Which seat do I take?

By Rahul Nachnani | Blogger | SQ Online (2013-14)

IT’S FRID- oh wait, no. It’s Wednesday. Unfortunately, Rebecca Black’s infamous chorus can’t help us for another two days. But until then, we can look at another one of the lyrics.
“Which seat do I take?”
I don’t know, Rebecca. Honestly, in the music video, that car looked pretty full.

Imagine that car is UCSD, or even the world. Now imagine that those five strange kids in the car of the Rebecca Black video were all the pre-meds in the world. That car looks much more full now, right? That car is filled with the typical, ambitious, sometimes cutthroat, sometimes brilliant, always sleep-deprived students who aspire to be doctors. That car can intimidate, and sometimes even scare off aspiring young students from becoming health care professionals. All of those scared students and many more must be thinking “How am I ever going to get noticed? How will I ever get into medical school? I thought pre-med was the only way to go into the health field? Doesn’t everyone need doctors? Why do they make it so hard? I don’t even want to be a doctor anyway, I want to help people!”

Let’s look at that last one. When I was a wee little lad, I thought that every doctor was someone like my mom- she sees patients every day, and those patients are normally diabetic, obese, afflicted with high blood pressure and cholesterol (in accordance with the neighborhood she worked in) and very sick. This is what a family practice physician does. This is what I thought all doctors did, and I thought all of them got there the same way. I thought that every doctor went to undergrad, med school, residency and then woo-hoo, that new doctor now gets to save lives! Little did I know, the field of medicine is bigger than everyone makes it out to be. People have different kinds of health problems, and for every person with a problem there is at least one health profession to try and help that person have a better life. There is not only the type of doctor that sees people with widespread afflictions such as obesity and diabetes. Just as there are more types of doctors than the one who sees sick patients, there are more ways to becoming a doctor than just going through undergrad, med school, residency, and then woo-hoo, being a doctor.

Later in this blog I will explore all these different career paths that are different from the “normal” pre-meds (honestly we’re all pretty abnormal) who want to become general doctors or general surgeons. I want to do this because I was in the dark about what I wanted to do with my life for a long time. All I knew was that I was passionate about helping people and passionate about medicine. I eventually found out my interest of being an atypical doctor through exploring different specialties, looking at different career paths, and lots and lots of Googling. I discovered, over the course of around 4 years, that I wanted to do research and practice medicine at the same time through being an MD-PhD. By writing about my process and the information I have gleaned, I hope to show you all that there is more to being a doctor and those who are disappointed at the “lack of options” will soon be aware that there are more options for you than you thought!