Discovering My Passion For Medicine: A Journey From Journalism To Medicine

November 1

Table of Contents

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Finding your passion within medicine looks different for everyone…

Whether you always knew you wanted to be a doctor, or you chose to go back to school after already completing undergrad, everyone’s journey is unique and equally special in its own way. 

Despite the differences in our stories, our journeys converge as we all commit to the humbling and rewarding path of medicine. 

With all of her experience after navigating the premed route as a non-bio major student, Emily’s gone ahead and made our newest video about:

➡️ "Discovering Your Passion For Medicine: A Journey From Journalism To Medicine" ⬅️

If you're looking for advice from someone who's been where you are not too long ago to give you the push you need to get through your current step in the premed process, you should definitely watch Emily’s video here or by reading her commentary below 👇 !

Why I Chose Journalism Alongside Medicine

I didn't start out as premed or even in a field particularly related to medicine. If you too came to medicine a little bit later in college or maybe even after college, this might just sound a bit familiar. 

Hi, I'm Emily from MedLife Mastery, and there are two things you should know about me for the rest of this story to make sense. 

First, I am a deeply curious person- that motivates a lot of the next steps in the story. And secondly, I have a bit of perfectionist tendencies for better or for worse. 

Now, at some point, trying to combine those two parts of my personality was somewhat inevitable, and where better to apply them to than journalism?

Not only is the field completely built on asking questions, therefore great for my curiosity, but there are also entire groups of people whose job is to ensure that the grammar, formatting, and factual accuracy of a piece are completely correct before anything ever gets published. 

I became deeply involved with journalism in high school, and I loved it. And when it became time to apply for college, it just seemed like a natural path

But I know I wanted to write about something specific. I wanted to write about something that could help people. 

The Need for Better Communication in Science

I've always thought one thing we need a lot more of is good science communication in this country. So I decided that I was going to go to school and I was going to learn how to write about that science. And to do that, I needed to learn the science.

And so I applied to school for engineering, knowing that would teach me the science I could then write about. It is painfully clear upon reflection that I should have known what came next. I fell in love with research and the science behind engineering. 

Now, remember how I'm really curious? If I thought journalism asked a lot of questions- oh boy did research blow my mind! And then I also have those perfectionist tendencies. Nobody prizes accuracy and precision about a researcher. And if those things alone were enough to convince me that research was a better fit for me than journalism, all I had to do was look at the subject matter. 

Now, like everyone else at my school, I started out on a general engineering track, but no other majors stood a chance once I learned about biomedical engineering.

I adore medical science. As a deeply curious person, I always wondered about the worlds around me and tried to puzzle out how every moving thing I encounter works. But it wasn't until someone introduced me to biomedical engineering that I realized I could ask the same sorts of questions about the human body. 

Things like, how does light enter my eyes and go to my brain and show me the world around me? And I love biomedical science so much that I remember what feels like every single detail from my first biomedical engineering lecture. It was at 9:30 AM on a Tuesday, and my professor opened class with a clip.

He told us that structure determines function. And then he backed it up with a piece of evidence. He told me that a woodpecker's tongue wraps around their brain to prevent them from getting concussions during high speed collisions. The same collisions that occur when a woodpecker slams their head to a tree truck. 

I was completely and totally hooked.

Why Research?

I realized that I wanted to actually get my hands on the science and not just write about it. And so after looking at various labs in my school, I ended up with a position in a molecular physics lab-bio-medical engineering lab.

It was fascinating. I loved the process of research, and I learned so much about how to be a professional and how to collaborate on a team. And as any researcher will tell you, there's a bit of a catch with research questions. They're an awful lot like the myth of a creature, hydra, because when you answer one research question or chop off one head, two seem to grow back in place. 

And rather than satiating my curiosity, it ended up only feeding it. And from this experience, I learned that I didn't just want to ask and answer questions. I wanted to do something with the answers I was getting. 

