This is why I love being a physician assistant:
I was pre-med for three years and completed my prerequisites as an undergraduate at the University of Washington in Seattle.
I graduated with a bachelor's of science degree in Zoology.
While working at the campus health center as a phlebotomist, I met a physician assistant. I chose the PA career because I wanted to work in family practice and after working alongside doctors for several years I no longer envied their lifestyle. For me, PA was a perfect fit.
As a physician assistant, I get to do most of what the doctors do but did not have to complete a residency. I took out half the student loans, I don't pull call, and I can be a dad to my two kids and a husband to my wife. These are my greatest joys in life. But these are words of a man who is 35 and has found his calling.
It sounds to me like you are on the right track. I would suggest (if you haven't already) to start collecting some health care experience. This will ground you and give you the patient care experience you need to be successful: both as an applicant and in making your decision between PA and MD.
Med school teaches you how to memorize and regurgitate medical facts, life will teach you how to be a great doctor, or in your case, a wonderful pediatrician.
Nothing is better than the joy of treating children. It is one of my greatest pleasures I have at my job and continues to be one of the main reasons I have remained in my current position for ten years.
I applied for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship while in PA school and was accepted into the program during my second year. They paid all my student loans and gave me a $1,000 monthly stipend while I was completing the program. Upon graduation, my wife and I relocated to a small community clinic in Greenfield, CA where I have served since.
It is a wonderful family practice. As the saying goes - from the cradle to the grave.
A career in medicine is the most rewarding career in the world. If you love people (pediatricians treat adults as well, they are called parents) and you love medicine, you will be very happy with your decision.
Doctors have demanding schedules, extremely long hours and medical school is one of the toughest experiences you will both love and hate. After four years of medical school, you must still complete your internship and residency, and possibly a fellowship. It's a long and arduous road.
To be a great doctor, one must dedicate her life to the calling. I knew after two months as a PA student living in the hospital, sleeping 3-4 hour per night and living under halogen lights wondering about things (like the sun) that I would never have been able to make this into a lifestyle.
Of course, I know many a doctor who would have it no other way.
I am available if you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line. I wish you the best as you begin your journey. Also, I had two college counselors tell me a career in medicine was not feasible for me. I am so proud to have proved them wrong.
Loss and setbacks are part of the journey, maybe the most important part, but they are not bad words. If you want it badly enough, I am confident that you can reach any goal you hope to accomplish!
Stephen Pasquini PA-C