If you’re one of those kids who grew up with the aspiration to become a doctor or may have developed such passion to study medicine so you can help others, you’ll have to weigh a few considerations before starting medical school.
Before you lodge your application to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), you might want to go over your plans. You can scan the Medical Aid's informative guide or you can also read further to know more about these considerations.
Being a doctor is a very prestigious profession and it also pays quite handsomely. But if you really want to have an impact on the health and wellness of other people while attaining self-fulfillment, you might want to consider first whether you have the heart of kindness and attitude of compassion that patients need from their doctor.
The doctor’s main responsibility is to direct the healing process for their sick patients. Some patients and their families might not be at their best when faced with medical crises and emergencies. Doctors are the ones tasked to be the face of healing and hope, kindness and compassion, and, sometimes, of finality and empathy to patients and their families.
You can determine whether you’re fit for this task by observing how you feel and respond when your elders or sickly grandparents ask you to do something for them. Do you find yourself grumpy and grumbling? Do you feel genuine concern and compassion for them? Would you feel the same way if they were complete strangers?
The second thing you have to consider before starting med school is your reason why you want to become a doctor. Your reason may be because you like helping others. It could be because you want to be in a prestigious and high-paying profession. Maybe it’s because you’ve always liked being in a laboratory doing biology and chemistry stuff. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you can live with.
While pursuing a medical career can be extremely lucrative and rewarding, it would demand a lot from you in terms of commitment, hard work, perseverance, and endurance.
The third thing you have to consider before looking for a university with a good med school is whether you have the basic intellectual aptitude and emotional intelligence to thrive and become fulfilled in a profession that requires a lot of problem-solving for people who are in pain and suffering.
You have some sort of gauge of how you’ll perform in med school by looking back at your previous grades in subjects that are most likely to be studied heavily in med school. At the minimum, you should expect to study biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physics.
Since you already took up some of those subjects in high school, you can look back at your grades and you’ll get the idea. You’d also be doing some quantitative reasoning and analysis. Expect a lot of lab work, too.
Unless you come from a well-to-do family and won’t need to work to pay for your med school, this is the next thing you have to consider. Going to med school would require a lot of investment from you in terms of financial expenses, study time, effort, and personal commitment to complete your course work and pass your exams.
There are some who are willing to incur student debts and school loans just to fulfill their dream of becoming a doctor. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re fully aware of what financial obligations you’re getting into. Some of them do end up being very financially successful, professionally accomplished, and personally contented individuals. But it’s something you should think about.
Many people think being a doctor involves learning something new every day. This idea of excitement and novelty is one of those things that attract them to med school.
But doctors who have been practicing their profession for 30 or 40 years know that after all the excitement and novelty after you’ve learned almost everything you need to know to round out the complete clinical picture for every patient and illness you’ll ever encounter, boredom sets in.
Being a practicing doctor and working in a hospital would mean a lot of boredom doing the rounds with patients. It also entails seeing a lot of pain and suffering. You can reflect on how you handled boredom and suffering in the past to gauge how you’ll handle them when you become a doctor.
Before you make further plans for med school, take time to weigh the five considerations discussed in this article.
One way of assessing whether you would be a good fit for the medical profession is by knowing yourself, your own attitude towards helping others, your aptitude for medical science, your capacity to do hard work under a lot of pressure, and your endurance for pain and suffering.