Say what? Why would you ever want to work more than you already do in med school, and or residency?

From my personal experience of always working at least another job in addition to my full time work as a student or as a doctor in training, I see many positives in doing so.

I started working as a tutor unofficially when I was 12 years old. 2 weeks before mid terms or final exams, many classmates would start camping in my parent’s 1100 sq apartment in Taipei. I alternated between teaching at a tiny white board and working along side each individual to help my peers prepare for the exams.

Aside from learning steadily and tutoring my classmates throughout the semester, these review sessions I gave were as beneficial to my academic performance as others’. I always felt I had plenty of time to slow down and teach a classmate, and I believed that each time I taught someone else helped me master the concept even more.


Shortly after my family immigrated to the US, I started tutoring high school science subjects: AP biology, AP chemistry, Physics, etc. Tutoring high school science and math was my first paying job, $10/hr back in year 2000. I utterly loved tutoring my classmate. I taught what I learned in morning lectures to my classmate after school. Being tutor made me study proactively, and on top of my game. By the time I tutored a concept the teacher taught in the morning, I already knew the concept in side and out.

I was very encouraged when one high school sophomore student said, “Did the teacher really say this morning? How come when she said it, it sounded like Martian? I don’t understand her language, but I understand what you are teaching me.” I enjoy bridging the gap between new knowledge and learners. I also relish helping someone reach a higher level of understanding of each concept.


From then on, I kept tutoring throughout my own schooling and training. As I aced each standardized exam, from SAT, MCAT, to USMLE/COMLEX steps, I added each subjects/tests to my repertoire. I find helping others excel on exams and progress in their career path quite gratifying. Additionally, tutoring provides meaningful outlet from the stress of practicing medicine–where decisions about life and death are made on a daily basis.


There are several advantages to having a side job I love,

  1. It refreshes me from my primary job as a doctor/student doctor. It grounds me and gives me more perspective.
  2. It allows me to give back to society via another venue other than medicine.

  3. It provides an additional source of income.

  4. I always believe that teaching and learning enhances each other. Helping others excel on their high-stake exams not only gives me a sense of fulfillment, but also sharpens my analytical and communication skills.

5. I enjoy being my own boss, sometimes. Residency is highly structured but not always efficient. I relish maximizing efficiency and being extremely efficient in my side job recharges me. For example, I kept increasing my hourly tutoring rate throughout the last 17 years and arrived at a happy equilibrium price where I’m fairly compensated for my exceptional work rather than overworking. While I can tutor twice as many clients and charge 1/2 of my current hourly rate, I much rather charge higher and work less, saving the extra time for studying (making myself a better doctor and a better teacher) and spending time with my family.

Side jobs (including tutoring) in college and med school helped control my total student loan debt and allowed me to pay them off completely as a mere intern.

It also helped me to be a better student, learner, and doctor. I recommend everyone to work a little bit on the side, even if it’s just a few hours per week (which with proper time management) will likely enhance your efficiency in learning and practicing medicine. Try to get your side job in something you love, perhaps in something other than medicine, allowing you switch gears and recharge.

Did you work a side job in college or medical school? how about residency?
What did you like about your hustle?
If you didn’t get a paid side job, what do you do in your free time?
Ever thought about turning your hobby into an additional income to build your net wroth?

Comment below!

A Refreshing and Rewarding Side Job
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