GUIDE: Thinking about Medicine?

So you’re in college. Your whole future is ahead of you and now you’re thinking about becoming a physician. You’re probably really gung ho about it and want to run to the Records office and officially declare yourself “Pre-Med,” right? Well that’s fine. But there are things you should know.

The quest for the M.D. initials after your name begins with college. Every single class and grade will be up for review by the Admissions Committee (ADCOMS) of the medical school you apply to. Talk about pressure, right? So make sure that you do your best even when you think the class is a waste-of-time-general-study class. It does show up. But everyone should choose the major that they enjoy. DO NOT choose Biology if you’re not interested in studying about plant and animals. If you’re interested in business than pick that. If you’re a thinker, be a philosophy major. If you’re good in math, think about Mathematics, Physics, or Engineering. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A BIOLOGY MAJOR TO GET ACCEPTED INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL. Actually, one book I did read (which is maybe ten years old) claims that the ratio of those accepted to those who applied is highest for philosophy majors.

Getting into a medical school is not easy. You must stand apart from all the applicants — and your undergraduate grades are probably the first criteria ADCOMS will look at (unless you’re like the Dean of Medicine’s son or daughter). For those non-geniuses out there, you might have to sacrifice nights where you wanted to hang out with friends to study for a test.

My point is that you need to be sure that Medicine is something you wish to pursue. Be persistent. As an engineering major, I saw lots of people declare themselves engineering majors during my Freshman year. Before the first quarter ended the mass exodus had already begun and by the end of the year almost 1/3 had switched to business. I see the
same thing with people who declare “pre-med.”

Someone once said this about working hard to become a doctor: “You do it because underneath the surface of a young person who loves life and fun there is a compassion to reach others. Medicine is something you can envision yourself doing. You can picture yourself in that respected white coat and you hear the sacred calling of the profession.”

Some view Medicine as just a career choice. Some view it as a calling. I think the way you view it will have huge impact on the success you have in getting into Medical School, in excelling in Medical School, in being a physician, and in the happiness and satisfaction you feel as a physician.