If you want to study medicine you probably know by now that the process is much exhausting as it is rewarding.
There are so many things you need to know and do before you get the chance to study medicine at a Medical School *sigh*. The good news: this is definitely doable, you only need to focus, keep your head in the game and with the right tools the road will be a little less bumpy.
By all means, I’m not an expert in the subject I’m merely offering advice and my own opinion. This is the article I would have loved to read when I started college, right when I realized being a pre-med is not only about getting good grades and completing all the prerequisites.
Before getting started in all the #premedlife related topics, I just want to say that it takes a lot of effort, courage and passion to pursue a career in the medical field. In other words, if you are reading this and you are planning to study medicine or you are already a pre-med, congratulations!, you have taken an amazing step.
Moving on to the good stuff. I’m sure you know that in order to apply to Medical School you need a lot of volunteering and shadowing. In other words, Medical Schools need to know that you have been exposed to medicine. This is to ensure that you won’t get to Medical School without knowing what to expect for the next 4 years of your life.
Being a senior in college I have been exposed to a lot of volunteering and shadowing. Believe me when I tell you that shadowing experiences don’t grow on trees. There is definitely more demand than supply. With this in mind, the key is to start preparing early. You can start volunteering in your first year of college. Remember, Medical Schools like when students volunteer a lot. However, Medical Schools usually prefer to see that you have accumulated a lot of hours while volunteering at a same place. It shows that you got commitment and that you are not just jumping from one opportunity to the next.
One thing I discovered in my Sophomore year of college, is the fact that many universities (especially those that have a Medical School), tend to offer health programs for undergraduate students. Sometimes these programs are more research or chemistry based, instead of health related. It is definitely worth checking it out, since it can not only serve you as a learning experience, but it can also connect you with people in the healthcare field. It is very important to make connections because you never know when you might need some advice or a letter of recommendation.
In addition, do not be intimidated by research! Many people will tell you that you need research experience in order to apply to Medical School. Others will tell you that Medical Schools only care about your volunteering and shadowing experiences. The truth is that each Medical School is different and has its own requirements. Many students are not able to do any research at all during undergraduate because they don’t get the chance to or are never given an opportunity. If you feel like research is something you must do, don’t be afraid to reach out to your science professors.
I think I have covered everything I wanted to say for now. I will probably add more content to this post later on or I may do a complete separate post.
Let me know in the comments if you are a pre-med student and what year are you on? Also, if you could give one piece of advice to a pre-med student that just started college, what would it be?