Premed Motivation is Key

It can not be stressed enough how important motivation is for pre-med students who are attempting the long journey towards becoming a physician. 

In my about page I talked about my transition from a terribly low GPA freshmen year to a competitive 4.0 GPA my senior year.  There are many factors that contribute to this transition, but all of those factors stem from motivation. 

Lost Motivation

After my initial GPA failure, I quickly lost any motivation or drive I had for medicine going into undergrad.  This made studying difficult. 

My grades did improve my second semester and sophomore year, but this can be attributed more to fear of losing my scholarship than to an actual drive to get into medical school. 

In fact, at that point, I had already decided I would drop the pre-med route and go with the pre-physical therapy route, convincing myself that I actually had a desire to become a physical therapist when really I simply believed that there was no way I could enter into medical school and PT school would be an easier option.

Rekindled Motivation

Sometime during my Junior Year of undergrad, I rekindled my motivation for becoming a physician.

Man did things change.  My grades shot up, studying became easier, I enjoyed the stuff I was learning, and most importantly I began to believe that I could achieve this difficult profession. 

So how did I “rekindle” this flame of medical school passion?  There is not a simple answer to that question.  I can not remember any specific enlightening moment that could have caused the spark. 

Further Reading: My Premed Story

How I Became Motivated to Succeed At Premed

I can sort of attribute some events such as receiving an A on my first Organic Chemistry test, which sort of made me feel like I was not incompetent, words of encouragement from family, and a refocus on what is important in life due to a longterm relationship I had developed with my girlfriend. 

But really I believe that it was an ongoing process of overcoming a mental block.  In a way I had to mature in order to realize that anyone who is willing enough can become a doctor — there isn’t some “pre-med” gene that gives you memorizing abilities and an understanding of the sciences. 

Nope, in the end, it is pure motivation and believing that you can do it. 

If there isn’t some single event that triggers your motivation for medicine that is totally fine.  Do not be discouraged if it takes years for you to truly become motivated to enter into medical school. 

Part of the pre-med journey is maturing into an adult capable of taking people’s lives in your hands, and part of that maturing process is developing the motivation. 

Don’t forget — the average age of first-year medical students is around 24 (26 for DOs) so it really does not matter if you need to take a few years to catch up. 

Further Reading: Words Of Encouragement For MCAT Anxiety


One thing I should add before I finish this post: although motivation might not come to you immediately, actively try to pursue it.  One thing I wish I did earlier on in my undergrad was shadow more.  The summer after my junior year I shadowed for the first time and I have to admit — it really amplified my motivational desire. 

Do whatever you can to expose yourself to the medical field. When you see more and more what a great profession medicine can be, you will find the energy to accomplish whatever must be done to get into medical school.

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