In many career choices, it is unlikely that someone will have any experience before applying to that course of study. However, if you are considering studying medicine, because the course of study is so specific and options for a career switch out of medicine after graduation are difficult, it is especially important to have some ‘experience’.
This ‘experience’ can cover several areas and pertain to the relevant attributes one would expect to see in a doctor. For many doctors like myself, medicine is more a calling than a career. As our lives revolve around our patients, it comes with some degree of sacrifice. Volunteering in any capacity will help you understand if medicine is something you can do for the rest of your life.
Another important ‘experience’ to have, comes in the form of observerships or internships where you shadow doctors in their daily work to give you some idea of the life to expect and how the system works. As the working hours can be long and irregular, this will also help you understand your suitability.
When we consider an applicant’s suitability to enrol at Duke-NUS, one important consideration is their maturity. Life experiences of any sort that enrich the person will always make for a more empathetic and resilient doctor. Sometimes, the experience of failure and how you overcome this can be very valuable. One of the ways we nurture such experiences in our students is through our conditional admissions pathways, which allow them to grow and develop while having a somewhat ‘guaranteed’ admission to study medicine, dependent on their undergraduate studies.
Medicine is about people and life—whatever experiences you have in life that enrich and strengthen you will better prepare you for a calling in medicine.
- Professor London Lucien Ooi Peng Jin, Associate Dean, Admissions, Recruitment and Financial Aid, author of Getting into Medical School: A Guide for Students & Parents