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What is best for me to do now in high school to work towards my pre-med years?

I am 16 years old, I am a hard worker. My goal in life is to become a surgeon and help people. I always keep good grades and I try my hardest to always show leadership skills. #career #medicine #healthcare #doctor

Thank you comment icon Volunteering at a hospital or healthcare facility as soon as your able to will help you see if this is something you want to do. If you know a doctor, nurse or other provider, many times they will guide you where you can be an observer at the minimum. Once I had a 19 yr. old volunteer that I knew wanted to pursue heath care. With the permission of my cancer patients in an outpatient setting, I had him help people to eat or help them to the restroom. Because we had the privacy of a hospital room and again with the patient's permission, I was able to show him Central lines, mediports, colostromy bags and stomas, rashes, external tumors etc. He actually became a nurse practitioner right about the same time that I did despite the fact that I was 20 yrs. older. Judy Owens

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Cynthia’s Answer

so many paths to figure this out. seek out a mentor advisor counselor or teacher to bounce ideas off of. use a website like https://www.cfnc.org/index.jsp which is a career and college exploration website for North Carolina students. work thru as much as you can. process this with family and friends. use online resources like O*NET which is a federal/ national website to explore career paths. read about medical / health careers. answer lots of questions about why you are interested in this....what are your strengths and weaknesses...find out what these folks need to do to prepare for this career (biology, chemistry, physics, math, writing, psychology, sociology, history, research, study skills, people skills science science skills, working with people, working under pressure, test taking, decision making, etc etc. There are literally hundreds of options in health care. Why a surgeon? Why not a dermatologist or rhematologist or urologist or pharmacist or or or or??? Are you ready for a competative path? How are you at thinking on your feet? Talking to strangers? Remembering tons of details?

Then find ways to work or volunteer in a way that will let you figure out if you like science? people? sickness? Volunteer to help staff a homeless shelter (these are filled with medically fragile folks) or a food bank ? or a elder care program....once it's safe to do so..... look around Raliegh for summer programs related to health care that you could be part of.....with sheltering at home, this is one big research project for yourself that you have plenty of time to do.

Keep a notebook or notes of what you discover, the questions you think of, and other ideas....and remember you might come to the conclusion a surgeon is the perfect path for you....or that it is not....you are in an exploration phase and you don't need/ can;t make a commitment to being a surgeon just yet anyhow....that comes in medical school, after college, after high school. Become a well rounded, empathetic, good person now....the other pieces will come later.
Thank you comment icon I agree! It is so important to find volunteer experiences that will help you build up a resume for colleges and start to gain experience in the field of your passion so you can make sure it is what you are expecting. Athena Bogdanos
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much I will keep your questions in mind and I will make sure I look into cfnc! Ty’Heriya
Thank you comment icon glad to help. reach out if you have follow up questions. remember you will learn from every experience. not always what you thought you'd learn, but you'll learn stuff that's useful. and really look at local food bank for volunteer options for now. ours has several volunteer roles that HS students are helping with. packing food, sorting, no-contact distribution of food...it's a great way to help a very basic service that will be a terrific introduction to a wide range of folks in your community. I also live in a university town and we have a wide range of folks in need from grad students to migrant farm families to elderly to disabled to single parents . Cynthia Goldberg
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Cindie’s Answer

Hi Ty’Heriya. First, I think it's incredibly admirable that you want to go into medicine. You may be lucky and have parents who will be able to help you financially to pay for medical school, but if you're like many who have to take out loans, you must really be dedicated and, truthfully, called to the profession as the cost to become a doctor is significant. Moreover, the time you'll dedicate to the profession is huge. For surgeons particularly, you'll be in your early 30's before you're practicing independently or for a company. So, more than anything, right now, you should be taking inventory of your level of commitment to the profession and recognize the sacrifices you'll make in order to achieve your goal. One of the hardest things for young people to do is grasp that 30 years, though a long time to wait to start doing what you really want to do, will then give you 35+ years to do what you love, to help others in a meaningful way, and to make decent money that you can use to enjoy this great life and to provide for your family. So that's number 1: examine your motivations, document the sacrifices you'll make, and document what you'll have as a result of your sacrifices.

Secondly, if you decide you really want to be a surgeon or medical profession, dedicate yourself to your math and science studies and push hard to be advanced in this area. You will take advanced math and science in college and you must make A's so the more you challenge yourself in high school the more prepared you'll be and it will be easier for you in college.

Finally, realize that all the rigor that you are put through to become a doctor is because doctors make life and death decisions everyday. Even the Internist who seemingly simply prescribes blood pressure medicine, for example, she needs to know what impact that medication can have based on what the patient is currently taking and in context of the patient's other underlying conditions as the medication can cause other problems although it corrects the blood pressure issue. As a doctor, you want to do no harm, first, and then improve. So you are like an athlete in training, learning how to learn, learning how to handle extreme stress, learning how to persevere through tough situations and set backs.

Again, I am so happy that you are considering a career in medicine. My sister is an Internist. She loves her patients and her job as a doctor. She worked really hard to get where she is today and she has touched the lives of many. And, yes, she paid off all her loans and it didn't take her until she was old. :) I wish the same for you.

Warmly,

Cindie
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Carla’s Answer

Take all of the math and science classes your school offers. It will help you greatly when you take math and science in college.
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Richard’s Answer

Take as many AP or IB courses in high school. You have a lot of years of education in front of you and getting college credit in high school can save you time and money.
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Rachel’s Answer

Keep your grades up. In addition to that, just try to excel in the activities that you are doing. If this is sports, then excel in sports. Same goes for a foreign language or a musical instrument. Just time spent practicing and perfecting a craft is helpful in training you to be a highly performing professional.
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