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Atlantis Connect Conference September 2018, Embassy of Italy, Washington D.C.


Should I Become a Doctor? A Pre-Med’s Take on the Top 5 Resources to Help You Decide

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About Ryan

Ryan Hodge graduated from North Central College in May of 2021 as a biology major and Spanish minor on the pre-medicine track. After his sophomore year, he participated in the Atlantis Summer 2019 shadowing program in Tarragona, Spain.

It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

Being a doctor is not easy. They work very long hours, can see very grim and depressing cases, and their schedules can be chaotic; not to mention the amount of training and education it requires to become a doctor. If one is deciding whether the physician path is right for them or not, they should be certain they are aware of the pros and cons of the doctor lifestyle. 

Do you want to help people?

The AAMC outlines core competencies all physicians should have, and provides a guide labeled ‘The Road to Becoming a Doctor’. One of the biggest things the website stresses is the distinction between helping people in the career of medicine and other professions that help people. Students should be careful when responding to questions such as “Why do you want to be a doctor?” If your goal is to help people, medical school admissions committees may bring up the point that there are multiple careers that offer the opportunity to help people. Becoming a physician is more than just helping people. You end up experiencing the patients’ emotions the more you get to know them, and the responsibility lies on you for your patients overall health. Be careful when mentioning you want to go into healthcare because you want to help people. It may be true, but make sure you know why the role of a doctor specifically excites you!

Do you have the time for medical school?

Becoming a physician requires rigorous training. U.S. News mentions medicine is one of the hardest professions to join. It takes at least seven years to become a practicing physician. After four years of medical school, new doctors typically need to complete a residency, which is a period of time when intense hands-on training occurs. One must be able to study long hours. In addition to this, a student has to be able to balance many things within their schedule. There is a lot of material to cover in the medical field, but it is also critical to know when to step away and take a break.  

How do you react in life and death situations?

Prospective Doctor states that one must be comfortable in life and death situations if they want to become a physician. In our society, being a doctor still offers prestige. One of the main reasons doctors are respected is because they possess knowledge and skill that the average person does not. This combination of skill and knowledge can make the difference in the life or death of a patient. Being calm under stressful situations is a key competency for a future doctor. 

Is income important to you?

Excellent pay, prestige, and the opportunity to save lives; there’s no doubt about the rewards of becoming a doctor. According to Kaplan, the average salary of a doctor can be an important consideration when you are deciding what field you want to specialize in or whether you want to pursue a medical degree. According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report (2018), Primary Care Physicians in the United States earned on average $237,000.

Still not sure if you want to become a doctor? Get out and observe!

The best way to know if being a doctor is the right path for you? Go and shadow physicians! I embarked on a shadowing trip with Atlantis in the summer of 2019 where we traveled to Tarragona, Spain. During my three-week trip, I shadowed orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, internists, and ER physicians. After the Atlantis trip, I knew I wanted to be a physician. Explore shadowing opportunities like this to see if you have a passion for medicine. Whether or not to pursue becoming a physician is an extremely important decision and definitely one you should approach with careful thought. Hopefully these tips give you some helpful resources as you consider your options. 

Cover of the Medical School Admissions Guide.

Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook guidebook — download yours.

Our Alumni Enter Great Medical Schools

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John Daines

  • Atlantis '17
  • Brigham Young University '19
  • Washington U. in St. Louis MD '23
Zoey Petitt headshot.

Zoey Petitt

  • Atlantis '17
  • U. of Arizona '18
  • Duke MD '23
Yong hun Kim headshot.

Yong-hun Kim

  • Atlantis '17
  • Stanford '19
  • Mayo Clinic MD '24
Megan Branson headshot.

Megan Branson

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Montana '19
  • U. of Washington MD '24
Sarah Emerick headshot.

Sarah Emerick

  • Atlantis '19
  • Eckerd College '20
  • Indiana U. MD '25
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Snow Nwankwo

  • Atlantis '19
  • Catholic U. of America '21
  • Georgetown U. MD '26
Tiffany Hu headshot.

Tiffany Hu

  • Atlantis '16
  • U. of Maryland '17
  • U. of Michigan MD '22
Lauren Cox headshot.

Lauren Cox

  • Atlantis '18
  • Louisiana Tech '20
  • U. of Arkansas MD '24
Kayla Riegler headshot.

Kayla Riegler

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Kentucky '20
  • U. of Kentucky MD '24

About Atlantis

Atlantis is the leader in pre-health shadowing and clinical experience, offering short-term programs (1-10 weeks) over academic breaks for U.S. pre-health undergraduates. Medical schools want 3 things: (1)healthcare exposure, (2)GPA/MCAT, and (3)certain competencies. Atlantis gives you a great version of (1), frees you to focus on (2), and cultivates/shows (3) to medical school admissions committees.

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Watch Video: The Atlantis Shadowing Experience and How it Helps In Your Med/PA Admissions Future

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Cover of the Medical School Admissions Guide.
Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook — download yours.