Don’t Look Back: Why I Chose to Go to a DO School over an MD School
- Feb 14, 2017
Unfortunately, there arenâ€™t many people who actually choose to go to a DO (osteopathic) school for medical school. There still is a stigma about having a DO after your name. Thereâ€™s a sense that many, if not most, who end up at a DO school go there because they couldnâ€™t get into an MD school. Iâ€™m one of the few people I know of who chose to attend a DO school over MD programs. Iâ€™ll tell you why I did:
Osteopathic Medicine Philosophy
I had an average MCAT score, so I wasnâ€™t turning down Harvard to attend a osteopathic medical school. However, I did interview and get offers at several allopathic (MD) universities. After visiting and researching the schools, I found that none of them offered what I wanted most: a medical school that had at its forefront a mission to serve people, each with a unique dignity and purpose.
The first thing that comes to mind when people think of osteopathic medicine is that itâ€™s more â€œholistic.â€ For many, this word evokes the false perception that DOs practice some kind of alternative medicine. Thatâ€™s not why osteopathy attracted me.
What drew me in was the philosophy that osteopathic doctors treat all dimensions of the patient: mind, body, and spirit. I had grown weary of modern medicineâ€™s empiricism; for me, it too often manifests as a lack of compassion. Osteopathic medicine seemed to have an answer. As I researched the profession, this idea of treating the whole person â€“ of gaining a deeper understanding of their lifestyle and environment, not just their symptoms â€“ struck me.
School Location and Feel
Location is certainly a luxury that not all applicants can afford to consider, but for my wife and I it was very important. Being close to family provided me with the ultimate support system going through medical school. Looking back, I appreciate even more how invaluable it was for me to have been a mere twenty minutes away from family.
Another chief reason I ended up at an DO school was the feel I got while attending interview day. The campus was tucked back in a forest preserve, away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. The staff was kind and welcoming, the facilities were gorgeous. I felt at home. This subjective feeling carries a lot of weight in many peopleâ€™s big decisions, as it did for me.
Calling to Practice Osteopathic Medicine
Above all, what mattered most in my decision to attend an osteopathic medical school was a deep calling to do so. I developed a strong conviction that becoming a DO was the right choice for me, and had the faith to follow through. All the major decisions Iâ€™ve made in my life have involved this type of discernment.
However strange and inexplicable a calling may sometimes be, I believe people are happiest when they follow it. This calling led me to osteopathic medicine, and I never regretted it.