I thought maybe a different research subject would solve this problem. And so I tried a couple of different things. I shadowed in a cardiac biomechanics lab and learned about the heart as a whole. Then I shifted to a device design project studying pregnancy biomechanics. And it was in this pregnancy biomechanics project that I finally confirmed that I wanted to move from Bebich to Klingon. 

You see, I had the phenomenal opportunity to identify an unmet clinical need and attempt to address it. And I found a need I wanted to address in complicated pregnancies.

And I recruited some physicians to act as clinical advisors on this project and teach me more about their day to day interactions with the patients that have this issue. And as I was in clinic observing the current state of medicine, something just seems to click.

Why Medicine?

I feel more awake in the clinic, and I feel sharper and more alert. And that in itself really indicated something, and it happened for a reason. Not only was my clinical advisor using the medical science that I love so dearly, but he was applying it to yield real worlds, real time results that made an actual difference.

On top of that, it was extremely collaborative. He was constantly interacting with the other members of the healthcare team, with patients, with researchers like me. It was fascinating to see, and I realized that I missed that constant collaboration, and I really thoroughly enjoyed that supportive, interactive environment that was being created. 

Now, I'm sure both journalism and research were able to satisfy my curiosity to a degree, but medicine gave it a direction and a purpose. And while both journalism and research rewarded my attention to detail, it felt more immediate and impactful in the medical sense.

I didn't start out as premed or even in a field particularly related to medicine, but medicine is able to satisfy my curiosity. It rewards my attention to detail, and it allows me also to see a real-world impact, something I'd always hoped I would be able to see from my work. 

Now I got to medicine by following my passion, my interest, my proclivities, and my heart, and seeing where it took me. But I never would have gotten there without the wonderful advisors I had who gave me honest feedback and true wonderful support. 

You see, no one in my family ever worked in medicine in any capacity, and it was my advisors who helped me explore this possibility and helped me explore what it would mean if I were to go down this route

They were always there and they always had my back. And that was especially necessary when I found myself halfway through college, I found myself seriously considering medical school, and I had not taken any of the prerequisites that I really needed to supplement my biomedical engineering degree and get into medical school. I didn't know if I had the time to do the work I needed to do, and even if I had the time, I didn't know if I'd be any good at it. I was nervous. 

Having a Strong Support System in Medicine

Thankfully, I had the support network in place of my mentors to help me through the process, but I still had to do the work. I still had to take the classes and to study for the MCAT. I had to figure out the application process and write all of the many, many essays involved.

It was worth it. 

I think a lot of people feel alone and feel nervous and feel scared when they're studying for the MCAT. I think it becomes an isolating experience to want to apply to medical school and to want to consider it. But I don't think anyone should ever feel alone.

I think we should feel somewhat comforted by the fact that it's such a universal feeling for people to have. I knew that I wanted to pass on what I've learned. I wanted to be a support system for others the way that my mentors have supported me, and that's how I found myself here at MedLife Mastery. 

If you also want to consider us as part of your support network, you can browse our website to learn a little more. If you feel nervous and are not sure what you want to do about it, just take heart and that feeling nervous is a good sign.

As one of my advisors once told me, "being nervous means that you're shooting high enough". I think it means that you're dreaming big, and I'm proud of you for doing that. 

We’ve Got Your Back

Not only is the journey to becoming a doctor a long and challenging one, the decision of whether or not you want to move forward on this journey is almost as difficult!

But you know what? All of us at MedLife Mastery think it’s so worth it! 

Just like Emily, we feel such a strong sense of fulfilment that comes with helping other people and making a real difference in the world and if that sounds good to you too then maybe medicine might be right for you too!

At MedLife Mastery, we're here to support you and other future doctors during every step of the journey. 

We help students get accepted into medical school through services like our affordable application coaching and advising alongside our private MCAT tutoring options!

If you’re feeling nervous about the path of becoming a doctor, remember what Emily's advisor once said:

Being nervous means you're aiming high! 🚀

You got this! 💫

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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