Is Medicine for me? 5 Tips on how to make the big decision
3 weeks ago by Chris
Trying to decide whether medicine is for you? Personally, it took me months and lots of research and thought to finally make that decision. Compared to most Bachelor degrees which are usually three years in duration, courses in medicine take much longer – about 5 years to complete. Then there is post-graduate study and specialist training. You could be looking at many years before you are a fully fledged doctor. In addition, medicine is a course which is very competitive to get into. So, given these factors, how can one make that important decision on whether medicine is the right decision? Here are a few of the ways I went about deciding whether medicine was right for me:
1. Talk to those in the know
I was lucky to be given the phone numbers of friends of friends and colleagues of relatives who had just recently completed medical school and who were doctors. Listening to their first hand experiences and being able to ask questions about medical school and life in medicine, and receive honest answers, really helped in my decision making. If at all possible, talk to as many medical students and doctors as you can to hear first-hand about the course and career.
2. Research the degree and career
Make sure to look in-depth at the medicine course content for the universities that you are interested in applying to. This information is available on the respective university websites, even though it can be difficult to find. However, it’s really important that you have a general idea of what you’re setting yourself up for in the study of medicine. Also try to engage in some work experience or volunteer work in a health-related setting so you gain an understanding of what life in medicine really involves. This will give you a good idea if medicine is the right career for you.
3. Seek Career Guidance
Some of you may have amazing career guidance facilities in school that you should definitely avail of. If not, there are a great deal of independent career guidance counsellors out there that you can arrange one on one meetings with. It’s really important that you talk to someone neutral who, instead of pushing you in one direction or another, guides you. They can discuss the different options that are out there and will help you to make your own decision and choose the right direction for you.
4. Focus on you
It’s important when it comes to university courses that you make the right choice for you. Don’t allow other factors to unduly affect your big decision – for example, what others think you should or shouldn’t do, or what other family members or friends are planning on doing. At the end of the day you know yourself better than anyone else does and you know what career you are best suited for.
5. Realise it’s a vocation, not just a course
For a course such as medicine, it’s very important not just to focus on the course itself but to keep in mind the career at the end. Medicine is in essence a vocation so you must make sure that what interests you is the career at the end, and not just the course. Do you picture yourself working as a doctor in 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years? If so, then great! Medicine is likely to be the right career for you.
Studying medicine is a big decision, but there are many wonderful rewards to a career as a doctor. All the best with your decision!
Written by Anna, who is a past MedEntry student and who is currently studying medicine.