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PsycholOGY vs BiolOGY

Updated: Jul 15, 2023


In order to practice medicine you have to major in a "hard core" science, such as Biology (preferably), Chemistry, Biochem and ______ (Insert a typical Science course/major). I am not sure if this way of thinking still exist but this is what was drilled into my psyche during high school and as I entered into college.

I personally consider this to be a misguided concept. When I graduated from high school and thought about my future, there was no doubt in mind that I wanted go to college, medical school and become a physician. And, when I thought about spending four years in college, I wanted to maximum both my personal and professional growth. I wanted to spend those years learning something intriguing, something new, something that I could apply in my everyday conversations and observations and I wanted preparation for my intended career field. And to acquire all of my desires I didn’t want to sacrifice one interest or passion for the other.

During 1st year orientation week , I was provide with words of wisdom from someone that I trusted wholeheartedly and admired dearly, “I think you should major in Biology.” Before starting college I had my mind set on being a Psychology major and not because I thought it was a cool word or I feared the rigor of the traditional “hard core” science. It was because of my personal experiences, my interest in understanding varying personalities, motivations, lifestyles and people and etc. Yet, I was easily convinced after being advised that a major in biology would provide me with the best preparation for medical school. I read around, looked at several stats and Biology was the most prevalent major for medical students, so Biology is what I declared! Looking back I can understand why my “Advisor” made this statement, but that was not the best major for ME, for my interest and my personal goals, so I eventually changed my major to psychology and today I still stand by that decision. Lesson 1) All advice it not necessarily the best advice for you, no matter how educated, experienced, or trust worthy the source is. Listen to the advice, digest it, and reflect on everything of value to you, pray on it and then make an educated decision. You may not always be right in your choices but that’s what life is about learning, growing and being able to share your experiences.

I am not sure how every single college in the world is structured, but at my liberal arts alma mater, most majors also had various “tracks” associated with them. For instance, as a Psychology major interested in medicine, I was provided with a list courses I should take that met both my psy graduation requirements and medical school pre-reqs. If I wanted to major in Psychology and pursue law, there was a track for that; Psychology and pursue research or grad school, there was a track for that. So I knew my options were not limited a traditional science just because that was the standard. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with majoring in Biology, Chemistry or ______ (Insert a typical Science course/major), as long as it is what YOU want to do, and not because of your parents, siblings, advisor, or what societal norms think. Lesson 2) Choose a major that fits who you are. Sometimes we don’t immediately know "who we are" or what we like, so do your research, talk to people, and think about your end goals. Upon reading about the recent changes to the MCAT, it appears others are starting to think outside the box as well, academic training is only a fraction of the journey, healthcare delivery is a puzzle and in order to really reach patients beyond the facade of the credentials that follow your last name, we have to have a body of individuals that understand a lot more than how to order labs, prescribe antibiotics and so on.

If there’s only one road to your destination but you are clearly miles away on uncharted land, then start digging your own path, one that’s right for you.

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