Coming from a bachelor’s degree in Arts, the problems that I faced during the admissions process are not what you may think. If you would like to find out more about choosing unconventional path to medicine, read here. This post is to share with you some problems that I wish I had considered earlier.
1) Fear that I was making the wrong choice. Honestly, I hadn’t known many Arts students that were successful in gaining entry into medicine. Yet, people unfamiliar with the process were always eager to give input. From my course director rolling her eyes when I told her I wanted to be a doctor, to friends continuously asking me if I was being realistic, it culminated in many sleepless nights of me wondering if I had made some huge mistake.
In hindsight: Escaping the toxic study environment of Biomedicine was amazing for my mental health. The newfound time afforded by the lowered course load, allowed me to gain valuable insights into the field of medicine. The culmination of all these volunteering and work experiences within the health field, solidified my passion to study medicine. Keep moving forward.
2) Increased need for organisation. Gone are the days of a high-stress environment associated with traditional pre-med anxiety. This could be a good and bad thing. Social and friendship groups outside of traditional science programs will likely not even mention medical school applications, it simply just isn’t the norm. If you don’t check for yourself, you will miss key admission deadlines.
In hindsight: It is now up to you, to continuously be organised in attaining your goals. You have to consistently be up to date with enrollment information, as you likely won’t have that backup with your course coordinators.
3) Losing sight of the final aim. Along the 3-year undergrad journey, I often questioned myself, why I’m doing all this? Is medical school really for me? What if I don’t have what it takes?
In hindsight: Believe it or not, medical school ain’t for everyone. If you realise that a pathway outside of medicine is a better fit for you, you’re saving yourself a lot of heartache in the future. I guess one way to find out if you’re a good fit, is to gain exposure to the field.
For me, I wished I started gaining healthcare exposure even earlier than I did. If you’re also studying a Non-Science Degree, you will likely have quite a lot of free-time. Take this opportunity to gain insights into the industry that you aim to one day be working within. For example, I’ve worked part-time within ED and Outpatient administration at two major Victorian hospitals during this time. My work there, allowed me to interact with doctors, nurses and allied-health staff on the regular. I gained insights into current healthcare problems, as well as perspective on the role of physicians within the broader medical system.
Other ideas include: NGO volunteering, First Aid (eg. St Johns) and Aged Care assistance. Overall, exposure to the healthcare field is what you make of it, regardless of your undergraduate degree. I’ve known traditional Biomedical Science students who have never set foot into the healthcare field, and on the other hand, Commerce students who have completed several business-related internships at major hospitals. Seize the opportunities you can.