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6 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Applying to Medicine

What I Wish I'd Known Before Applying to Medicine

Deciding what you want to do for a future career is quite a daunting decision. Should you try your hand at law? Or is psychology the better choice for you? Or do you want to become a doctor?

Deciding on medicine is a huge decision and so it’s important you do your research into whether it’s the right career choice for you.

With this in mind, here are a few of the things I’d wish I’d known before applying to medical school.

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1. It’s not your typical 9 to 5 job

Being a doctor is most certainly not your typical 9 to 5 job. More often than not you can be working up to 12 or 13 hour days – so make sure you’re willing to put in the work!

It’s not a job where you sit at your desk all day and fill in paperwork (although paperwork is a large part of the job) and it is definitely not ordinary. There are no two days that are the same and you will grow every day from every experience and every patient you encounter.

Yes, there are a lot of hours, a lot of time and a lot of sleepless nights involved but those happy, smiling patients when you deliver good news is so worth the stress and time.

2. The study is never-ending!

In most other jobs once university finishes, there’s no more learning to be done. In medicine, however, that is not the case.

After medical school, there’s more to be done. We continue to learn every day and each patient teaches us a valuable lesson.

To become a consultant or specialist in any field you must go through years of rigorous training to make sure you’re equipped to help patients as best you can.

3. It can be emotionally draining

Medicine isn’t easy and there will be days that are much tougher than others. Some days you’ll get great results, save lives, diagnose diseases and tell loved ones that their friend/family member is going to recover.

But just as some days are good, some days are bad. You will lose patients, you will make tough decisions or decisions that you wish you hadn’t made. Make sure you are ready to face the difficult aspects of medicine as well as the good parts.

4. Don’t go into medicine for the money

A lot of people decide that medicine is for them because of the monetary gain. If you’re not in medicine for the right reasons, I can promise you it will not be worth the hours, days, months and years you spend in the hospital.

Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons: if you care about your patients, and making a difference to people’s lives, any difficulties will ultimately be worth it.

5. You have to have a tough skin

As with any job, there will inevitably be some people you don’t get along with – whether that’s junior doctors or consultants.

You need to have a thick and tough skin to push through those days where it seems like you don’t have the best luck, and remind yourself why it is you’re doing what you’re doing.

6. It’s immensely rewarding

Medicine is an immensely rewarding career. You get to study a mix of human anatomy, science and pathology and put that all together to diagnose someone with an illness which you then treat.

There is no other job in the world remotely like it. You get to specialise in whatever field suits your fancy and you get to help people along the way.

It’s certainly a special career whichever way you choose to look at it. So even though there might be some hardships you’ll have to face on your way up, the rewards are there every day – you just have to look for them.

Words: Olivia Nguyen

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