Astronomy. French. Music. Geology. American Culture. Philosophy. Art history.
The list of fun, interesting majors that most colleges offer their undergrads is extensive. Yet, most pre-medical students settle for an elective-satisfying semester in one of these subjects, enjoy their exposure to an area of intrigue, get their (usually) easy A, and… well… that’s the end of exploring an interest.
I am here to tell you that you that this should NOT be the end!
I majored in Screen Arts and Cultures (AKA: THE MOVIES) and sub-concentrated in Screenwriting. It was awesome.
Of course, if you absolutely LOVE science and can’t get your fix of these classes from the pre-med requirements, then, by all means, major in something science-y. Additionally, if you’re unsure if you want to go to medical, it might be a good idea to keep your options open by having a “marketable” major to certain employers. However, if you are all-in on going to medical school, why not complete your pre-med classes and then major in something fun?!
Go ahead and take your time, I’ll wait…
In the meantime, here are the pros of a life lived on the edge like yours truly:
Physics, biology, chemistry… these science classes are difficult! Especially if you’re like me and happen to not be a natural at memorizing infinite amounts of complex scientific facts and theorems. These classes can also be massive time-sinks if you want to attain those competitive grades. So, if you’re spending all this time in difficult science classes, why not seek some balance with a subject that clicks with a completely different part of your brain? Personally, when I was enrolled in Bio 101 and Gen Chem during the same semester, I couldn’t wait for my Wednesday morning History of New Line Cinema lecture. When I decided to become a pre-med, I knew that I was going to learn a lot about the scientific world from my pre-med classes, and then even more once I enrolled to medical school. So, I realized that undergrad was absolutely the correct time for me to water the plants in the other part of my brain’s garden ☺
Here, I’m going to advocate for artistic non-science majors in particular. I didn’t realize this until I started screenwriting, but my creative outlet is my favorite form of stress relief. When I was taking my pre-med classes and screenwriting in my spare time, I found that I was not only less stressed from my classes, but my pre-med classes often provided the inspiration for my writing. For example, one of the first screenplays I wrote was about a neurosurgeon who performs the world’s first brain transplant!
This is a big one — med schools love unique majors. Having one makes you a more diverse person, which is very important for distinguishing yourself. After I graduated from college, I worked for three years in a gastroenterology lab that was on the forefront of scientific breakthroughs in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Yet, very few of the questions I was asked in my med school interviews were about our research. The vast majority were geared toward my screenplays.
Now, ATTENTION! If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s the following: A quick peruse through MSAR will yield some interesting information — most medical school classes are close to 50-50 in terms of science and non-science majors. But, how many fellow pre-meds do you actually remember who were non-science majors? I can only think of one person – my coworker who is now an incoming MS4 at an Ivy League medical school. My point: if you are a non-science major, and medical school classes are half-filled with non-science majors, but there are significantly less non-science major pre-meds, then you are competing with less people for the same number of spots!
Okay, maybe this one’s obvious, but writing an essay about Groundhog Day for my final exam was a tad easier than memorizing the 1000 steps of cell metabolism. Why not pad that GPA? ☺
Go ahead, I’m still waiting…