Types of Students Who Should Not Consider Medical School

Types of Students Who Should Not Consider Medical School

Before you even consider premed, you need to be honest with yourself, know your abilities and your personality, and do some soul searching. The time commitment involved in a premedical curriculum is more than it is for most college majors. It is not a decision to be made lightly. For many students, premed is so tough that they change their career goals after the first year. Although there are always exceptions, you probably are not the type of student who should consider medicine as a career if:

You are not a team player. Although some physicians such as pathologists work behind the scenes, most do not. They are constantly working together with hospital administrators, nurses, other doctors, and office staff. Medicine is a team effort, and unless you are a good communicator and willing to work as a member of a team, medicine may not be a good fit. Medical schools recognize this and are changing curriculums to be more group oriented.

You hate red tape, bureaucracy, and competition. In medical school, there are no easy days, and many of your classmates will be highly competitive. The first two years are especially stressful, not only because there is so much to learn but also because you have never had to work that hard before. Once you become a physician, the red tape and bureaucracy continues. So if you are not the type of person who can handle the daily grind, find another career path.

You are not a lifelong learner. Physicians are students for life. And because medical advances are happening so fast, you will be left behind and feel incompetent if you do not keep up with the latest medical therapies and trends. The amount of information is incredible, so unless you look forward to learning for the rest of your life, medicine is the wrong career choice.

You are not willing to put your life on hold until you finish school. Ask any doctor, and he or she will tell you that medical school is a big sacrifice. You will have to put lots of things, including family, on hold while you study, cram, and learn.

You are not interested in learning how and why things work. If you think memorizing facts in college was a big deal, multiply that a thousand times and that is what you will be doing your first few years of medical school. But even though you will have to memorize countless facts, you will also have to understand how and why things work. So, for example, if you’re not interested in how diseases start, what their mechanisms are, and why therapies work to treat or cure those diseases, then you probably don’t have the drive or natural curiosity it takes to be a doctor.

You do not have a love for learning in general. Some students learn because they must pass exams and get through the course. Others learn because they love to learn. These are the students who do well in medical school and become good doctors. It goes back to being a lifelong learner. Unless you have a passion to learn and keep learning, you will not be successful in medicine.

You do not have a strong desire to help others. For the most part, people become interested in medicine because they have a genuine desire to help others. If your only reason for going to medical school is to have a career in which you make a lot of money, soon you are going to be miserable. The most successful people are the ones who love what they do and, as a result, become great at their jobs.

Reprinted from: The New Medical School Preparation & Admissions Guide, 4th edition by Dr. Andrew Goliszek