I sit at my home in New Jersey as I anxiously await my 6am flight two days from now that will take me to the Caribbean island of Dominica where I will begin to take my first steps in the journey of becoming a doctor at Ross University School of Medicine.
Many people attempted to discourage me from continuing on the path I started on. Doctors I shadowed would warn me of the daunting hours, how much medicine has changed over the years, and how you can make more money in other fields for the amount of time you put in. Even my undergraduate pre-med guidance counselor at Binghamton University told me, on several separate occasions, that I simply did not have the grades to get into medical school. And these people were right … sort of.
It is true that medicine is changing. And you can more than likely make more money in business or in banking. And at the time, I did not in fact have the grades to be accepted into medical school. I am here to tell you that can get into medical school, even a stateside school, if you want it badly enough. This isn’t to say that your past mistakes will vanish into thin air — that ‘C’ in organic chemistry isn’t going anywhere. What you can do is affect your future. Show that you remember your mistakes and learn from them.
Likewise, I try to forget the people who attempted to dissuade me from medicine, but remember the people who accepted my decisions and encouraged me along my path. The one doctor I spoke with at a high school graduation party of a mutual family friend who highlighted that, “It doesn’t matter how many rejections you get, because in the end you only need one acceptance.” Or my parents who pushed me to apply to that reach school after explaining, “I’m not doing myself any favors by rejecting myself before even applying.”
I am here to give you a pat on the back and a kick in the ass. I had to take the MCAT twice and had to apply to twenty-eight medical schools, but all it took was one acceptance to make it all worthwhile. If you have explored medicine and have decided that it is the path for you, don’t let anyone discourage you from it. Own it and do whatever it takes to succeed. It is what I intend to do starting on my first day of class down in Dominica.
Marc Katz is a medical student.