Medicine is a hugely fulfilling career, and I’m sure most of you already know that. But it’s never as simple as that. There’s so much to consider, and for many, deciding at 18 to become a doctor is life-changing (both for yourself and your patients). Before looking into a career in medicine, take a long hard look at yourself first and ask what you actually want in life. Unlike your peers applying for academic subjects like Law or Economics, you’re going to be choosing a career, not just a degree. Don’t just apply because all your friends are applying and don’t be discouraged if nobody in your school has ever got into medicine before. The key is to decide for yourself and take the necessary steps to find out more.
Go explore – surf the web and read lots of articles; talk to friends or family who have already been through the process; find some work experience to see if you enjoy some of the things doctors do. There are an unbelievable number of opportunities in medicine, and although you’re going down the career of ‘being a doctor’, there are so many doctors out there doing different things, whether within healthcare or outside.
You should look for a range of opinions from different types of people – these include both positive and negative aspects of different careers within medicine and as a junior doctor, as well as alternative careers. You may have wanted to become a doctor from when you were barely able to talk, but the reality is sometimes very different to what some people might expect. You absolutely have to know as closely as possible what it takes to be a doctor – and not just for the sake of your future happiness, but also because medical schools want to see you’ve properly considered this career path and are not basing your application on fantasies.
If you’ve already decided – step back and ask yourself why. Write it down. And make sure you have evidence to back up your motivations. Even if it’s just for a second, forget about UCAS applications and moulding everything you say to what you think medical schools want to hear – ask yourself honestly if the medical highway is the junction you should be taking at this stage in your life, or even just how you feel about studying 5/6 years at university. If you’re not sure, it means you should probably find out a bit more. Hopefully, we at Doctor Project can give you a hand.