A Look Back At Those Early Days As A Pre-Med…

One of the many perks of being a medical student is possessing the (purported) wisdom to guide those who will come after me. When I was in the ranks of those aspiring pre-med students who looked forward to a potential career in medicine, I often wondered how one acquired the kind of eloquence and understanding of what it takes to be in the medical field. While I definitely do not assume the ultimate authority on the importance of things to be done during one’s undergraduate career, I would like to take a stab at the most salient points in this arena by reflecting on my own experiences, hopefully helping out a handful of prospective aspirants who wish to join our ranks in what I believe to be one of the most rewarding professions in the world.

Stay Committed

This goes without saying, but it is still a point that is often underemphasized. The only way for medical schools to assess an applicant’s propensity to stick to the medical field over the long run is by measuring their experience in specific positions on a long-term basis. Whether it is climbing the ranks of a student organization on campus, volunteering with the same high school for the last three years, or writing for The (Almost) Doctor’s Channel once every two weeks (a little self-plug there), all of these activities showcase one’s ability to stay committed to an activity and maintain passion as well as enthusiasm for the same.

Branch Out

On the other end of commitment lies variety, which is found at two particular points in a student’s undergraduate tenure. First, in the journey to finding those select few things that you are really interested in, you have to try out many more things along the way. Only through this experience of opening yourself up to new avenues will you be able to appreciate the kind of stuff out there. Secondly, once you are committed to one or more activities, still keeping your eyes open for new endeavors showcases a sense of open mindedness as well as awareness for the value of something beyond your scope of interest.

Start Early

Lastly, in order to both explore commitments and settle on a few, you need to have a vision. What is it that you hope to achieve through involvement in these opportunities? How can you jump start that process to make sure you have opened your horizons to the greatest degree possible? This is where promptly following up on your commitments pays off in the long run. Those precious four years of college will whip by without concern for aspiring pre-meds. Only through a projection of where you see yourself in a week, a month, a year from now will allow you to make a present that can propel you towards the intended future.

One last word of wisdom for those ambitious many often stifled by anxiety. Know that it is possible to come out the other end. People have done it before you and they will continue to do so even after your time. Know that you are not the only one who is scared. As long as you have a goal and strive to achieve it with a little bit of planning, a tea spoon of enthusiasm, and a pinch of patience, you will survive this for the better.

Make sure to also check out some of med school’s greatest myths:

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Yash Pandya

Yash Pandya is a science writer at The "Almost" Doctor's Channel. He is a rising third-year student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Emergency Medicine with minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. Yash plans on attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Fall 2016 with guaranteed admission. In addition to the usual humdrum of academic involvement, Yash loves to play Ping Pong, catch up on the latest "Big Bang Theory," and travel. Having lived in India for half his lifetime, Yash aspires to expand his horizons into international healthcare by practicing medicine globally.