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Pursuing a career in medical field

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Author: Aprill Park is a rising senior at University of Michigan with a minor in the STAMPS Art School. She is pursuing a BS in Bio-psychology, Cognitive Science, & Neuroscience.

Here is Aprill’s advice to students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.

How to help middle schoolers start thinking and dreaming about their future in the medical field?

If a student is interested in pursuing a future in the medical field, it is important to take the first step in educating yourself more on the different opportunities available in the field. The health field is vast, and it is built from a growing network of people working a variety of roles. The most efficient way to learn more about the field is to expose yourself to as many different people and opportunities in the health field as possible. This exposure is possible through volunteering; it is important to dedicate your time to volunteering at all kinds of organizations--not just the ones that you are initially interested in. You should even pursue opportunities that may not interest you at first; you may enjoy the opportunity more than you thought you would have! These experiences will become valuable learning opportunities for you as you spend your time learning from your peers and dedicating your time to giving back to the community.

What skill sets do they need to develop?

I believe that for any student, curiosity is one of the most important skills to have in order to maximize a student’s learning experience. Questioning the world around you invites room for growth; there is no limit to how much you are able to learn. In addition, an important skill for a student, who is interested in the medical field, to pursue is time management. This skill does not just apply to homework or studying; it applies to all activities in your day. As a student becomes older and advances to higher levels of education, it is only natural for the student to face an increase in demands. It is important to know how to manage your time, so you can focus your attention on your priorities in an efficient manner. Lastly, another important skill is mindfulness. To be mindful is to acknowledge and to consider everything around you. The quality of mindfulness allows you to regulate your thoughts and emotions. It also enables you to be less judgmental towards yourself, your peers, and everything occurring around you.

What types of things they must like to cultivate their interest in the field of medicine?

It is important, especially in 2020, for students who pursue the medical field to stay informed with the current events. Students should learn not just from their peers and family members, but they should make time to read news articles and published research articles to learn about the world and all the events unraveling around them. COVID-19 has impacted the entire globe in 2020, and this year will remain as a large opportunity for people to learn about how to progress forward, not just with medical research, but with the country’s healthcare system in general. I also inform students to obtain knowledge about the field from books and/or videos. Learning more information about the professional field you are interested in will provide you with more insight into what the field entails.

What subjects should they be interested in studying to pursue their interests in a good premed undergrad program?

After middle school comes high school, and in high school you are offered the opportunity to focus your schedule with classes that interest you. If you are interested in pursuing a future in the medical field, it is important to begin your path with high school science classes. These include biology classes, chemistry classes, and physics classes. In addition, it is just as important to be comfortable with mathematics, particularly calculus, and statistics, as these classes will teach you valuable content that will prove useful to you in the future. To prepare for the rigor of undergraduate college/university, it is important to challenge yourself with difficult classes as well. Honors and advanced placement (AP) classes will push you to work your hardest, and the workload will resemble what you experience in college. Not only will these classes teach you important content, but they will also teach you how to study efficiently and how to utilize as many resources as you can.

Starting from their middle school, what extracurricular activities they should pick up to support their goals of getting into a good pre-med undergraduate program in college?

I began my volunteering experience by assisting employees at local food drives in both Maryland and D.C. Afterwards, my volunteering experience began to expand to different organizations including animal shelters and local rescue barns. Once my interests began to narrow, I focused a large amount of my time volunteering at Holy Cross Hospital; my hours volunteering at the hospital gave me insight to my interests in pursuing the medical field. As a pre-medical student myself, I highly encourage students in middle school and high school to donate their time to local hospitals and nursing homes. Not only is this a great way to learn more about and gain skills in the field, but it is a valuable experience where you are able to dedicate your time to provide the best healthcare to the patients. In addition, I also encourage students to become involved with as many fundraising or volunteering clubs at their schools. Many national organizations may be present at school in the form of a club; for example, Relay for Life is an organization that works closely with the American Cancer Society, and it is usually present as a club in high school. I also encourage you to start your own club with your peers. This experience will provide you with leadership skills that will assist you in both college and other opportunities later in life. Lastly, I recommend students who are interested in the medical field to join their school’s science honor society; this organization will provide you with a community that is just as interested in science as you are. When I was in high school, I found that the science honor society was one of the sources of my motivation and resources.

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