How I Became An Emergency Medicine Physician

Authored by: Dru Y.

I finished undergrad and got a job in an environmental consulting firm doing a lot of lab and desk work. It was easy money at the time but I realized that I’m not cut out for only communicating with my equipment and computer 8 hours a day. So I literally bought “What color is your parachute” and I kept coming back to being a physician.

I was also from a VERY poor background, so the idea of medicine at the time seemed great because it would offer as real financial stability that is available (in the US.) I asked my old doctor at student health at my university to lunch so I could ask her about going into medicine (she was the only physician I really knew and she was kind enough to let me talk with her for an hour).

Then I decided to apply – even with only being about 50% certain that I really wanted to go. I had all the pre-recs already and took the MCAT without much study and got pretty good score for no prep. So I applied to one of my state’s medical schools (the one I would really want) and no others. I was assuming I probably wouldn’t get in that first time because everything I had read or heard had told me that you have to apply to a number of schools to have a decent chance. I figured I would do it once, see how the process goes and then if I got to the point that I was 100% certain, I would retake the MCATs to boost my score and apply to multiple schools.

I got an interview where I applied, and I was still working with the idea that I probably wasn’t going to get in. So while I was trying to look my best when I went for an interview, I also took the opportunity that I had to talk to a couple of physicians to pump them for information too. So when they asked if I had questions for them, I fired away. One guy I think I asked him more than he asked me. So I actually left very happy and feeling more convinced I wanted to go to med school. At the end of the day I was about 90% certain. So I bought an MCAT study book and started working through it to retake it and get a higher score.

After a few months, I started planning more about timing for next years application cycle. I started saving money to be able to do the travelling I would need to apply to different schools, getting info on other schools and making my list of where to apply, and I sent off my registration to take the next MCAT.

A week later I got my acceptance letter in the mail.

So I kind of bumbled my way in. It wasn’t totally a matter of not knowing why. I had made lists of pluses and minuses and weighed them carefully. But it wasn’t like i wanted to be a doctor from when I was in kindergarten. In addition, while I wanted to “help people” I’m no Albert Schweitzer. Oddly, I think a lot of my ethos about medicine and serving others came from medical school itself. I have always been a bleeding heart liberal, so when I applied my beliefs and ethical standards to medicine that’s when I got that there is a real responsibility to serve those most in need.

So don’t sweat it if you don’t feel like you think others do (and what everyone writes on their personal statement). More importantly, make sure you go in with your eyes open. Know what’s in store for you, the sacrifices you will need to make (it’s the mother of all delayed gratification) and make the decision whether being a physician is worth it for you

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