A Career Change from Engineering to Medicine

At some medical schools in Japan, there’s an admission system that allows students who have already completed their Bachelor’s degree to be placed in higher courses of medicine. This is not a general pathway to become a doctor. Only 5 to 10 people are selected out of 150 to 200 applicants through a wide range of exams including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English, which are all at the level of undergraduate studies in Japan. Some schools are introducing this system which aims to accelerate the fusion of medicine and the previous specialties of applicants. This is valuable because most students enter med-school soon after the graduation of their high school in Japan, while in many countries med-school is positioned as a graduate school.

Three years ago, I made a decision to change my career from engineering to medicine using this opportunity, after having bachelor’s degree and 4-years exposures of software engineering. Why? I have two reasons for this.
For a positive reason, I wanted to follow my curiosity of knowing the mechanisms. I am alway eager to uncover the blind structures and mechanisms of our surroundings including machines, natural phenomenon, and organisms including human. However when I was in a high school, I didn’t choose to go to a medical school, but I thought all the doctors need to have a strong reason and a belief to help peoples’ lives. After having worked as an engineer, it occurred to me that what I want to do is more to pursue than what I should do.
Oppositely for a negative reason, I could not imagine my future as a software engineer who is contributing to the world in a unique way making use of my full of strengths. I came to realize the limit of my capabilities and was becoming just a laborer. After having some interviews with doctors and med-students of friends, I was convinced that there is a regional area where I can exert my uniqueness, progressing between the engineering and the medicine. In addition, the two facts pushed me from my back: that technology is more and more merging into medicine and healthcare, and that our life span is extending enough to explore the second career, which is said in a book LIFE SHIFT.
For those reasons, I could manage to enter the medical school in the 2nd year, and have just finished learning the first half of the basic medicine. However, having passed a year from the entrance, I found myself feeling ambivalent toward my current situation.
Starting from a good point, it is really intriguing to know the structures and mechanism of our body. It has widen my perspective of seeing people, and often surprise me to know how they are designed analogous and precise as if being produced by machines. Also, returning to a student gave me abundant time to allocate what I had wished to do.
On the other hand, I am somewhat dissatisfied with the med-school life in the point of lack of contribution and inefficiency. Suddenly having stopped my works, I can’t help feeling the valuelessness of myself compared to my working friends. Many of them are stepping up their successful careers: some are launching their own startups, some are announcing their great achievements, and some are releasing new products with impact to the society. Every time I see their activities, it comes to my mind and will last for another 4 years.
In addition, medical school’s curriculums are not always optimized for learners. We are confined in a small classroom being absorbed in a bunch of overlapping lectures and trainings, and are expected to attend most of them. They are mostly one-way lecture and focusing on their cutting-edge research, rather than kernels. Furthermore, many students in the early years are not aspired for basic medicine per se because they just came out from high school, often to prove their intelligence without any interests in medicine.
Under these circumstances, I am now trying to make a contribution to the world in a med-student-unique way, in order to make my second university life the best decision for me.
Any comments, questions and advices are welcome below.


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