It might not be as out-there as proclaiming to the world you wish to become an astronaut or as popular as a YouTube career, but doctors are still among the most inspiring individuals, still setting high standards for kids who want to follow in their footsteps. And quite arduous footsteps indeed, because the education alone needed for you to become a medical professional practically never ends.
But before it even begins, you need to prepare for the challenges of the entrance exam, potential interviews with the college admission board, and years of demanding workload, practical classes and seminars. If you have an inner doctor you wish to unleash, read on and prep yourself for the upcoming rollercoaster of studies!
Dive in as early as high school
Watching reruns of Bones doesn’t count as exposure to medicine and science, and if you already know that you’re going for the medical profession, then it’s never too early to start experiencing the various fields you’re interested in. Numerous research centres and colleges offer internships, courses, seminars and summer programs that are designed to immerse high school students in a medical environment.
That way, you can meet your peers, get a better insight in various medical professions, and see if you truly are ready for such a career. It’s a brilliant learning opportunity where you will possibly have the chance to perform experiments yourself, talk to experts in the field and delve deeper into the matter at hand, for the sole purpose of deciding on your own professional path. Not to mention that such experience will add great value to your application!
Research your role-models
You already know which medical colleges are your top choices? You can set up an interview with an alumnus, to ask about their own education, and gain valuable information on how a particular educational institution works, which courses and professors are the most suitable choice for you, and other practical tips for succeeding in your achieving your goals.
If possible, you can also “shadow” a specialist and observe them work with patients, see how well you react to unpleasant situations and find out how different doctors cope with the numerous challenges of their profession. See how they care for their own health, how they build and maintain their relationships with their patients as well as their family, and if they can give some useful pointers for your upcoming college years.
Prep for aptitude tests and entrance exams
Since the interest in these professions is growing, so is the competitiveness among various colleges, and many countries are creating unique solutions to discover which students are suitable for the realm of medicine and science very early on. One such test is called the Undergraduate Medicine Admissions Test which aims to determine your general skills, abilities and traits and whether you are a good candidate for medical school – unrelated to your school curriculum.
Once you establish that you have an aptitude for medicine, investing great effort into preparing for the entrance exam is essential. These tests are rigorous, time-consuming and thorough, and considering the growing number of applicants that will compete for a spot in each college, starting your preparations as early as high school can help you make the cut.
Learn how to learn
There are various skills you’ll need to perfect while still in high school in order to make the most of your university education. For instance, this is the time when your learning abilities will make or break your success. Memorization and cramming are almost every high school student’s favourite methods, but they will not come in handy once you join the medical ranks.
Sharpen your organization skills to craft study schedules, regular revisions, and critical thinking, do your best to incorporate exercise and healthy meals that will support your difficult studies, and always stay inquisitive. There are various online resources you can use to continually complement your lectures and gain a better understanding of the subject matter.
Take the initiative
No feeling in this world is quite like helping those in need, and this is often the main reason, so many young people are eager to become doctors. But even before you’re qualified to start medical school, you can experience this rewarding practice through regular volunteering in your community that will give you access to a hospital environment and let you have a first-hand experience of working with patients.
Keep in mind that you won’t be taking part in medical procedures, but helping with patient care, or at the information desk. Some of your duties may include cleaning the patients’ utensils or helping them get around so that you can spend some time getting to know your potential career, and observing doctors at work.
Author: Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at highstylife.com.