People out there have a lot of opinions when it comes to all the careers you can choose, and there’s maybe one career path that triumphs above all in terms of just how many different people have different opinions about it. Your parents, your extended family, your friends – anyone you can name will probably have a word or two about Medicine. The rest of this blog will explore this reason a bit more, because it really is interesting why no one would tell you ‘are you doing engineering for yourself’ but ‘are you doing medicine for yourself’ is something you will hear all the time.
The reason why there are so many differing opinions about medicine is just how unique of a path it is and how unique of a destination it brings you to. There is a reason why the medical school of every university has its own schedule separate to whatever normal semester system the university has. There’s a reason why it is the only degree that has a limit to the number of Commonwealth Supported Places (basically, how many students the government will consider as ‘normal’ students and support with HECs and that – the opposite of a Full-Fee Paying position), why it is one of the few degrees with ‘guaranteed’ internship, why it is one of the few courses with a pass/fail system. It is such a unique path because the position (or positions really – which we will get into a bit later) it offers after university is uniquely rewarding in multiple ways. Because it is so unique, the first thing you need to think about before taking all the steps is to understand why it is that you want to do medicine.
This does not have to be fully thought out. But at least know that reason why – because this reason is essential in allowing you to navigate the endless intricacies of this profession and field of study. You can even want to do medicine to just ‘test the waters’ for the time being – that is completely fine. A lot of people wrongfully say that your reason for doing medicine needs to be fully thought out before you even think about it – but this is just a convenient way for you to dismiss this career path even though it might be very fulfilling for you.
While in your early stages of preparing for UCAT – for example if you are right now finishing up with Year 11 – would be the perfect time to try and explore (physically explore) why you want to do medicine. What does this mean? Go and get experience. This is so underrated and not often emphasized just because of how easy it is to ignore – no one is pressuring you to do it and it is not a requirement for any medical university. However, this is so crucial in allowing you to gain the necessary first-hand knowledge of what medicine is like. A lot of students have very little work experience, if any, especially in an arena where person-to-person interaction is put at such a prominent position. Ideally, this would be to volunteer at a medical centre. However, this is out of reach for a lot of students and so, the next best thing is to do any type of volunteering that involves aged care. There are a lot of opportunities for young people to volunteer at these aged care centers, not as nurses (which a lot of us probably won’t have experience in) but instead as general volunteers as well as companions. This type of experience really puts into perspective what medicine is like in a way that not many other volunteering opportunities can. What if I am not passionate for this kind of cause? No excuses are accepted so here are some ideas:
- Clean-up days?
- Council youth organisations/events (there should be quite a lot in whatever LGA you live in)
- School leadership teams
- Leadership programs
- Public speaking events
- Social work
- Cultural organisations
- Religious organisations
And good luck with the rest of your studying!