I was set on a career in medicine since I was a junior in high school. I took this incredible vocational pre-med course with an immensely passionate teacher and I thought I had found my calling. However, the college was a wakeup call from my high school curriculum. These are the red flags that made me change my major as a sophomore in college from Health Science Pre-Med to a double major in Brain and Behavioral Sciences and Communication.
1. You excelled in high school A&P but now college-level A&P is draining your body and soul
Look. I was top of my class in Anatomy and Physiology. I loved it- ate it up. At the end of the semester, we dissected a cat (NOTHING will EVER erase the memory of that smell) and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My favorite body system was the nervous system and I was dead-set on going into neurology once I got into med school. Now fast-forward to college anatomy. Guess what? It's fast-paced, and it's a hell of a lot more physiology than anatomy. Hope you like cellular processes. You are expected to know the nitty-gritty of every system of the body. This class is also incredibly demanding; 1-2 hours of studying A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK. I. AM. NOT. JOKING. Of course, this is if you are shooting to get an A in the course, which is an expectation of medical school I might add.
2. You HATE Chemistry
I will say this is not quite the end-all; I know a lot of pre-meds that prefer biology to anatomy. However, if you are like me, and Gen Chem is just the worst part of your week every week and you struggle with it, aside from disliking it, I will tell you right now Orgo is not going to save you. Don't even get me STARTED on Biochem...
3. You're more passionate about your extracurriculars than your major (and they don't really correlate...)
My big wakeup call came from my parents and my sister, who I call weekly. In the spring of my freshman year, I got involved with the orientation program, Boiler Gold Rush. I continued and expanded my involvement in my sophomore year and it's taken up a great deal of my free time. I love it and I am super passionate about it so I would talk to my sister and parents about it. At some point this semester, they commented that I talk about this program a lot but I never talk about my major anymore... Student Orientation and a career as a Physician really don't have anything to do with each other. This is big. Pay attention to the things you are passionate about and like to talk about!
4. It doesn't sound "fun"
This may be the most important point I make. Whenever I thought about medicine, I wanted to do it because it seemed like the right thing to do, I was pretty interested in it, there was a demand, and it was a respectable career that my parents and family would be proud of. If you notice, nowhere in there did I say it would be FUN (what???). Pursue a career in something that makes you wake up every day and say, "Wow, people want to pay me to do this?! How lucky am I?!" If you can't say this, you will never be satisfied, no matter how much money you make.
5. You're in it for the money/prestige/white coat/whatever
This goes back to my last point. If you just want to be a doctor to say you're a doctor so you can flex on everyone, don't.
6. You just want to be a hero
I love altruism as much as the next person but you can't save everyone. And there are plenty of other ways you can help people and make the world a better place, you don't have to be a doctor to make an impact.
7. You don't like the idea of 10+ more years of school
Pretty self explanatory. It doesn't get any easier.
8. You are skipping your major classes and your grades are suffering
You hate to admit it but getting to your 12:30 Health Science lecture is becoming a chore so sometimes you just.... don't go. Bad sign. Go to class! But also, pay attention to the classes you are excited to attend. For me, it was my sociology class; attendance wasn't even mandatory, I just really liked the class.
9. Your plan of study makes you want to cry
Biochemistry ???? Yeah, enough said. Rethink this one.
10. You have learned about another career path that makes you excited about school again
What?? It's a major that you *gasp* enjoy?! Do you like the plan of study?? You are now daydreaming about future-you doing cool stuff that is fun and yeah, maybe it's not Dr. You in a white coat calling the shots, but you seem happy?? Chase it. Pursue it with everything you've got.
As a second semester sophomore, I have found what I think to be is my true career path. It is something that is going to be satisfying, worth the education, and most importantly, I will be happy.
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