*My apologies for the late publishment!*
There’s some discrepancy in the pre-med world about what we need to and want to do. I have written about this in a previous blog. However, for those who are becoming more keen to the idea of having a passion and sticking with it, you may not necessarily know how to find it.
Throughout high school and even during my first year here, I was constantly juggling what kind of health care professional I wanted to be. There was a time when I wanted to be a neurologist, an oncologist, a public health professional, an MBA/MD business doctor, a bioethics lawyer (it was a dark time in my life), and currently, an MD/Ph.D. Usually these profession switches were based on whatever seemed coolest through media portrayal. After all, that was the only exposure to the field that I got. From what my friends have told me, this media portrayal might be the only exposure some get before deciding what they want to do, which can cause regrets in the future. First off, if you think that being a doctor is how it is on Grey’s Anatomy, House, or Royal Pains, you are severely mistaken. Not surprisingly, those television shows do not portray any of the tedious tasks that doctors go through during their day to day life, and (unfortunately) severely exaggerate how much fun we will be having once we are stable in our careers. Therefore, it is important to take what the media tells us about being in the medical field with a grain of salt, as well as discover what it means to be truly invested in our future.
How do we get this exposure that is so important in our decision making process? Well, there are several hundred of opportunities around the UC San Diego campus that allow us to do just this. The first two things that should have popped into your mind are volunteering and research. These two fields though, have enormous subsections within themselves that are mostly untouched by undergraduates.
For example, “volunteering” to some may just mean getting an application at Thornton Hospital and going through the UCSD Health Services process. This is an amazing opportunity, but it is not the only one around campus. Another amazing insight to the real medical process is the UCSD Free Clinic, where you will helping and exposed to physicians and medical students in the very different free clinic setting. These amazing opportunities were all found at the Career Services Center, and while I am also averse to the constant barrage of information thrown at us by the Center, it really is an amazing resource.
Personally, I have volunteered at a local medical center close to my hometown for about three years, and the services did not help me gain any insight into the field, leaving me at a plateau of knowledge. I know some fellow pre-meds who have experienced this same problem, and so I, along with my peers, have been searching for more hands-on opportunities for experience about the medical field. If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below and I will definitely add them to the list!
Note: Be prepared for next week when I talk about the second of the dynamic duo: research!