Before you start – ask yourself – is this what I want to be doing? If you know already, then skip this part, for the rest of you, do stop and think about this. You don’t need to rush in and start down a career path that you might not really like. Perhaps a year off and working in a rest home or at a hospital would be a better use of your time – you might decide medicine / physio / med lab science / dentistry is not for you after all. It’s a difficult thing to weight up all the plusses and minuses of a job where you don’t what is involved, so we do encourage you to think first. If you do find at the end of the year that you are accepted into a course but still not sure, then you can consider deferred entrance, and some courses will allow this.
We’re not trying to be paternalistic here, more that we’ve seen many health professionals who have quietly admitted they’re not sure about medicine, or pharmacy or whatever they chose. The last thing we would want is for you to get into a course then drop out half way through with a massive student loan! A degree of uncertainty is natural – pretty much every person who has been in a caring profession has had their doubts at some point. Speaking from experience – medicine is not an easy job!
So you’ve decided
You want to give it a go. Well, firstly then set yourself goals accordingly. What you need to know now is that entry into all of the professional courses is competitive, some of them extremely so, and people don’t gain entry to any of them by accident. There may be the odd bright spark who has done extremely well at school, has an excellent memory, and is already so far ahead they don’t need to do much to get in to medicine, but this is very rare. Generally it is hard work that pays off, not good luck.
With any good plan, we need to consider all the possibilities. How important is it to you that you gain entry to your chosen professional course? Make sure to not create unrealistic expectations with those around you, and just go with the flow a bit – work hard and with a bit of luck and nous you’ll get where you need. But then what? If you didn’t make it? It may seem we are hammering the point here, but most people attempting to gain entrance to highly competitive courses like medicine will not achieve it. Consider all of your options and where you might go next. We’ve seen many people who were very close but didn’t make it. This is a sad but inevitable function of a highly-competitive entrance structure. Even if you do your earnest best, you may still ‘fail’ to gain entrance to medicine, or pharmacy, or physiotherapy, or dentistry, or nutrition, or med lab science. Generally, if you have passed your course, there is an option there somewhere though, so don’t give up hope!
Don’t be hard on yourself for scoring less than your friends or not getting there despite your best attempts!