Pre-Med tips

Hello. My name is Joel Patterson and I will be completing my undergraduate degree with concentrations in Chemistry and Journalism from Mercer University this May. Upon acceptance at Mercer University in Macon, Ga, I like many other pre-medical track students had been forced to believe that majoring in biology was the only appropriate degree path to get into medical school. Data from sites such as the aamc.org showed that students that had successfully matriculated into medical school had obtained degrees in biology. This train of thought had serious implications especially after I had just barely made it through the 5-hour-biology-introductory course. I realized early on that a degree in biology wasn’t necessarily for me. On top of this realization I had a friend back home to graduate with a biology degree in hopes of going to medical school. She didn’t get accepted and she now worked at McDonald’s due to the difficulty of finding a job in her field. Luckily I was proactive about this huge decision. On top of medical education conferences, I sought out on campus resources to help decide which major I would choose. As I attended more conferences and asked more medical school students, I came to the conclusion that I could gain access to medical school with any degree. But on that same note, I was advised that individuals that do not major in the sciences have a more difficult time in the first year of medical school. Although I have gained insight into some of the skills necessary to gain access to medical school, I have postponed my application. One of the essential skills one can gain from a biology degree is simple memorization. The majority of biology courses require you to memorize vast amounts of information in short periods of time, similar to medical school learning. With this being said, I am not suggesting completely ruling out biology as a major, considering it is my minor. I am simply suggesting that you also consider your other interest and their applicability in the event that you don’t matriculate into medical school. I have no doubt that you are capable of achieving whatever it is that you set your mind to, but I am also a realist and I am aware that things don’t always go as planned. My journalism and chemistry degree provides a wide range of career options in the event that I do not decide to attend medical school. In my final year as an undergrad, I have seen many of my pre-med peers change majors and career paths for various reasons. Be realistic in your decision-making. If you hate science, a career in medicine may not be for you.The path to medical school is not an easy one. Many obstacles stand in the way especially the infamous organic chemistry course, which is a known roadblock course for pre-med students. It is difficult but not impossible. If you don’t comprehend any of the above verbiage that I have expressed to you, I do admonish you to take into consideration this one key cliché. Whatever major you decide to undertake, be sure that it is driven by your passion. Not only will you enjoy it, but also you are likely to excel and have a better GPA standing when you are applying to medical school. Good Luck.

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