With graduation rapidly approaching (and the start of medical school after that!), I find myself reflecting upon my experience as a Pre-Med student at Georgetown. I hope to provide some insight of the journey from a student perspective.
Is Pre-Med Right for Me?
Walking on to campus my freshman year, I knew that I wanted to be pre-med, as medicine interested me from an early age. Because of the service-oriented mindset, creative problem solving aspect, and integration of new scientific and interdisciplinary knowledge, the medical field attracted me. Yet, this is an outlook that took a fair share of refinement to develop throughout my college experience with clinical shadowing experiences, volunteer work, and research projects.
When I was grinding through hours of lab experiments in biochemistry or trying to conceptualize molecular compounds in organic chemistry, it was hard to envision my future in the medical field, especially when struggling with the workload. To be honest, the process feels like a series of hoops to jump through at times. Yet, I found that connecting challenging coursework with the practical health applications of that knowledge made the less interesting material (somewhat) more palatable.
What do I need to do to apply to medical school?
Then, there is the whole behemoth of the Medical College Admissions Test, also known as the MCAT, also known as an insanely long, stress-inducing, 7 hour exam, for which to prepare, you will certainly spend exponentially more hours studying. If the minimum of 11 classes, 8 lab courses, and the MCAT did not sound like enough, this is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to what is needed for a medical school application. Schools love to see leadership, service, and medically-related experience through different activities and real-world action. Is all of this worth it?
The old phrase, “misery loves company,” may seem to define a number of Pre-Meds’ experience, and while some aspects of this may be true, I generally see this as a pessimistic generalization. Yes, there will be tough nights of studying. Yes, you may feel like other people in other majors are “spending way less time in class because you have lab every week” or are “having more fun than you,” but keep in mind that YOU are the one who decided to be pre-med. YOU should be doing it because YOU want to, not because of parental pressure, financial security from being a doctor, or whatever other incentives.
Is it worth it?
To become a doctor, YOU have to find the drive within yourself for the right reasons. The field must be personally meaningful to you, and if it is, it is not so bad. In fact, you will learn material that you do find interesting. You can do research and service work that is appealing to you. Moreover, some of my best friends at Georgetown are people that I have met through Pre-Med classes and medical service work. When you spend as many hours as you do with these people, you build a tight-knit community of cooperative people all striving to become healthcare professionals, ultimately in order to help others.
So, was it all worth it? Yes.
If you have any questions about being a pre-med student, or would like to learn more about course requirements, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org