The Study Dude—Become a Doctor

Some of you AU students studying the health or human sciences may have ambitions of becoming doctors. Or you might have only dreamed of becoming a doctor.  Either way, let us cheer you on!

And why not you?  Doctors are in demand.  So, you would be in demand.  And you’d make a crazy salary while making a difference in people’s lives.  What a life!

But you’ll want to get prepped for acceptance into a pre-med program. Here are a few tips on how to gain momentum now for your future in a medical program.

Get a great MCAT score.  Consider taking a year off between premed and med school to study hard for your MCAT test.  Or start studying now as you work on AU health or human sciences courses.

Get either research or clinical experience—or both.“Some people love seeing patients, and some people love running polymerase chain reactions for hours. While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, it’s true that research isn’t for everybody” (p. 20).  My doctor was the opposite. She left her clinical role with patients to work in research at a pharmaceutical company.  She was award winning as a clinical doctor, but just as capable as a researcher.  And, whatever she did, she rose to positions of authority.  I believe her empathy was what made her shine. Consider the traits you have to help you shine in either a clinical or research field. You could gain early experience in whichever field most suits your strengths.

Consider the joys of clinical studies. “While you might not like running gels or mixing reagents, maybe you’ll enjoy a clinical study. Clinical research can involve recruiting and interviewing patients, or perhaps data entry. These opportunities provide clinical relevance you may enjoy. Clinical research can also kill two birds with one stone, providing clinical and research experience at the same time” (p. 20).  Clinical studies have the added bonus of possibly curing patients.  And who wouldn’t want to take part in extending a life?  The meaningfulness of becoming a doctor is immeasurable.

Check out AU research opportunities. “Many universities have undergraduate research opportunity programs. Search for these programs at your school to get started…. Ask about research opportunities that also count for class credit or work study” (p. 20). AU offers NSERC grants to selected students for research purposes. After two years of study in a science field, you might be ripe for one of these grants.  Apply because you deserve the reward and because it’ll get you a step closer to premed.  I got offered an NSERC research grant as an undergrad, but I had taken too few courses that one semester to qualify for the award.  So, the grant went to my friend.

Get volunteer experience.  If a research grant seems a year or two down the road, and if you want clinical experience now, then consider volunteering. “Finding a lab to work in is easy if you’re willing to volunteer” (p. 20). I worked in a lab, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  We hired summer students straight from high schools to work in the lab.  We didn’t have any volunteers, but we had space for at least three.  If someone with the right skillset (even administrative) had made a proposal, perhaps we’d have found our first volunteer.

I bet you’d make an awesome doctor.  A little vitamin B-50 to steady the hand, and you’ve got all the assurance you need to begin your journey.

Purtell, Danielle. (2017). Kaplan: Your Guide to Med School Admission. New York, NY.  Kaplan Inc. E-book.
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