Questions to Ask Before Applying to Medical School

10:38:00 AM

Before you even apply for medical school, you have to know if you really want to be a medical doctor. Is it your personal decision to go to medical school or is it because you don't want to disappoint your parents because they want you to be a medical doctor. Medical training is inherently difficult, that's not a secret. You probably have an idea of the life of medical students: sleepless nights studying for exams, overnight in the lab for research work, papers, hospital duties and extracurricular activities. Medical school requires its students to study and work harder than they’ve probably ever had to work before. But it's doable especially if you really love what you're doing. So it is important that you really want to be a medical doctor. It must be a personal volition and not because you're coerced or pressured to do it. Otherwise, you will be one of those medical students that I have crossed paths with who quit medical school because they never really wanted to be a medical doctor in the first place. So if going to medicine is not your personal decision, please disabuse yourself and just be honest with what you really want to be. It will save you money and time.

Can you handle pressure and stress? Your stint in medical school is one of the most stressful times in your life if not the most stressful time in your life. You have to learn how to adapt in medical school otherwise you will suffer from nervous breakdown. You also have to have a strong support system from your family and friends. This will help you in coping with stress. When the going gets tough, take to someone. It helps if you have someone to share your problems with. Medical school demands a lot of time, effort and dedication. It will really push you to your limits. It's physically and mentally exhausting. Medical students will agree with me that medical school is far different from undergraduate training. It's not similar to undergraduate degree where a lot of students in the class get a grade of 1.0 (highest grade). Medicine is a humbling experience. It's rare for students to get 1.0 in most subjects. Getting a grade of 2.0 to 3.0 (passing grade) is just normal. So just be ready and do not be disappointed if you don't get a grade of 1.0. That's completely normal. But do not be overwhelmed, medical school is diffcult but again, it's doable. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel and our professors and all those who have gone before us can attest to this.

You also need to do you research about the profession that you're getting into. You have to at least know how long will it take before you can start your medical practice. You need to know that after your undergraduate degree, you need four years of medical training, one year of internship then you need to take the physician licensure examination. After that, you can already practice as a general practitioner. But if you want to pursue specialty training you still need to go to residency training. This will require you a minimum of three years of training and diplomate examination. If you still want to be a subspecialist, you need a minimum of two years of additional training for fellowship and then you need to pass your specialty board exam. You need a minimum of 10 years of medical training before you can start you clinical practice as a specialist. If you still want to be a medical doctor after knowing this, good for you. Just make sure you fully know what you're signing up for.

You also need to check your motives why you want to be a medical doctor. If you want to be a doctor because you want to get rich, it might not be the best option for you. If you really want to become filthy rich maybe go to business or marketing professsion. Well, you will not go hungry when you become a medical doctor. You get fair compensation as a medical doctor but it's not a guarantee it will make you earn millions. Medicine is a service profession. Service means working for the benefit of another. Of course, service requires competence but it also requires putting patients first. Doctors should never treat patients as potential sources of income. Do not use your position as a doctor for money grubbing. Check your motives. Do you have the compassion and desire to give service to your patients? If not, maybe you have to think twice if you will push through with your application to medical school.

So there you go, here are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself before applying to any medical school. Hope it helps you decide whether medical school is the right track for you. Have an awesome journey in medical school, colleague!

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