I was only five when I first said I wanted to be a doctor, and my passion for becoming a physician has not wavered since. I earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Davis and a medical degree from Ross School of Medicine.
I worked full-time to pay for college and volunteered in different health care settings before entering medical school. However, my dream of being a practicing physician has been crushed after earning a medical degree in 2009. After a thousand job applications, excluding residency applications, I only had one job interview for a research assistant at the Stanford School of Medicine, one week before I became homeless.
With research, publication and volunteering in clinics, I still had no residency and more than $300K in student loans. Again, I was unemployed for two years but did not let residency program rejections crush my passion. After thousands of job applications, and just before my last unemployment check, in December 2013, I received one interview for a medical assistant (MA) teacher assistant. Yes, only one interview and for a teacher assistant position, while holding a medical degree. Now I am working as an assistant professor for basic science.
For several years, we have been told there is a “shortage of doctors” in the U.S. and yet there are thousands of American doctors who are unemployed or barely making it through life. Holding a medical degree without a license has negatively affected many of us and our loved ones – socially, emotionally, mentally and financially.