Posts tagged decision

Part 1: Knowing Yourself

At some point in the natural order of things, you begin to realize that the journey to medicine is not as straightforward. There was once upon a time when being a doctor meant knowing everything about everything. In this day and age, that has become an impossibility.

With that in mind, you reach the crossroads for a second time: what should I do with my life?

There are many ways to conceptualize the thinking process but it always boils down to three simple questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Do I want to work with your hands?
  2. How comfortable am I not knowing the full picture?
  3. Do I want to know a narrow and deep well of knowledge or a wide and shallower pool of knowledge?

For example, someone who enjoys working with his hands, is comfortable not knowing the full picture and likes a wide but shallower pool might be better suited for emergency medicine.

These three questions are fundamental to understanding where your values and interests lie. As your education progresses, take a moment to reflect. You might be surprised how often and how dramatically things change.

The most crucial time to consider these questions is in the clinical year. Consider how your newfound experiences change or reinforce your choices. 

This becomes important when choosing your fourth year electives.


Making the Match
Part 1: Knowing Yourself

Part 2: Choosing Electives
Part 3: Understanding CaRMS
Part 4: References
Part 5: Research and preparation
Part 6: Creating a schedule
Part 7: Travel planning
Part 8: Interviewing
Part 9: Ranking

  • Spreadyawings: That surgeon question is the bomb!, I’ve been asking myself the same question, but I have a few years to make up my mind.
  • There are number of ways to thin the list and when you use them all together it can really help narrow things down. "Do you want to be a surgeon?" is one; "Do you want to work with your hands and how comfortable are you with not knowing the answer?" is another. The newest one I am using is the depth of knowledge approach. "Do I see my future practice as a wide or a tall rectangle along the spectrum of knowledge?"

Reinventing the Third Year Medical Student by Dr. Pauline Chen

As I mentioned before, I had some very important decisions to make about my upcoming year. The third year of medical school is exciting and exhilarating but also simultaneously intense and gruelling. This is when we really begin our journey to become competent clerks.

I had the privilege of having choices beyond the classical rotation structure. The integrated clerkship model is one that our faculty has tinkered with and explored for some time. I was interested though unsure about how well this program would fit for me. But after having visited the clerkship sites and spoken with the students and directors, I was thoroughly enamoured with the integrated clerkship’s philosophy and comprehensive care model. 

I am pleased to say that after a very anxious and lengthy application process, I have chosen to go through the integrated clerkship stream for third year.

While I have chosen a fresh trail at this crossroad in my life, I expect an equal or perhaps even richer wealth of experiences on this next leg of my journey.

Read the article to learn more about the drive for integrated clerkships.

I can tell you that we thought that you would do exceptionally well there. It is of my opinion you will succeed anywhere you go for clerkship and beyond.
The third year clerkship director giving me his opinion on my current options and providing me some motivation to believe in my own ability to succeed regardless of my choice.

Building Houses by Wesley Jensen.

11:26. I received an email that, depending on how I choose to answer, will dictate the next year of my life. A lot has changed in the last three months, including my feelings about my available options for third year. I will have to weigh the balances again and choose carefully. I have until Monday.

Decisions, decisions…

As the days tick by, we slowly enter the transition period from second year to third year, a transition from the student to the clerk, a transition from the academic to the clinical.

It has been an indecisive and difficult start.

Creeping up fast are the site rankings for our summer rural rotation. The deadline? Tomorrow at midnight. A month will be spent at a rural site to gain exposure to rural medicine and family practice in the context of isolation. This is an important experience for any up and coming doctor, especially those who have grown up in sprawling urban jungles for most of their lives.

Perhaps most crucial at this point is the choice between a classical rotation and an integrated clerkship model for third year. My choice will dictate a whole year’s worth of learning.

Two weeks ago, I boarded a plane to visit one of these integrated clerkship sites, to see if I found it suitable to my learning style. It was exciting but left me unsure of myself. After speaking with the students there and seeing how the program was run, it seemed like a challenging program. I was reassured that everyone feels that way initially and that everyone eventually slips into the role. 

Recently, I went to visit my second site of interest. The program there had a different personality, one that I felt resonated more with who I am and how I learn. However, there were again pros and cons to this site that placed it on equal footing with the other site I visited.

The problem now is how I must weigh these points, and if they are truly relevant. I must not lose sight of why I expressed interest in the integrated clerkship in the first place: to learn; that is what must guide my choices in this matter.

It is a decision that I must not make lightly.

I will think about it.

After attending a series of university fairs, I noticed that all universities appeared to be saying the same thing, with regards to their medical schools: One does not need to study Life Science in their undergrad years (or complete a BSc. for that matter) in order to be accepted. Most claimed the MCAT score was of more importance. My question is, is this true? Could I study business in my undergraduate years and still get into medical school? How exactly do systems like this work? — Asked by Anonymous

Well anonymous, I cannot say with certainty that the MCAT score is more important. That is really the choice of the school to assign that weight. However, the former statement is definitely true. You do not need to study life sciences in order to go into medical school. I have actually two classmates who studied business before going into medical school, one who came from creative writing, and another who came from industrial design.

The way this works is that you must have at least completed their pre-requisite courses. These might include chemistry and biology etc. and would have to be taken as electives. Each university has their own requirements.

eljefedelosreyes adds: “Regarding that anon about undergraduate work, I want to personally say that I came from a Latin American/Caribbean History and Economic Policy Analysis background. Worked out :)”

I am trying to decide my major for college next year for undergrad since I want to go to medschool after. What did you major in and would you suggest that major in preparation for medschool? — Asked by Anonymous

I started off studying life sciences as my major before entering pharmaceutical sciences. I think that it certainly had its advantages since I had a better background in pharmacology and drug actions. Would I suggest it? That is a matter of opinion. I think there are other great majors that are also very great such as kinesiology and physiology that are equally relevant and useful in medicine. However, I subscribe to the idea that while there are some majors that have more application in medicine, every major brings something unique to the table. As a whole, having that diversity of backgrounds is a strength in the world of medicine.