As a premed student you are preparing to become a doctor of the future. You have chosen medicine because you already know that you want to help those who are sick and that you like studying science.

A future as a physician will allow you to combine a solid academic foundation in science and human biology with the practical work of being a doctor. While you prepare for your future in medicine, you are undoubtedly taking science pre-requisites and studying for the MCAT. Your scores in these classes and exams are certainly a significant part of your groundwork for getting into medical school.

I’m sure that, as an ambitious college student, you also have additional interests and talents. Some of the complementary  activities that many premedical students do to prepare for the medical school application process are internships and summer jobs in the medical field. These experiences can serve to enrich your experience, confirm for you whether you really want to pursue medicine, and enhance your application.

Many young doctors find themselves wanting to pursue non-traditional work in medicine after medical school or residency training. It can be a bit confusing to try to figure out how to break into non-traditional areas like medical technology or healthcare business. Most young doctors are not familiar with the broad array of options available to physicians within the whole realm of health care. The good news is that a medical degree can serve as the entry point to leadership roles in many facets of the  medical field. The key to success in finding your way to innovative areas of medicine is to explore, explore and explore.

As a premedical student you are well positioned to examine any of the interests you have and find ways to combine them with medicine. Global health is an expanding field, as are telemedicine, medical information technology and the use of new,  innovative health care platforms for physician – patient communication. You have the opportunity to attain the most respectable professional degree and use it on any way to choose. Creativity in your career path can change the world for the better. You can use internships and summer jobs now to build connections between medicine and your other areas of interest while you pave the way for your future as a doctor. This time of preparation for medical school is the ideal time to try out different recipes that combine medicine with other disciplines. While you search for summer jobs or internship opportunities, you can often step into exciting experiences or even create your own vision for multidisciplinary learning.

You have the opportunity to attain the most respectable professional degree and use it on any way to choose.

Preparation for the medical school application process can be rigorous, even for the most motivated student. Outside the  classroom, preparation for medical school can be the most enjoyable part, as well as the most likely to distinguish you as a  candidate. At this stage, there is no need to hesitate or feel that a part time job must translate into a long-term identity. It is the perfect time to see what the whole world of medicine has to offer, to enjoy the potential of peering into the future and deciding whether you want to become a doctor, what kind of doctor you want to become, and positioning yourself for a seat in a medical school class and beyond. You can become the doctor that you want to be. When you begin to explore what that means both outside and inside the classroom, you will become a candidate whose application goes beyond numbers and grades, but who has a clear vision of a career as a physician.

About the Autor: Heidi Moawad, M.D., is the author of Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine, an instructional book for doctors who are interested in obtaining non-clinical careers. Dr. Moawad is a neurologist and teaches at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio and is a recipient of the McGregor Course Development Grant Award in Globalization Studies.

This article was published in the November/December 2013 issue of PreMedLife magazine.