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Is This The Right Path For Me?

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Growing up as a multi-sport athlete, I spent a lot of time in the trainer's room and had my fair share of visits to the hospital. Though I hated getting injured, I looked forward to talking to the medical staff and doctors; I had a lot of admiration for their decisiveness and expertise. With a newfound interest in how to treat and prevent injuries, I signed up for my high school’s sports medicine class, which is where I was first introduced to the vast field of medicine, even beyond the scope of athletics.

Everyone’s pre-health journey is different, but the one common underlying factor that shapes their journey are the first hand experiences with medicine and healthcare. Experiences can come in many forms, but hardly any are bad — whether it’s a shadowing opportunity that inspires your interest in a particular specialty, or an academic setback that forces you to take a step back and reevaluate your learning strategies, each is a step in the direction towards your goals.

For me, the especially grueling part of getting through undergrad was, as many say, “checking the boxes”. Whether that be getting research experience, shadowing, or volunteering, it was hard to seek out and consistently stay engaged in these activities regardless of how busy life got outside of school. Not to mention, us athletes have another unique challenge on top of these responsibilities — a full time sport we need to be physically and emotionally committed to every day.

It can be extremely difficult to juggle this with all the tasks mentioned above, but I believe the challenge of participating in athletics also gives us a unique skill set and perspective that many don’t before setting foot in a medical setting (dealing with high pressure situations, having to step up and become a leader, working so closely with a team for extended periods of the day). Additionally, being around like-minded students and teammates really gave me a community to lean on whenever I was feeling discouraged or burnt out. The variety of obstacles I’ve been exposed to as a student-athlete helped me grow as a person, and I think overcoming them builds the foundation of intrinsic resilience it takes to commit to such a challenging but equally rewarding career like medicine.

That doesn’t mean you have to struggle through this journey alone. Just like I have, I’m confident you will get the chance to meet many amazing friends, teammates, mentors, and experience plenty of wonderful opportunities here at Cal. We hope this website is another resource on your way to discovering if medicine is the right path for you!

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