If one is thinking of attending medical school, they might want to think twice about the grueling journey to becoming a doctor. RVCC’s Pre-med club hosted an event on Tuesday, November 28th, in which a trained medical professional came in to talk to students about college, medical school, studying and most importantly, life lessons.
Dr. Gora, who grew up in Mercer County, New Jersey, has been in practice for 21 years as family physician for Summit Medical Group and has an office located in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Using this experience, she expressed to students that there is so much to do in the field of medicine and that being a doctor is not the only option with the job demand in nursing growing. She explained that being in medicine is a wonderful profession: the security is amazing, and, if she lost her job, she could easily get a position somewhere else.
Most students who pursue the path of becoming a doctor worry the most about student loans from not only college, but from medical school itself. Dr. Gora reassured these worries by telling students students that they will pay off their student debts due to the fact that medical professionals make an exceptional amount of money. On the topic of earning, a question came up as to why some people would even want become a doctor. Dr. Gora reminds students that “if you are in it for the money, then you are in for the wrong reason.” If one wants to become a doctor, they should do so to make a difference and to focus on helping people get well.
Aside from finances, Dr. Gora reflected on her personal experience as a college and medical student. She attended Boston college and received her Bachelor of the Arts degree from there. Once she achieved that status, she took the MCAT, the Medical College Admissions Test, which she said was awful, but she pulled through and scored averagely. Dr. Gora then applied to many medical schools, went in for interviews, and continually tried to reach the next step in the process of becoming a medical expert. Sadly, she did not get accepted to any of the medical schools she applied to. At first, she wondered to herself why this would be: she had the grades, a fair GPA, all of the extra activities, and passed her MCAT despite not studying well for it.
The problem was that most people who applied to medical school had too much in common and were not so unique from each other. If everyone who applied to medical school had great grades, a high GPA, passed the MCAT, and studied under similar majors, then who is more qualified than anyone else? Dr. Gora stated that it is more appealing when someone is a different major (other than science), as this makes an applicant stand out from the rest.
At this point Dr. Gora had to turn the tables. Luckily, she was asked to teach children science in a poor district. She taught biology for a few years and was a director at Robert Wood Johnson for eight. Years later, Dr. Gora reapplied to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She went in for her interview and showed the interviewer pictures of her teaching the kids. This brought the interviewer to tears. After she was accepted, she started medical school, Dr. Gora told students that the first two years of medical school are mainly comprised of lectures, and that one will likely “become a bookworm from all the reading!” The third and fourth years are rotations of practice in multiple stations, such as surgery, an OBGYN, a family practitioner, and many more. The rotations help medical students determine whether they want to be a generalist or a specialist. One cannot be both.
Dr. Gora also talked about the rigorous tests the typical student would take in medical school, such as the MCAT on steroids. On average, a student must study 6 hours a week to have all of the information encrypted in your head for such tests.
After medical school is finished, most people would think they are finished with tests forever. However, every few years, a doctor must take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which are an exam that, if they pass, allows them to remain board-certified. Doctors take the USMLE to not only stay doctors, but also to keep up with the changes in medicine. “Being a doctor, one never stops learning,” Dr. Gora stated. However, It also comes with a price. With all of this testing, there comes hours upon hours of studying which means giving up your cell phone, friends and family events, which can be hard to do. This must be done for success.
Dr.Gora then took the time to answer a student’s question; Why are so many medical students/doctors depressed and suicidal? She explains it easily. If a doctor gets sued for anything, this ultimately means that the doctor's reputation is ruined, even if they are determined not guilty. The doctor who is being sued will still likely lose their job and all of their finances, thus leading them into depression and suicidal behavior. Dr. Gora said that as doctors, when they have patients who are depressed, they usually tell them to go for therapy, and then the patient may have medication prescribed. However, doctors don’t take their own advice.
After hearing about the ups and downs of medicinal life Dr. Gora has been through, she inspires students with the hope that one can get through anything with the right mindset. If the path is lost, then maybe it is meant to be. There is no way to be sure what will happen on this road, but if the ideal to be a help in the medicine community is strong enough, then it will not deter the right people.
Edited by: Evelyn Zizelmann