PATH FOR THE FUTURE – Watoto Writers

At school we had a project on picking our career. This is what I wrote.

Before the career project I had no idea what my path for the future might be. I enjoy working around children, but I also think I might enjoy being in the medical business (like my dad). I can achieve both of those by becoming a pediatrician. A pediatrician is the doctor for children from newborn to age 21. Pediatricians improve the community, help treat diseases, and work with children. They work mostly in Hospitals, private offices, clinics, and sometimes schools.

The road to become a pediatrician is a long one. Starting from high school, you should get in the habit of studying a lot and getting good grades. Although grade 11 and 12 are the most important, you should aim high in school always. Medical universities and colleges, look mostly for students who take sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), English, and a type of math such as algebra, geometry or calculus. Taking a foreign language such as French is recommended. It is also great if you volunteer around your community to show leadership, commitment and that you care about your community. Also, you have to be active around school by joining clubs and/or teams. To get into a college, you need to do a SAT test and the higher you get the better.

After high school, you need to do 4 years of college. You need to get a bachelor’s degree (undergraduate). In college, most students take a Pre-med curriculum which prepares you for medical school. Another option is that you can major in any branch of subject you would like to (like music, philosophy, English etc.), as long as you meet the basic science course requirements. The requirements are: 1-2 courses in basic biology, 1 course in genetic biology, 1 course in microbiology, 1 course in molecular biology, 1-2 courses in basic chemistry, 1-2 courses in organic chemistry, 1 course in basic physics, and 2 courses in calculus. It is still great to volunteer in college. You will get into a medical school easier. College would be about $40,000-$160,000.

To get into a medical school you need to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) during your junior or senior year of college. It is similar to the SAT`s in high school but harder and only for medical students. There are three sections (scores from 1-15) and to get into a university, like University of Toronto, you need at least a 9 in every section. Then, a lot of medical schools have an interview process. Also, you should get a gpa of at least 3.6, and some letters of reference. Once you get in, you will study many subjects such as psychiatry, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, clinical sciences, surgery, neurology, obstetrics, and of course pediatrics. That is not even all of the subjects that you will learn in medical school.  Once you graduate medical school you get a medical degree and a MD degree (Doctor of medicine degree). Med school is around $100,000-$160,000.

Now you are officially a doctor but not a pediatrician. After medical school you need to do three years of residency or an internship. During a residency you are working like a pediatrician except much more hours. You just eat, sleep and breathe the life of a pediatrician.  You learn how pediatricians treat kids, assist them, meet patients, do work and more. You can do this at a hospital (where they call it a residency), or anywhere else (where it is called an internship). After internship you just need to do one final exam to ensure you are ready to be a pediatrician.

The salary for an average Canadian pediatrician gets $191,457, but the range is from $144,841-$263, 020 a year. A pediatrician works about 50-53 hours a week.  About 30%-40% of a child’s visit to a doctor is to a pediatrician. After residency I can choose to be a general pediatrician that treats everything and everyone, or one that specializes on one specific thing such as heart, diabetes, lungs etc.

After high school it would take 11 years to become a pediatrician. My dad, who is also a doctor, took 17 years! Some for college and medical school and also other graduate degrees, and he even went to different countries to do so!! I guess 11 years is not so bad. Overall, I would really like to be a pediatrician.

Maxine Mutasingwa.

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