Deciding a future career is a choice one does not take lightheartedly. To make my decision easier, I gained broad experiences, tried classes in several different disciplines, applied for and accepted internships, and reflected on my experiences. If, after reflection, you feel you would be happy as a doctor, optometrist, dentist, or any other health professional, seek experiences shadowing those professionals, and volunteer in those areas.

Shadowing and volunteering will not only help make decisions, but are required for admission into most health professional schools. Shadowing is a great way to gain perspective while observing a specific profession. To start shadowing, ask a professional who you have met before and works in an area you are interested in pursuing. I shadowed dentists, endodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons and periodontists.

Volunteering is also beneficial. Become an active member in an organization and donate your time; the personal rewards you receive are worth the effort. I volunteered by interpreting for Spanish speaking patients with Cahaba Valley Healthcare in Birmingham and with the Salvation Army in Huntsville.

Studying for classes and entrance exams are critical. Your academic success is a reflection of your dedication to become a health professional. Classes for admission into professional school help prepare you for entrance exams. However, practice is the key to success and studying months in advance give you an advantage when taking entrance exams.

You have the power to shape your future. Gain from your experiences and follow the path leading to happiness. If you are intrigued about the possibilities of being a doctor, veterinarian, or dentist, then start working towards your goal and be dedicated to your success.

-Tom

Pre-Health Student at UAHuntsville