How do I know if medicine/dentistry is for me?

Here’s a five-step method to work it out. (It’s simple, but very effective!)

Step 1: Write a list of the things (especially activities) that you absolutely hate, and why. For example, if you hate explaining things to people because you find it incredibly annoying when they don’t understand, write that down. The easiest way to come up with this list is to think of a real-life example (e.g. ‘What was something I really, really disliked this year?’) and then go from there.

Step 2: Write a list of things that you enjoy. You don’t have to absolutely love them, but you should try to think beyond the confines of your school life. Use the sample approach as in the previous step: think of some real-life examples and then go from there.

Step 3: Write a list of non-negotiables. These can be positive, like things that you really want to learn more about. They can also be negative, like things that you absolutely don’t want to have as part of your work.

Step 4: Go to YouTube, search “day in the life of a doctor”, and watch some of the videos that come up. You should also try to look for videos on multiple specialties since they can be very different from each other—people often overgeneralize what doctors do, when in fact specialization makes a huge difference. Some examples of specialties to check out are surgery, radiology, GP (for medicine), orthodontics, pediatrics, and periodontics (for dentistry). These videos are short, but they give you a good sneak peek into the lives of doctors and dentists, which you might not otherwise have any idea about.

Step 5: As you’re watching, compare what you’re seeing to your lists. If you’re intrigued, and there’s no other career that will allow you to do more of what you love, then medicine or dentistry is definitely something you should look into.

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