Question:

I really need your advice. Since I was maybe seven or younger I always wanted to be a surgeon, most likely neurosurgery or probably orthopedic surgery. It was an inspiration or motivation I got when I saw lots of kids with more severe medical problems than me. I said to my parents I wanted to do the same that the doctors were doing for me -- changing lives of people medically.

After high school I wanted to go to college for my undergraduate work and then go to medical school, but I haven't been able becauseof my medical health issues. I applied several times to go during different semesters, but I couldn't go because I had to wait for my doctors to figure out what to do next with my condition. I have waited two years now and I'm getting a little discouraged of chasing my dreams. I'm 21 and you know how they say at a certain age it's too late to become a doctor, or even go to medical school. How will God feel if I gave up? I know Jesus Christ knows what future I will have. My parents tell me I was born to save peoples lives or change them, like it's a gift from God. But will something bad happen if I give up and choose another career like maybe owning a skateboard shop? (My favorite hobby is skateboarding.) Should I still aim for medical school?


Answer:

The reason older students are discouraged from entering medical school is because they won't have a long enough career to pay back the loans typically incurred while going to school. But you are not close to that age yet.

What you do with your life is your decision. I can't make it for you, nor can your parents. If you are truly interested in the medical field, I would suggest that you get involved in it. For example, have you considered being a physician's assistant or a nurse practitioner? The schooling required is not nearly as long. The pay is less, but you get to do many of the duties that typically fall to doctors and you don't have the liabilities that a doctor has to pay insurance for. You could also consider nursing, which again takes less schooling and is a job in high demand.

Even if you decide to go for a lesser degree, the option remains to move up at a later point if you so desire.

If you lost interest in the medical field -- and such things do happen when you are maturing into an adult, then that is fine. No one is forced into holding on to past dreams. If you want to own a shop, then get a business degree because there is a lot you need to know about to be successful in a business.

The hard part is making a decision at your age. The world is open to you and there are too many choices and not enough time to pursue them all. But first, take care of yourself so that you can do what you want later. Even while you are between surgeries, fit as much schooling in as you can, even if it is general courses at a community college. At least that will keep you sharp.