Everyone has their own path to their career, whether it being in medical school, graduate school, law school, or some other sort of professional school. Though, I kept telling myself that, I have been feeling kind of anxious within the past couple of months because I felt behind in my career. It’s actually been about a month into my gap year, and in all honesty, I don’t regret taking a gap year because my love for pursing medicine have soared. So here are a few things that I have learned thus far:
1.)Explore, Explore, Explore-
We know so much about so little. Our knowledge on certain aspects are superficial. In fact, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m still finding out my interests, my quirks, so on and so forth. Thus, when I mean explore, I don’t mean to just explore the world, but explore your interests– your likes/dislikes. Taking a gap year is a time for introspection. Moreover, growth. So step out of your comfort zone, and do things that you would never expect to do. For instance, I enjoy being active– hiking, running, heading to the gym, yoga, you name it. But never have I ever expected to train for a half marathon, and honestly I enjoy it: the intensity, discipline, and challenge gets me going.
2.) Further your interest in medicine
I strongly believe that anything can be tied into medicine. However, there is still a stigmatism that “Pre-health students just have to focus on science.” In fact there are so many layers that contributes so much to medicine. What I’m saying is that you don’t have to give up your interest in medicine, solely combine them. For instance, if you’re interested in art, maybe you can volunteer at a hospital to teach patients art, or if you’re interested in a sport, possibly volunteer as a coach if you have time. The bottom line is that you don’t have to trade your interest or hobbies, solely combine them.
As for me, I have always been interested in International Medicine and Global Health. Specifically, I want to understand why certain diseases are more prevalent towards a specific population, why certain people acquire it, and why others don’t. With that said, I have chosen to partake on a medical mission to further learn more about how culture plays a significant amount towards health outcomes. Below is a list of organization/medical mission that I stumbled upon, and sound like a good use for those of you interested:
- Child Family Health International (CFHI)
- Foundation of International Medical Relief of Children (FIRMC)
- DO Care International
- Atlantis Global
- International Medical Relief
If we didn’t get into medical school straight through, there’s always something that we can improve upon when applying. That being academics, volunteer work, shadowing experience, etc. As for me, one of my biggest improvement that I need to do for my application is to strengthen my academic portion. Though I graduated with a double degree (B.S Biology and B.A English), I’m kind of embarrassed to say this, but my GPA is definitely not where I want it to be. With that said, I’m applying for a post-bacc program.
In all honesty, there are so many things to do in a gap year. I think the main thing is to not lose hope for a career in medicine. Just because you didn’t go straight through to medicine after undergraduate does not mean that you won’t get in. Everyone’s path to medicine is different, just don’t lose sight of the prize. 🙂