When I applied to medical school, I did so with the intention that I wanted to deliver babies. I wanted to do Obstetrics and Gynecology because I had this preconceived idea of what it was like to be in Ob/Gyn without a lot of exposure to the field. As my 3rd year went along, I became interested in almost every specialty that I did a rotation in. I realized that I loved everything and could honestly see myself doing anything. Something I wish I had done was work with different doctors during my 1st and 2nd year in medical school so that I would have a better idea of what my interests are. This is the same thing for undergrad students, it is important for you to get exposure to medicine by shadowing doctors to make sure that you really want to do medicine. The idea of medicine may sound pretty awesome to you in theory but the practice of it may not attract you at all. It would be better to figure out whether or not you actually like medicine before you commit to a significant amount of years and a lot of loan money.
Some of you may be thinking, well I already have done some shadowing experience and I love medicine…. now what? Well, it is great that you enjoy medicine but it still would not hurt to get some more shadowing experience maybe in different specialties just to wet your feet a little bit. It will not only look good on your medical student applications but it will also help you when you are deciding on what you want to do with your life during your 3rd and 4th year. It is a win-win situation if you think about it.
Lastly, I know premeds like to think that more is better and that is not necessarily true. If you are shadowing a doctor say for example who is in Internal Medicine and you are really enjoying it, I would not necessarily recommend stopping that shadowing experience just to switch to another. If you shadow in one area and happen to really not like it, don’t let that discourage you from medicine all together because there are many different types of doctors and you are bound to find a type you like. Basically, take the time to learn about medicine before blindly jumping into it.