If you’re thinking of studying Medicine…
- Ask yourself why it is that you want to do medicine. Make sure you’re very clear about the pluses and the minuses about a career in medicine and that you can articulate just why you feel medicine suits you and you suit medicine. This is unlikely to be something you realise overnight but will require a lot of honest thought over a long time, and finding out as much as you can about the reality of being a doctor. Hint: money, prestige, or wanting to live a life like that of the characters in ER, House, Scrubs, etc are horribly misguided reasons.
- Give everything you do your best effort – day in, day out. That can be exhausting, and failure can hurt. I know. But you have to come up with ways to deal effectively with both these things.
- Focus on making sure you understand what’s being taught. So-called “competition” can be nasty. Don’t get involved in it. It’s bad karma. If you feel like you’re being dragged into it, just keep the focus on your own learning. Ignoring the idiocy will become second nature. If things get really difficult there are always staff members who can listen and help.
- See university as a fresh start if you feel you haven’t done as well as you’d like previously. With self-discipline, determination, and a whole lot of hard work you can make a total turnaround.
- Get into the habit of clearing up anything you don’t understand in lectures, labs, etc.
- Learning good time and stress management skills is crucial. Try and realise how much stress is too much and have strategies to lower stress.
- You’ll most likely have to sit the UMAT, GAMSAT, or MCAT. In that case start preparing well in advance (at least 4-5 months). If you don’t do well the first time try to work out what went wrong and improve on your weaknesses. That’s a lot easier said than done but giving up is not an option.
- Grades are definitely important but they’re not everything, and I wouldn’t recommend holding an attachment to them. The kind of person you become is far more important. Try to realise the importance of developing and maintaining qualities such as honesty, maturity, humility, kindness, empathy, and devotion to the Supreme Lord.
- Volunteering is a fantastic idea. One of the best things I ever did was volunteer at a local hospital.
- No matter how hard things get, don’t ever give up.
- Pray. Not for something, but just out of love for the Lord and to always keep Him in mind. That’s the single most important advice I could ever give anyone. Ultimately, the purpose of a person’s life doesn’t rest on what career they end up in but in their relationship with the Lord so don’t lose that perspective.
All the best.