7 Questions to Ask Yourself before Deciding to Study Medicine ...

Deciding to study medicine is no small choice. It means spending several years studying and perfecting your craft, so that one day you might hold someone's life in your hands. If studying medicine has always intrigued you, and you're about to enter college as pre-med, make sure you ask yourself these crucial questions.

1. Why?

"Why?" Is probably the most important question you can ask yourself before deciding to become a doctor. Are you in it for the money? Or the prestige? Have your parents pressured you? Is your heart in the right place? There are a lot of answers to the "why" question, so be honest with yourself and trust your inner voice. The world needs selfless, passionate doctors who genuinely want to make a difference. Is that really you?

2. How?

There's nothing cheap about med school, so the next question you should tackle is probably "How do I intend to pay for my education?" You have other options if you want to be in the medical field; you could attend nursing school instead of becoming a doctor, which would save you time and money. If medicine really attracts you, make sure you don't have your head on the clouds and that you think about how you will make your dream a reality.

3. How Long?

Some people really enjoy their higher education, whereas others are eager to plunge into a career. Determine what type you are, and you'll quickly discover how long you are willing to wait to get your own job. Until you have a steady career, you may not get that taste of sweet independence you've been craving since freshman year of high school. Is becoming a doctor worth the wait for you?

4. What?

Once you decide that medicine is the path your life is meant to take, you'll have to consider something further, so you might as well begin considering the next question now: What type of doctor do you want to be? Do you want to be a pediatrician, or an ER surgeon who deals with life and death emergencies every day? Do you want to be a plastic surgeon or an ophthalmologist? The door into the medical field is wide open, so make sure that there is a niche for you where you'd enjoy working before you step right in.

5. Which?

Sometimes we get an idea so stuck in our heads that it impedes our ability to think of anything else. But, if you're about to make a major decision regarding your life and career, you should ask yourself "Which other career path might be right for you besides medicine?" Maybe your heart is somewhere else, and you're actually meant to be a professor, lawyer, or engineer. You'll never know unless you ask yourself this critical question.

6. Who?

As young women, sometimes we forget who number one is—ourselves! You've been surrounded by parents, relatives, and mentors your whole life who have been there to steer you in a certain direction. But when it comes to deciding on a career path, you need to remember that ultimately this choice will affect one person the most. You have to consider your own happiness first; but sometimes your happiness is dependent on the happiness and pride of your parents. The decision is all yours, of course, but remember to weigh the pros and cons of pursuing medicine. Ask "Who will this decision affect?" and "Is it your family’s decision or your own?"

7. Where?

Before you decide what you'll do, it's important to think of where you'll be doing it. Do you want to run your own clinic, work for a hospital, or go abroad to serve patients in an impoverished country? Make sure the medical field will allow you to work where you want, and that you get the supplemental training (ie: business or a second language) to accomplish what you want in your field.

One of the most admirable jobs someone can take on is being a doctor, in my opinion. That being said, it isn't a decision to be taken lightly. After asking yourself these questions, do you still want to be a doctor? What other important questions should pre-med students ask themselves?

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