Leaving Medical School (May, 2005)


I've answered this question over and over again in the past few months. In a nutshell, here's the answer:

It wasn't until I got into medical school at Nevis that I began to realize what I'd gotten myself into. Frustratingly, I had spent much time in research and prayer, and thought that this was the right direction for my family and me. I even talked to a friend who was a doctor and was convinced that it would not be a problem to do with my family. But the further I got into it, the more I realized that I was wrong.

PLEASE NOTE: I'm not talking about the classes. With God's blessing, I excelled in all of my classes. I not only maintained my perfect 4.0 average in all my classes, but also had the highest grade in every single class I took at MUA. Not only that, I also took the MCAT (the test that keeps many people out of U.S. medical schools) a year early (I had not finished 6 of the 8 classes you are supposed to complete before taking it!), and, for all practical purposes, I aced it! My GPA and MCAT score virtually guaranteed me acceptance into dozens of medical schools across the nation. (I know, I know: I'm definitely blowing my own horn, here. It's my inflated ego that just wants to make it clear that I didn't "flunk out," or quit because it was too hard for me to do).

The problem I had was the schedule. By nature, I am a workaholic, and if I'm not specifically careful, I will neglect (and have neglected) my time with my family, for work and school. It was with this caution in mind that I became more and more convinced that a doctor's schedule would place unacceptable demands against my time with my family. Between medical school, clinicals, and residency, it became apparent that I would not see my family for much of the next 8 years. For example, a law has recently been passed mandating that medical residents cannot work more than 75 hours per week--that's still more than six 12-hour shifts each week!! (My residency would have been be 4-6 years long). In short, I would not be able to spend much time with my family until Toby was 18 years old!

That's when we decided to change gears. As it ends up, the average dentist has a much more family-friendly schedule than the average doctor, and would require almost the same pre-med classes that I had taken so far. Thus I began to pursue dentistry as an efficient alternative use of my schooling so far.

It was at this time that my father-in-law was looking into buying a dental lab, and asked if I would manage it for him, instead of going to dental school. All things considered, this seemed to be a good move. I would ultimately wind up making less money, but would have an immediately stable schedule with my family. In the end, I would rather make one tenth as much money and have ten-times as much time with my family, than to be wealthy and never see my family. Thus, I began to manage (and learn) the dental lab business.

I'm still not sure how I made the apparent mistake of starting medical school. I still kick myself for the money and time wasted on this pursuit. Still, I wonder if we won't find out some day that God had some purpose in mind, that we haven't discovered yet. Whatever happens, I will do my best to be a faithful family man, and follow God's leading to the best of my ability.

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