I think one of the mistakes that I made when deciding to go to medical school was that I really didn’t know what to expect. I did the volunteer thing, I worked in hospitals, I transported patients, and I tried to shadow physicians as much as possible.
One thing was different, though. At the end of my “shift”, I went home. I didn’t really get to see what it was like to be a physician. At least not until I was junior medical student. It all became pretty clear at that point.
You need to realize that medicine isn’t simply a job. For the most part, it’s a lifestyle. You need to be ready to accept that if you plan on seriously pursuing medicine. Simply put, I wasn’t ready to give up my life for that.
With the exception of very few specialties, you’ll have to field pagers and phone calls after your normal work day is over. You’ll sacrifice weekends to round on patients that were admitted to the hospital, and you’ll have to get up out of bed at some ungodly hour to take care of someone no matter how tired you are.
Ask yourself if that’s where you want to be in 20 or 30 years, because unless you get really lucky you’ll still need that paycheck at the end of the month. If you love what you’re doing, it’s icing on the cake. But remember that even too much cake will get very old after many long, hard years.