The best way to succeed in your pursuit of medicine, dentistry, or other healthcare profession is to find your own unique and meaningful path! The thing I see students do All. The. Time. is start doing what everybody else is doing. They heard from so-and-so that THE. WAY. to get in is to do such-and-such, guaranteed! But here’s the real deal. There is no guarantee. Students with great GPAs and great MCAT scores can get denied admissions. …But they researched! And they volunteered! So they’re shoe-ins, right?! They have to be!!! …
The short, but real answer is NO. To be an effective healthcare provider, a person must possess many certain somethings, like qualities: skills, personal attributes, lessons learned, and values embodied. If these are not gained along the journey to applying, the candidate will be hard-pressed to demonstrate the desired qualifications, and therefore, would not likely be a successful applicant. Well-rounded development is key!
Also, depending on what aspect of healthcare you are interested, the qualities you need to possess can vary. For instance, bedside manner seems to become less necessary as you go up the exacting scale in healthcare, like with say, brain surgery. So if people skills aren’t your thing, but you have a detail-oriented, precise nature, perhaps you’d make for a surgeon. But still, you need many other qualities to go along with this.
For the most part, though, most healthcare providers really do need people skills. Can you imagine how uncomfortable going to the dentist would be, if you came across a dentist who lacked a comforting bedside manner?
But so, what else do you need beyond people skills? Well, lots of things. The list of desired personal attributes alone, is quite long, and in truth, rarely does an applicant have ALL of them. So how do you become successful when there is a long list of hopeful qualities and reasonable variability in expectation from one candidate to the next? Well, the best way to make this happen is to be true to you. Go where your heart takes you. If you want to help the elderly, then help the elderly. Do meals-on-wheels. Volunteer in a retirement community. Etc. Or perhaps you like working with children. Then do that. Big Brothers Big Sisters. Ronald McDonald House. Etc. Maybe you had a family member face cancer, and you found yourself drawn to caring for them in their time of need. Ask yourself why, and when you have the answer, find ways to interact with people that match your vibe. Maybe shadow or volunteer in hospice.
See. The thing is. There is no one right answer other than to say to find your own unique and meaningful path!!! When you do that, you should be loving your experiences, and they should be teaching you amazing personal attributes and skills and providing you with relevant lessons learned and even helping you define and understand your values. So if Suzy Q is off volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and that doesn’t just make your heart sing, but you keep thinking how great it would be to make sure that a local, under-served population or community got hot meals along with basic care for living and health needs, then you do that! Whatever calls to you are the things that will make you more you and help you define what is important to you. And when you know yourself better, you have more confidence along with all the other goodness that will come from doing good and helping others, and that is what will shine through. And you will make your success!!!
So be true to you! And if it’s not your thing, then skip it. If it is your thing, then get in there and give it your whole heart and see where it leads you!!!
Make and follow your own unique and meaningful path!!! That’s how you make your success!!!
For more on Personal Attributes, Making Good Choices, having Incredible Experiences and journaling them, 9 Habits of a Successful Pre-health Student, and other excellent topics related to choosing your path, check out the following offerings in the Academy (there are also many more!):
Big Hugs, Happiness, and Success to you, always!
Mary Kate :0)