatives what I wanted to do, he asked, “Do you want to save lives or make a whole lot of money?” I’ve never been asked this, and it took me a while to respond. Eventually I answered that I want to save lives, and he left the subject alone.

What bothers me though is how long it took me to answer. If I’m really set on becoming a doctor, I should have immediately said that I wanted to save lives right? So really the question is why did I even decide to take the medicine route, and more specifically, set my goal of becoming a psychiatrist?

Throughout my entire life, I’ve always been interested in disorders. I remember looking up anorexia, bulimia, etc. simply because I wanted to know what those disorders were. It intrigued me; I wanted to know what was going inside their head. It wasn’t until high school that I began thinking about psychiatry as a career choice.

A few of my acquaintances confided in me some very dark secrets about their lives. I learned some had been sexually abused and had a friend tell me she was raped. I learned that others struggled with depression and had attempted suicide multiple times. Once I had to call the police because my friend had purposely overdosed. On a completely unrelated note, I placed first in Behavioral Health without much studying for my HOSA competition.

All of these events made me think that my calling includes something to do with psychological disorders. Still, I have doubts about my decision. I know that the path of medicine is incredibly difficult (mentally and physically) and will cost a lot of money. I understand that a degree in neuroscience will require me to get a MD and/or PhD, which means I’ve have to do lot of schooling in order to have a decent salary (10+ years).

I truly wonder if it’s worth my time.

But why was I told these painful secrets? Why did I place in a competition that I didn’t really study for? I feel like I have to do something, make life a little bit better for those suffering from these invisible illnesses. That’s why I desired to be a psychiatrist in the first place.


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