Ever since you were a child you found the idea of becoming a doctor appealing, even if at a young age you didn’t know exactly what that implied. As you grew up and learnt more about the world, you realized this job is noble, well-respected and empowering. The satisfaction of helping others, being in the service of society, showing compassion towards the less fortunate and saving their lives are just a few reasons why people become doctors.
As rewarding as it can be, it takes a lot of time and effort, hard work and sacrifice to become one. Just like with any other job, if you have the passion for it, you are motivated to constantly grow and improve and it doesn’t seem like a duty to do so, but just a normal course of development. You take any opportunity presented as a method to learn, expand your knowledge and put it into practice.
A very efficient way to do that is to sign up for pre-med volunteer programs. You have a lot of choices here, you can stay local and get involved into your community, or you can go the extra mile and look for something more challenging. Overseas medical volunteering allows you to travel, experience new countries, cultures, traditions and exposes you to more difficulties from a professional point of view. This is exactly what a pre-med volunteer should look for because it offers a method to get out of the comfort zone, to push the limits a bit further and reach new levels of satisfaction.
The most challenging pre-med opportunity out there is volunteering in third world countries. Among the key obstacles present in these disadvantaged areas we can name living in scarce conditions, poor hygiene, lack of medical supplies and medication, lack of clean water. These factors make professionals strive harder to offer their support to the needy. As a pre-med volunteer, you can find a lot of ways to help the medical staff and to make sure you are making a difference. You can find a location where you can work with HIV infected children or adults, explaining them the implications of their condition, what to expect, how to keep it under control and how to mentally cope with the idea. Other centers might ask you to take care of physically or mentally disabled people, offering them companionship, assisting them with their daily recovery programs and making sure they respect their treatments plans. Another general activity that’s been proved to be very appreciated by patience, especially the elderly, is simply spending time with them, creating workshops where they can feel useful and forget about their conditions, such as art and crafts therapy, music therapy and other relaxing methods. Coaching and tutoring children can make a big difference in your volunteering program. Childcare projects include visiting schools and orphanages with the purpose of teaching children about improving their hygiene, building a better lifestyle, offering them moral support, playing interesting and stimulating games with them.
Most pre-med volunteering projects include a variety of departments you could work in, such as General Medicine, Nursing, Laboratory or Dental care. It depends on your preference which one you choose, they are all equally rewarding from a professional point of view.
Working alongside doctors and nurses is going to inspire you to become a great doctor, to learn how to work in stressful conditions with limited access to modern medical equipments or treatments. Practicing medicine in third world countries as a volunteer makes you sensitive to pain, to sufferance, it teaches you to put your fears aside and act on instinct, make the best of your resources and it develops your humanitarian side even more. The fact that you whiteness death in a brutal form even when you know you’ve done your best changes you. Some people choose to shut down their feelings in order to be able to do their job with a clear head. Others go through the same experience and stay strong because they find various coping mechanisms that allow them to start fresh the next day. Whichever category you think you might fit it, one thing is for sure: pre-med volunteering is, although tough and challenging, an experience you have to go through because it prepares you to deal with difficult situations is the future.
Deciding to become a doctor is a process that should involve acknowledging the tough parts of this job and experiencing them at an early stage. Getting involved in projects that challenge your character, make you interact with people and see first-hand what being a doctor means is an important step in your formation as one. Experiencing the unpleasant parts of this noble job sets a milestone in your future performance.