The general public usually has a somewhat skewed perception of what life after medical school is really like. To start things off, people usually believe medical school is the most difficult time of one’s medical career, or road to one’s medical career. On top of that, there are numerous television shows portraying a comfortable, though oftentimes action and drama-filled, lifestyle of the typical medical professional. However, this particular depiction could not be further from the truth. The true story of life after medical school – residency – is a lot less glamorous… and a lot more real.
The first year of out of medical school, you can expect to do routine rotations either by yourself or with a team consisting of other residency students, upper-level residency supervisors, and doctors. The second year is when you will finally dive deep into your chosen specialty. Furthermore, you will be immersed not only in the books, like what you are – by this point in the journey – very well accustomed to, but also in real-life experience. You will have the opportunity to deal with real-life patients, giving life to everything you have been reading in books and learning in lectures throughout medical school.
As you progress through the minimum of three years of residency, you will notice the pattern of being an observer into being a teacher to newer residency students.
Now, let’s dig deeper into the real life of a typical residency student. A number of residency students are married with kids, while another group of residency students are deprived of a social life – particularly one involving an intimate relationship. In addition, residency students in today’s age earn on average $35,000 to $40,000 a year for the often over 80 hours of work they do every week. Residency students claim this three (or more) year period to be the most challenging point in their road to becoming a medical professional.
However, after all the hard work and sacrificing, and with medical school and residency under their belt, the life of a medical professional is much, much different. Perhaps the most significant difference between the life of a residency student and a medical professional is the dramatic jump in pay scale. Doctors are consistently ranked among the highest paid professionals in the nation.
With all this being stated, the life of a residency student is a necessary, yet undeniably grueling, step in becoming a prestigious medical professional.
As a final note: despite the hardships (some of which have been clearly laid out above), ask any doctor if the journey was worth it… and you’ll like hear something on the lines of… “definitely yes, but I wouldn’t go through it again.”