Advice on science/pre-med careers in the future? (feeling stuck)

Hello everyone,

I am a current college sophomore studying biology and minoring in neuroscience and French. As of right now, I am on the pre-med track and am taking all of the pre-med requirements. I am a bit torn because ultimately, I don’t know if being a doctor is something I TRULY would want for my future.

I absolutely love science and learning, and interacting with people (specifically children!) is something that really drew me to becoming a doctor working with the pediatric population in some way. I know that I would find that extremely rewarding.

I constantly get hung up on how long and hard the path through medical school is, and pediatricians are paid far less than other specialties. I want to travel and have a family/life outside of work, but also have a very rewarding career. I started training to be a medical scribe, but am unsure if I should follow through since I’m not sure if placement is possible with covid-19. I have not shadowed any doctors thus far or worked at a hospital, so I feel like I’m out of the loop or getting behind with my extracurriculars and it has been stressing be out!

I have done research this summer (It was genetics/bioinformatics based and my heart wasn’t fully in that - maybe it’s just the research topic I was doing). I think I am just looking for some advice about other potential careers, or what some next steps should be to truly decide if being a doctor is the career for me. I also love psychology and have volunteered as a crisis text line counselor, so I have also considered genetic counseling.

There’s a bunch of careers I’d like to explore (genetic counseling, food scientist, maternal/fetal epidemiologist), I just am feeling very confused and overwhelmed right now. Either way, I want to work directly with the public/people/children. I love to plan things out and have a solid path, so this has definitely been bothering me for awhile.

Any advice (about pre-med, med school, other careers, motivation, etc.) I would really really appreciate! :slight_smile:

What patient facing experience do you have (asst. CNA, EMT, nursing home volunteer, etc)? Without this, how can you decide or know if you want to become a doctor? Also, without this, it will be difficult to gain admission to medical school.

There are many potential healthcare career paths that help people, that don’t take the time and investment that becoming a doctor does and you cited many good ones. I would add PA, and psychologist as well.

Good luck.

Science teacher?

I think @Mwfan1921 is leading you in the right direction. My kid (a neuroscience major) wasn’t positive that being a doctor was what she wanted and set out early to see if she could talk herself out of it. Spent a year during college volunteering at hospitals, and then spent two gap years doing research at a children’s hospital at a med school. Besides all of the direct patient contact she gained, she also took every opportunity to not just shadow doctors on their rounds, but also to talk to them on the side about what it was like to balance their career with their families, etc. Likewise, with the career researchers/professors, PAs, and NPs she worked with. When she was done, she not only had a better understanding of what she would be getting herself into in either career, but she had tons of stuff to write/talk about in her med school apps and interviews (she’s now an M3 probably heading towards a pediatrics sub). Almost 2/3 of successful med school applicants now take at least one or two gap years, and it might not be a bad idea to start thinking about what kinds of things you could do during that time to help you decide.

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Thank you everyone so much for your help! I recently applied for a medical assistant position and got the job :slight_smile: I will continue to explore my options.