Starting a premed journey: first-year edition

College MD premed

You've just started college. Part of you wants to follow your new friends in trying out new experiences, but then there's the go-getter in you, thinking that you may need to start looking for the best possible things to do to help a potential grad school app.

Most students often think, understandably so, that you have to choose one lifestyle over the other. It's easy to believe that having a blast freshman year puts you behind in your pre-medical journey, or that starting research will label you as "lifeless" amongst your friends. However, contrary to popular belief, your first year is THE time to find balance between these worlds as you transition to college life. 

Here are some things you can do to start your premed journey without getting too overwhelmed:

1. Find mentors

I think mentors are the most powerful resource in any career aspiration. Beyond learning firsthand what they do, getting close with your mentors allows you to understand their mindsets and perspectives. This information will be invaluable when it comes time for you to hone in on your specific professional goals down the line.

2. Shadow some doctors

While most students start to shadow after they commit to a pre-medical journey, I believe that shadowing should be your first activity. Shadowing allows you to see what it's actually like to be a doctor. Investigate a specialty that sounds cool, and respectfully reach out to a doctor over email.

3. Find things you love that have nothing to do with medicine

College is more than just a pre-career. In fact, it is a fantastic opportunity to study abroad, join a dance group, or do something that makes you happy. These activities will be the glue that ties your college experience together. And here's the real secret: finding activities you love will also help you as you write your grad school application, and will sustain you through the long road of becoming a medical professional.

Good luck! In the long, grueling marathon of medicine, enjoying your time in the journey is just as important as the achievements you earn!

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