One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is: How/Why did you change your career path from electrical engineering to medicine? To be honest, the answer isn’t very straightforward. There were lots of ups and downs during my journey through engineering. Lots of sleepless nights contemplating my future and the right career for me. Ultimately, I know that I made the best decision for myself by going into medicine. This is my story.
I knew I wanted to become a doctor since I was 9 years old. During high school, however, I developed a strong interest in electronics, software, and design. I was THAT girl who carried a TI-89 calculator in one hand and a calculus book in the other (proud math nerd here!) Math seemed to come natural to me and I truly enjoyed solving complex mathematical problems. In college I took a chance and decided to major in electrical engineering while taking pre-medical classes at the same time. I wanted to figure out which path was right for me since I was interested in both engineering and medicine. Engineering also became my backup plan just in case I didn’t get into med school (it was also a secret hope of mine to work for Google).
In order to fit in all my required engineering classes and med school prerequisites, I took between 18-21 credits per semester along with extra summer courses every year. After class, I’d work as a research assistant and an engineering Teaching Assistant. On the weekends I’d volunteer at a local hospital and studied for the MCAT. It took a lot of planning but thankfully I finished college in 4 years with a bachelor’s degree in engineering while completing all of my pre-med coursework at the same time.
Engineering was incredibly challenging and mentally stimulating, but my heart was always in medicine. To be completely honest, I started to become burnt out during the end of my engineering days. As much as I loved solving math problems and designing cool electrical circuits, I just felt like engineering wasn’t my calling. I felt unfulfilled with the work I was doing and the materials I was studying. This solidified my decision to become a physician instead. The day I got into medical school was one of the happiest days of my life! I am still very grateful for the experiences I had while in engineering school. I learned so much about critical thinking, analytic skills, and multitasking — which I still apply every day as a physician.
The purpose of this post isn’t to boast, but to hopefully inspire/motivate others to go out there and follow their dreams, no matter how impossible or ridiculous it may seem. ANYTHING is possible — you just have to commit to it! I can’t tell you how many doubters I’ve had during my journey who tried to bring me down. But at the same time I had a solid support system who believed in me and I couldn’t have done it without them.
I’m planning on writing more about my engineering-to-medicine experience, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s a little throwback from my engineering days:
Let me know what questions you have and if you’d like to know more!