From childhood, many of us dreamed of becoming a doctor. Often we gave up on our dream due to finances or starting a family. But let’s face the reality, going to school for eight years never sounds good. But if this is still something you dream of, there’s no reason you can’t become one now.
Why Do You Want to Fulfill Your Dream Now?
Changing your career will be difficult if you haven’t started college or have completed some classes. You’re going to have to figure out if any of them will work towards your degree, or if it’s been too long, you may have to retake the classes.
It may surprise you to know that many people decide to change their careers later in life. Many common reasons people choose to do this are they are more financially stable, their kids are older, or they simply want to improve people’s quality of care. Whatever your reason, there are questions you should ask yourself before jumping into the decision.
Are you ready to work hard in school, incur debt, and work long hours?
You’ve probably heard medical school is hard, and passing all of the boards is even more challenging. You’re going to see your friends and family off having fun together while you are stuck sitting at your desk studying or volunteering.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that medical school isn’t cheap. You will have so much debt that there will be times you feel like you’re drowning. With the classes being so challenging, working will be difficult, if not impossible.
If you still feel like you’re ready to jump into the deep end, let’s go to the next question.
Are you ready to deal with the best and worst sides of people? And are you prepared to deal with the hardest experiences people will endure?
A lot of sick people are angry and will lash out. You will have to be prepared to tell people the best and the worst of news. You may be telling people their family member came through surgery great while telling others their loved one didn’t make it. Is this something you can do without going through the emotional turmoil yourself?
One of the hardest things to do with patients and their families is to maintain a professional distance. Is this something you can do no matter what you face? You may run into a family member who is also part of the medical profession. Will you be ready to listen to the person integrate you and point out what they believe you should do?
If you haven’t lost your courage yet, here is your final question.
Are you Willing to Listen to Your Patients’ Wants?
Your first and last responsibility is to your patients. You may disagree with their choices, but if they believe their choice is the right one, you’ll have to respect their decisions. You will need to be someone they can trust and depend on regardless of their situation. There will be times when they will look to you for advice instead of their families, and you’ll have to be prepared for this.
****If your answer to all of these questions is yes, you are ready to take the next step. If you believe it is too much to take on, don’t feel bad because there is a reason many people decide being a doctor isn’t right for them. Even when they start med school, it can prove to be too much.****
Be Ready to ACE your MCAT Test
The MCAT helps to determine your chances of succeeding in medical school. This test will take you over seven hours to complete and will be difficult. The admission board places more emphasis on these test results than any other area of your application. Because of how important this test is, the thought of it may leave you shaking in your boots. But don’t worry; there are some steps you can take to help with studying.
Registering to take this test is pretty simple since it’s offered around 30 times a year. A general rule of thumb is making at least a 500 gives you a better chance of acceptance than those who scored lower. The cost of registering for the test varies between $320-$375, and most people recommend you take the test during your junior year.
Pass Medical School and Choose your Speciality
During medical school, the first year is focused on classroom work, so be ready for long hours and a lot of studying. In your third year, you are going to start working with actual patients under direct supervision. This will give you some hands-on experience, plus, you’ll get to decide on the type of medical career you want.
Once you choose your specialty, you’re going to want to start searching for places you want to do your residency. Many times the easiest way to do this is to search for jobs for physicians in your specialty. The reason behind this is if you do well, the place you do your residency may want to hire you once you graduate.
If you want to be a physician, be prepared to work hard and have many sleepless nights. Once you pass the boards and become a certified physician, the sleepless nights will likely continue but get better as you get more comfortable in your specialty. If helping people still sounds good to you, this is the right job for you.