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Karen Kustedjo kujo at cco.caltech.edu
Wed Nov 26 23:01:08 EST 1997

bjag at ln.nimh.nih.gov (Bharathi Jagadeesh) writes:

>I've been watching a growing trend at my undergraduate school (Caltech)
>over the 10 years since I graduated. When I was an undergraduate there
>(1983-1987), there were about 10-15 biology majors in a class, out of
>200 students in an undergraduate year. Most of the 10-15 were planning
>on graduate school, though there were always a few pre MD, pre MD/PhD

>Now, I hear through the grapevine that nearly 1/2 of the entering
>class (of 200) says that they are pre-med; the biology major has
>grown to 70 students, and many of the chemistry majors are also

>I think we're watching the elite science undergrads realize the
>riskiness of academic research careers, and planning for other less
>risky options (that is, medical school, and careers as physicians).

Is science *really* less risky than being a doctor these days?

I mean, between HMO's taking over (and the for-profit ones stumbling 
horribly on what they are supposed to be good at -- making money (during
the most recent stock market plunge that scared everyone so badly, even
the darling of the group underperformed by ~60% of expectations -- see the
Wall Street Journal for back stories), telling the doctors what to do,
lawsuit risk, and overall the doctors getting paid less and less money for
having gotten themselves into *so* much debt (>US$100-150K), I can't 
imagine it being very pleasant to be a doctor in America these days.  Also,
part of the training (internship) seems to test one's constitution more
than anything else -- expecting interns to make life-and-death decisions
on massive sleep-deprivation.  

Hey, medical schools have been churning out those grads like there's no
tomorrow for much longer than grad schools.  

Sing with me now:
(to the tune of "My Bonnie Rolls Over the Ocean")

...rolls in, rolls in, my god how the money rolls in, rolls in...

(add appropriate verses.  I know a lot of Caltech specific ones, but 
probably ought not to put them here.)

karen k. 
Karen Kustedjo
"The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a
proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and
oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us." - Paul Vale'ry, 1895 

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