One of the secondary essays that I’m working on asks if there are any areas of medicine that are of particular interest so I decided to take this “Medical Specialty Aptitude Test” from the UVa med school website.
The results were somewhat expected and somewhat unexpected.
I expected family practice and emergency medicine to be very low on my list, mostly because of my experience volunteering as an EMT at the local rescue squad. I had to quit EMT after only 11 months partly because I wasn’t improving and partly because I didn’t try to improve. Getting a call, riding the ambulance, finding the right location, and transporting the patient to the closest hospital are all really exciting and you get that adrenaline rush like no other, but I was uncomfortable with the idea of treating symptoms without knowing every detail about their cause. Even though quitting EMT was one of my lowest point in college, I’m really glad that I learned something very important about myself: I need to specialize in a specific field if I want to make medical decisions.
What I didn’t expect was this: I knew I wanted to go into pediatrics for a while now, but I was surprised to see that pediatrics came out so low, while surgery came out to be number one. The thing is, I had dismissed the idea of becoming a surgeon a few years ago because of the lifestyles that most surgeons have: long hours with sleep deprivation, irregular work hours, massive amount of pressure… First of all, I value sleep and hobbies more than anything. Secondly, I can’t leave home without my calendar because I enjoy following a routine. Thirdly, I tend to freak out with pressure. Lastly, I thought I had wanted to raise a family at a suitable age, especially because I am the first-born, so surgery was the one specialty that I refused to look into…
… but many of the questions from this quiz directed me straight to surgery.
I tend to have manual dexterity. (Well, I like making things with my hands, right? Origami, knitting, legos hahaha. I’d say I’m pretty good with my hands.) Strongly agree
I tend to enjoy complex problem solving. (Yeah! Problem solving. Definitely. Complex? Even better!) Strongly agree
I tend to be a “doer” rather than a “talker.” (I’d rather learn by trying things myself than talking about it… and besides, I don’t like talking that much.) Strongly agree
I tend to be visually oriented. (What… is… this… Why is every question directed toward me? Does everybody feel this way while taking this quiz?) Strongly agree
You get the idea. These questions got me to consider surgery again, and this time, I don’t see myself dismissing it so quickly. Maybe I should have known while being “in the zone” knitting scarves with complex designs for hours and hours and maybe I should have known while totally focused on making the perfect cranes.
I guess I’ll find out if I get into a medical school, but it’s exhilarating to potentially find the right path for my future.