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How do I know if premed is right for me?

I am planning on going to undergrad for premed to study to become an orthopedic doctor. I know that it can be a difficult major sometimes, and require a lot of work. #medicine #doctors #career-counseling

Thank you comment icon I am a 3rd year undergrad who was premed for 2 years and eventually pursued a different path. I'd say-- ask yourself why you want to become a doctor. Shadow doctors and see if you like their job. Know what it takes to become one. Do you think becoming a doctor is worth the work? Premed is only the first of many steps towards a career in medicine. You'll push through and enjoy the process if you are truly interested. Also, premed is not a major at most universities. What's your intended major? While a lot of premeds major in biology, many students get into medical school with other majors. Also, do you enjoy biology and chemistry? You will be doing a LOT of these classes for premed, regardless of your major. If you hate these subjects, you probably won't enjoy being premed very much. Amy

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Desiree’s Answer

Hi Grace - I was a Biology undergrad. I think it's great that you're looking into a pre-med curriculum! We need more women in science!! And you are correct, it will challenge you. But just because something is hard, doesn't mean it's not worth it.

The great thing about Biology as a major is that you can go so many directions with it - to med school, to vet school, to be a biochemist, to be a research scientist or geneticist, etc., etc. It's a great way to test how much you like the fundamentals that will prepare you for a career as orthopedic doctor - but also open many doors to other careers as well. (I graduated with a dual BS in Marine Science and Biology - and have a career now as an attorney!)

Of course, many people change their undergrad majors, too. If the first year as a biology student doesn't suit you, you can consider other majors. You can take comfort in knowing you've completed your math and science electives (and thus not wasted time/credits) if your decide to pursue English or History or Political Science or whatever. Don't feel trapped by your major your first year - your still learning about all the world has to offer.


If science and lab work interests you in High School and you are getting good grades in those courses, then I'd encourage you to follow your dreams. And, if you decide you want to change paths, you will have the flexibility to do so in your first year.

Desiree recommends the following next steps:

Research the prerequistes for medical school (including ungraduate majors, required course work, admission tests, etc)
Biology (and Chemistry) can lead to many other exciting careers outside of becoming a doctor, so be open to other careers
Research the education required to become an orthopedic doctor (undergrad, medical school, orthopedic residency, fellowship, etc.)
Make a roadmap to become a orthopedic doctor - but check-in with yourself often to ensure that the plan, those requirments, that objective are still what you want.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the helpful suggestions! I think mapping things out and being open to another pathway is very important. Grace
Thank you comment icon Best of luck to you! I hope you are happy and successful in whatever path you choose. Desiree Giler Mann
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Xavier’s Answer

Create a Pros and Cons list. I always say: your career is your calling, you cannot force upon yourself. If premed coursework comes naturally to you then it's your calling, rest will be sheer hardwork and dedication but if you are struggling with basic foundational concepts, then this path may not be right one for you.

Happy Trails!
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Grace
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