Bad Mistakes, I've Made A Few (Part I)

Posted: 05.11.06 in Blogging

I was thinking last night about the wrong decisions I have been making.

It started while at school. I was 16 and I was choosing my subjects to take at A Level. I was dead-set on becoming a doctor. I was doing well in the subjects required – namely the sciences – and I believed I would enjoy it. The Careers service sent me to a Doctor’s surgery for work experience. It was a waste of time. When the practice manager had something planned for me, I was mostly shadowing the doctors at the surgery. Otherwise I was left to my own devices. I tried to make myself useful, so all that I could do with no objection from the owners was filing. I did not learn anything other than all patients’ records had to be stored in fire-proof containers by law.

I had been looking at University prospectuses already by this time, and all of them wanted Chemistry, and usually another science-based subject. Other than that, it was my own free choice. So I chose Chemistry, Double Mathematics (which is Mathematics and Further Mathematics) and French.

The Careers Advisor at the school then hunted me down while doing my work experience, and he told me that I must do Biology. It transpired that I need not have done Biology, but I was keen to follow his recommendations, as undoubtedly he has more experience in Careers advice than I. It was unfortunate and a little disheartening that I could not take French at A Level: I had already spent my “school prize” money on a book on French verb conjugations.

I don’t think I had ever been encouraged to become a doctor. Everyone was keen to enforce the negatives, and there were many. I did not need to research the process, as it was fed to me ever since I uttered “when I grow up I want to become a doctor”:

  • “It’ll be seven years before you start earning money…”
  • “When you qualify, you’ll be spending most of your time working – sometimes in 36 hour shifts…”
  • “Wouldn’t like to think of all that debt you’ll be in by the time you qualify…”
  • “Doctors get very little time for themselves. They don’t often get holidays. Even when they do get time off, they are usually on-call…”
  • “If you marry, it is likely you will marry another doctor, and there is a very high percentage of divorce rates…”
  • “Doctors often suffer from high blood pressure and stress, and there is a high proportion of suicides amongst doctors…”

The latter two came from my Careers Advisor. Three months into the A Level courses, I decided against Medicine, and opted for Mathematics.

  1. weiran says:

    Woah, firstly very bold theme you’ve got here!

    Secondly, what made you choose Maths over Medicine?

  2. Steve says:

    Firstly, I was feeling bold at the time… I tried making a chocolate theme before, but it looked horrible.

    Secondly, I enjoyed Maths, and I was good at it. If I had gone ahead with Medicine, I would have been going head-first into a tunnel of which I had been told is not a very nice tunnel to go through. Seemed an easy decision in the end. Don’t know whether it’s the right one…

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