Going to medical school is a big deal. It requires a long term commitment to education. Do not think that the completion of your medical degree will be the end of your educational requirements. To maintain your licensure you will have to stay up to date on procedures, technologies, and pharmaceuticals. That means you will never get the opportunity to walk away from education if you choose this field. That’s why we determined you would probably need advice about deciding to go to medical school.
First, consider why you want to go. Are you going into the field of medicine to help facilitate breathing assistance for quadriplegia, by utilizing breathing pacemakers? Or are you more interested in finding a cure for transverse myelitis that often leads to paralysis? The bottom line here is that you need to know that you are totally devoted to this field of study before you take any steps in that direction.
Before You Make That Choice
Like we said previously, medical school is a seriously long term commitment. You don’t want to take this step lightly when it comes to moving toward your future. Therefore, before you make that choice follow these five suggestions:
- Shadow– You could just interview a doctor in the field you are hoping to study, but actually getting the opportunity to shadow him or her will be far more beneficial. You will be exposed to the daily grind, the routines, and struggles the doctor faces. That should help you shape your opinion about whether that profession is right for you. Read this about shadowing a professional.
- Intern- There are research and experiential internships available to students who are interested in pursuing the medical field. Apply for several as the competition will probably be intense. Sometimes there are tuition-free programs for kids from low-income families. Don’t hesitate to look into those if you qualify. Find medical internships here.
- Volunteer– If you find shadowing and interning difficult to accomplish, try volunteering at a clinic or hospital. The ones that serve low-income patients are most needy of your assistance so look there first. Here you will learn great things about bedside manner and patient communications. Plus, this kind of community service will look great on your applications when you submit them to the colleges of your choice.
- Get Creative– Design your own medical or health related project. You can write a column in your school paper, or choose to create small snacks for people whose children are in the hospital. This is another thing that will look very good on your college applications, even if you don’t choose to go to medical school.
- Summer Programs– There are colleges that offer summer programs for students who are interested in the medical field. There’s even a National Student Leadership Conference (learn more) that might be a good option for you.
Learning everything you can about the field you want to go into is advisable no matter whether it is attached to medicine or not. If you wanted to be a psychologist then you would be best served by shadowing one, or at least discussing the position. The same could be true about being a police officer or chef.
Our advice for deciding to go to medical school is the same as if you were going into any other field. Basically, get real life experience in that industry. Talk to people who are in it, and research everything.