You’re about to complete your graduate studies in about a year or so, and it starts to occur to you: what next? Postgraduate studies in the same subject, something else, or a sabbatical? And that’s when the long-hidden idea begins to lurk in your mind, how about opting for the health sciences?
You know how these things work. You juggle school, GAMSAT practice and your life, sit the test, ace it, rock the interviews and waltz your way into a prestigious curriculum of a prestigious university. But think again. Do you really know the deal? Being a med student is no joke, and easily sets itself apart from students of other courses, something that is no less emphasised by the fact that med students at the end of a year look significantly, well, different from other students.
But jokes apart, life changes. A lot.
For starters, work hours are long.
And I mean humongous long. Contact hours are longer, lecture notes are of mammoth proportions and way too many essays have to be written and practicals to be prepared for. You might find yourself very, very sleep-deprived and/or immensely strung on loads of caffeine.
There’s a lot to do.
Yes, a whole lot. Endless lecture notes you must keep track of and imbibe. Say good bye to procrastination, for leaving anything for next week will lead you to fall hopelessly behind the curriculum. You’re going to be on the run, constantly, from classes to practicals, and from writing assignments to studying notes.
You will spend. A lot.
And not only in terms of money. Sure, studying medicine can be expensive, and you will find yourself tightening your purse strings about other matters. It takes up more time than other courses, too. But on the brighter side, you will recover all the costs, with some left over, once you start practising. The health sciences guarantee a decent living with an honest day’s work.
It’s highly competitive.
It’s likely that so far, you have excelled, but in a motley group of varying academic performances. Once you gain admission to a med school, however, the scenario changes significantly. Here, your peers have solved as many, if not more, GAMSAT questions as you have, and aced the highly competitive entrance test. So, you will find it much tougher to keep yourself ahead of the lot than you did earlier.
It’s a lot of pressure.
True. There are a hundred deadlines to meet, for submitting assignments, preparing yourself for the practicals and what not. Besides, you also have to work on your personal development, that is, your soft skills- communication, presence of mind, decision-making etc, all the while keeping up with the regular coursework. But this is, in essence, preparation for the gruelling life of a doctor. Once you step out of school with your degree, you will be stepping into one of the most rewarding and respected professions in the world.
Which means, it’s all worth it.
That’s the bottom-line. It might all look rather too much to handle from where you stand today, but this thought will perk you up as you feverishly solve GAMSAT practice questions late into the night: what you will learn in those coming years will stay with you for the rest of your life. As a doctor, you will actually be applying what you learn every waking hour of the day, for the rest of your life. That’s rarely true for students of other disciplines.