Medical students advise high school counterparts on career path

 

Medical students Dmitri Tchigvintsev (left) and  Michael De Jager, both from the UWO's Windsor campus of  the Schulich Medicine and Dentistry, speak to General Amherst High School students recently in the school's guidance office. The two medical students were working on a placement at the Amherstburg Family Health Team (AFHT) and the talk to high school students interested in a career in medicine was part of their stay in town.

Medical students Dmitri Tchigvintsev (left) and Michael De Jager, both from the UWO’s Windsor campus of the Schulich Medicine and Dentistry, speak to General Amherst High School students recently in the school’s guidance office. The two medical students were working on a placement at the Amherstburg Family Health Team (AFHT) and the talk to high school students interested in a career in medicine was part of their stay in town.

By Ron Giofu

 

High school students interested in a career in medicine received advice on how to proceed down that career path from two people who have already gone down that path.

Dmitri Tchigvintsev and Michael De Jager, two medical students from the Schulich Medicine and Dentistry campus in Windsor, spoke to a small group of General Amherst students who are interested in becoming doctors recently. The two medical students advised the students on steps they would need to take if the high school students dream of a career in medicine.

“We’re giving a presentation on our experiences in getting into medical school and the road we’ve taken,” said De Jager.

Both De Jager and Tchigvintsev spent four days working out of the Amherstburg Family Heath Team. De Jager, who is originally from Vancouver, explained that at the end of their first year, all medical students were sent to rural communities where they learned in a clinical environment as part of the “Discovery Week” outreach program.

“We have classmates all over southwestern Ontario doing the same thing,” he said.

High school students were advised that it doesn’t really matter where their undergraduate studies are done, as long as they get the prerequisite courses necessary for medical school from an accredited university.

The medical students advised that the path to becoming a doctor starts with a four-year university degree, four years in medical school, a residency period that can last anywhere from two to seven years depending on what the student aims to specialize in before moving into independent work upon becoming licensed.

Tchigvintsev, a Toronto native, noted that family physicians are needed in many places and students can also choose to specialize in many areas.

“Depending on what you want to specialize in, it can be a long time,” added De Jager.

High school students were advised to take science courses but also to look at becoming more than just excellent students, but excellent leaders as well. Getting involved in their schools and in community volunteer efforts was also encouraged. Tchigvintsev said it is important to show leadership and teamwork in part-time or volunteer jobs as that is what a lot of medical schools are looking for. He also said students should stay in touch with those they volunteer with as medical school applications call for activities and volunteer commitments to be verified.

“Leadership is a big one,” added De Jager. “(Medical schools) look for some other things than just reading your textbooks.”

The high school students were also advised to keep their options open, as De Jager and Tchigvintsev told them that not every applicant gets into medical school and a lot of great candidates don’t get in.

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