Why Medicine?

Jan. 9, 2011, 3:49 p.m.

When I first came to Stanford, I found people telling me that being pre-med was the most common thing ‘to be’ on campus. So many of us are planning to go to medical school, in fact, that it begs the question: why?

As a premed myself, I know why: I want to revolutionize the field of medicine. You can read my thought process here. I may change this goal, but feel comfortable enough in my current ambition and my dream.

What I don’t understand is that why so many other pre-meds — so many of my smart peers at this elite university — enter medicine for ‘financial stability’ and ‘because they want to help people.’ These are qualities that could apply to at least a dozen careers in a dozen different industries. They are vague and boring answers that somehow satiate otherwise curious and smart underclassmen.

And this isn’t the case with every premed, I know. There are plenty of premeds I admire for their sense of purpose in this university and their profound, compelling, and nuanced reasoning about why they want to be a doctor. But the fact that so many people choose to answer otherwise concerns me. Such sentiments belie the ‘Die Luft der Freiheit weht’ nature of this university.

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