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Careers in Medicine - Do you have what it takes?

Do You Have What it Takes?

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Becoming a doctor takes time. This profession usually requires four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, then three to six years of residency (depending on your specialty). That's an average of twelve years from starting college to practicing medicine. It takes a certain amount of intelligence, but organization and good study habits can make the difference between a mediocre student completeing med school and a brilliant student not getting in at all.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you love learning in general?
  • Do you have true intellectual curiosity about medicine in particular?
  • Do you have a strong desire to help others with their health?
  • Are you able to relate will with all kinds of people?
  • Do you have the perseverance to complete the training?
  • Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get through medical school and residency?
  • How do your abilities and interests align with God's purposes and the world's needs?
  • Has God created a desire within you to be a physician?

As a physician you have an opportunity to help others. Wanting to help others and finding joy in helping others are necessary attributes of a good physician. This is something that cannot be taught. However, if helping others is important to you, but being a doctor is not the right fit, there are many other professions you can consider. Politicians, religious leaders and social workers all have the opportunity to help others and perhaps even in larger numbers.

The many years of preparation, the discipline, the awesome responsibility, the concern about malpractice, and the long hours can take their toll. Medicine is a unique field and it demands a unique person. Calvin College strives to prepare our pre-med graduates for a future of professional excellence as witnesses of Christ's love and compassion who promote biblical principles of healthcare.

If God calls you to be a physician, He will also equip you. If you have a B- average as an undergraduate in the pre-med program, you may need to reconsider what God is calling you to do. When God creates the desire within you, He will open doors for you to follow His calling. God doesn't call you into medicine and then close all the doors of acceptance into medical school. If you believe you are called to become a physician, then you need to do everything you can to respond to that call. Doing everything will include studying really hard, volunteering to get the clinical experience that is necessary, and much more to become a successful candidate for admission into medical school.

Make an appointment with one of Calvin's premedical/dental advisors to discuss this further.

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See what it's really like

For a fascinating glimpse into the real-life experiences of seven doctors, see NOVA Online's special feature, "Survivor M.D."

Becoming a Doctor: A Tough Decision

If you are struggling with whether or not medicine is right for you, there are two things you need to do. First, take a realistic look at what it takes to get there and what the job of becoming a doctor in the U.S. is actually like. Then, listen to God, to yourselves, and to those around you to discern His calling.

Some people have known their entire life that they wanted to become a Doctor. They chose a straight path from high school, through college as a pre-med student and into medical school, never wavering or considering other careers. For others, making the decision can be difficult. They must do some soul-searching, take an unbiased look at the profession, and an objective look at their own personality and abilities.

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