I withdrew from medical school today.

Benaias Esayeas
5 min readJan 9, 2023

After much thought and contemplation, I made it official. This was not an easy decision for me, and it’s something I’ve been struggling with for a while. I always thought that becoming a doctor was the best way for me to make a positive impact on the world. But being in love with the potential of something can be a dangerous trap. It can lead you to overlook red flags and ignore warning signs and stay when love isn’t being offered.

While I have always been passionate about medicine and helping others, I have not been in the most nurturing environment. In 2022, I felt undervalued and uninspired. I also come to the understanding that the current medical system is designed to harm people (healthcare workers and students included), rather than truly help them. It prioritizes profits over patients and often fails to address the root cause of health issues. And as the pandemic raged, they wanted us to submit to a system that continues to wage violence against Black bodies. And they retaliate when you speak up.

If this pandemic has shown us anything, nothing is more valuable than our health and the time we have left on this earth. I plan on focusing my time on the Black Mental Health Alliance of Nashville and Actionable Steps LLC. These organizations work to promote holistic healing, mental health & public health initiatives in Black and marginalized communities and provide business support for those who are working to create their own business to divest from extractive economies, respectively. For now, I believe that this is where I can make the greatest impact.

Why? We’ve been conditioned to rely on the systems and institutions put in place by those who value wealth and power over people’s well-being. However, these systems often serve to oppress and further exploit marginalized communities. It is time for us to reclaim our time and labor and create our own systems that prioritize the well-being and liberation of our people. The institutions that currently hold power are funded by our labor and dollars. We must recognize that by supporting these institutions in any way, we are only furthering our own oppression. Instead, we must redirect our efforts toward building our own systems that prioritize accountability, mutual aid, community care, and transformative justice.

We need an inside-outside strategy. As we work to disrupt the current systems from the inside, we on the outside must create survival and harm-reduction alternatives that serve the immediate needs of people who are made vulnerable. This may involve organizing within our communities, creating cooperative economies, or supporting grassroots movements that work toward social, health, and economic justice. The possibilities are endless but we have to be imaginative!

“What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.” — Bell Hooks

It is important to also acknowledge that this work will not be easy, and will require sustained effort and organizing. However, it is necessary in order to create a world that is truly equitable and just for all people. Let us take back our time and labor and build the future that we deserve.

That’s why rather than paying $96k/year in student loans to an institution and system that I don’t believe in, I choose to create alternatives to these systems. For now, that means stepping away from medical school.

I know this decision may come as a surprise to many of you (or not, I definitely left a lot of clues), but I believe it is the right one for me. I hope to return to medical school at a later time, but for now, I am excited to pursue this new passion and make a positive change in the world. Thank you for your understanding and support.

If you’re struggling with a similar decision, here are a few tips that helped me: TW: #3 — Su*c*de

  1. It’s important to take the time to really think about what you want out of life. What makes you happy and fulfilled? What are your values and goals?
  2. It’s also important to consider the financial implications of dropping out. Medical school is a significant financial investment and dropping out could mean that you’ll have to repay loans or forego future earnings as a physician. Capitalism will try to twist your arm but do what’s right for you!
  3. Mental health is a big issue in medical school. If you’re considering suicide, please get the fuck out and save yourself. This profession isn’t worth your life. You matter and you’ll still make a difference in other ways!
  4. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you trust for support. Talk to loved ones, mentors, or a therapist about your decision. It’s okay to ask for help and guidance.
  5. Remember that it’s okay to change your mind and pursue a different path. Your journey is your own, and it’s okay to pivot.
  6. Trust yourself and your decision. It might be scary to make a big change, but trust that you have the courage and strength to handle it.
  7. Remember, dropping out of medical school doesn’t define you as a person. It’s just one step on your journey and there are many other paths that you can explore. Don’t be afraid to seek out new opportunities and take control of your future.

I know this isn’t an easy decision, but I hope my story can offer some encouragement to anyone else in medical school considering a change in their career path. Don’t be afraid to follow your passions and create the life you truly want.

Thanks for reading. I’m excited about this new chapter and can’t wait to see what the future holds.



Benaias Esayeas

Neuroscience BA from Amherst College — Passionate about Health Equity — Advocate for Medicare for All and Universal Basic Income — BLM