When Your Path to Medicine is Unorthodox

Your average Doctor starts out in a pre-med program. Then there’s medical school, residency, fellowships, and more. For all intents and purposes, there is a traditional path to get from high school to full-time practice. But what if your path is not traditional; what if it is completely unorthodox? Is there still a way to become a doctor?

Absolutely, as evidenced by a great blog post published by the KevinMD.com website. The post was written by Joe Bardinelli, a man who didn’t even get to medical school until age 28. He was a police officer before that.

Bardinelli’s experience offers plenty of important life lessons to people looking to pursue medicine by way of an unorthodox path. The first thing to note is that it can be done. An unorthodox path may be a bit more winding and with more uphill climbs, but it’s a path that leads to the same end.

You Can Do It

Among the lessons that Bardinelli learned in his journey is the lesson of giving himself credit for what he can accomplish. It is an invaluable lesson for you too. As Bardinelli put it, “you have a lot to contribute to medicine.” We would follow that by saying this: you can do it.

Going from med school to practice is a series of exercises that must be learned and completed along the way. Some things you will struggle with and others you will find fairly easy. You will also discover that others on the same path have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s okay. Your success is not reliant on anyone but you. And you can do this.

Persistence is a Good Quality

Bardinelli also talked about persistence in his post. He wrote about how he and his classmates were told, on the first day of medical school, that there were more than a dozen other students who wanted the seats they were occupying. That struck a chord with Bardinelli. It made him realize that he would have to be persistent all the way through school and residency.

Persistence is definitely a good quality for a doctor. Becoming a doctor is not easy. Neither is practicing for 20 to 30 years. Persistence is key to both finishing your education and finding a meaningful job.

Focus on the Positive

Modern life has more negativity than most of us can deal with. Bardinelli calls that negativity ‘noise’. His advice is to ignore it and focus on the positive. Focus on the good things you are learning, the good things you’ll be able to do with what you learn, and all the opportunities you will have to help people throughout your career.

Bardinelli counts it a privilege to be able to take care of people. He reminds himself of that whenever he starts feeling discouraged. He reminds himself to keep his head up and not let anyone talk him out of his dream. That is especially good advice to someone who’s a path to medicine is unorthodox.

The rest of Bardinelli’s piece addresses a full range of tips covering everything from organization to finances and living a positive life outside of medicine. Everything he mentioned constitutes good advice that covers one particular area of becoming a doctor. He eventually wrapped it all up by encouraging readers to keep their minds focused on the end goal.

There is more than one way to become a Doctor. If the path you choose to take is not the traditional path, don’t sweat it. Learn from Bardinelli’s example and go pursue your dream. It is definitely a dream worth pursuing.

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