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Jens825

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I am a graduated high school student recently returned from a two year volunteer mission in Scandinavia and will be starting my university education this summer. As of right now I am torn between psychology and psychiatry, but leaning towards psychiatry. I have about 4 months before I begin school and would like to utilize the time I have by looking for opportunities that would give me hands on experience. I have been told many different things with reference to what I should be doing. CNA certification, volunteer hours, shadowing etc. If I am interested in psychiatry, what wold be the best form of experience I could get right now?

I know I still have a lot of time to decide what I want to do and I need to start my education before I really have and Idea of the experience I want, but I really want to take advantage of any opportunities that would benefit my future pre-med and medical career.

Thanks!!
 

DiscusKeeper

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I am a graduated high school student recently returned from a two year volunteer mission in Scandinavia and will be starting my university education this summer. As of right now I am torn between psychology and psychiatry, but leaning towards psychiatry. I have about 4 months before I begin school and would like to utilize the time I have by looking for opportunities that would give me hands on experience. I have been told many different things with reference to what I should be doing. CNA certification, volunteer hours, shadowing etc. If I am interested in psychiatry, what wold be the best form of experience I could get right now?

I know I still have a lot of time to decide what I want to do and I need to start my education before I really have and Idea of the experience I want, but I really want to take advantage of any opportunities that would benefit my future pre-med and medical career.

Thanks!!

You could try reaching out to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists and ask about shadowing, so you can see which you like better.

If you're struggling to pick a major, keep in mind you can really do any major and still get into medical school as long as you take the science pre-reqs. I double majored in psych and bio - this might be a good option if you can't decide between psych and psychiatry as it would prepare you well for both. I found that the overlap between physiology and psychology was super interesting and liked the combination of majors.
 

FlameBroiledDoc

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You could try reaching out to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists and ask about shadowing, so you can see which you like better.

Shadowing can be tricky with mental health professionals, because the confidentiality concerns are much greater than with other health care fields. Even if the clinicians and patients are comfortable with an extra person in the room, there's also the challenge of not getting a complete picture, because doctor and patient will be "on their game". So shadow if you can, but interview practitioners as well about their day-to-day, their schooling, and what they do and don't like about their job. Clinical psychiatry is radically different from clinical psychology. If it's psychotherapy that's your passion and goal, you might spare yourself years of unnecessary anxiety and hardship.
 

Luckygirlsadheart

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I am a graduated high school student recently returned from a two year volunteer mission in Scandinavia and will be starting my university education this summer. As of right now I am torn between psychology and psychiatry, but leaning towards psychiatry. I have about 4 months before I begin school and would like to utilize the time I have by looking for opportunities that would give me hands on experience. I have been told many different things with reference to what I should be doing. CNA certification, volunteer hours, shadowing etc. If I am interested in psychiatry, what wold be the best form of experience I could get right now?

I know I still have a lot of time to decide what I want to do and I need to start my education before I really have and Idea of the experience I want, but I really want to take advantage of any opportunities that would benefit my future pre-med and medical career.

Thanks!!
Well, first off, I commend you for being a forward thinker and realizing that to succeed in pre-med, or any other career path, you have to give yourself a sort of road map. As for psychiatry vs. Psychology, I think it's important to know that most psychiatrists do not give their patients talk therapy. Rather, the focus is primarily on medicine...measuring the progression of the mental illness and evaluating any side effects. That doesn't mean you can't be different and include talk therapy in your clinical practice as a physician, but I am going to guess and say psychiatrists are not as adequately trained in talk therapy as psychologists are. I also know this from personal experience going to both psychologists and psychiatrists.

If, however, you do choose to go the psychiatry/pre-med route, you should make sure to volunteer, do community service (yes, it is different from volunteering), shadow, and do research. Start volunteering early so it looks more genuine on your application and less like you did it to get into medical school (looks like you've already done that, so great job! Make sure to add another volunteer experience a little later on in your pre-med career, as well. Also, I don't know why your mission in Scandinavia was, but make sure to have volunteer experience in a hospital/clinical setting). Most importantly - take courses that are on the MCAT and don't take the MCAT without first completing those courses (General Bio, General chem, Organic Chem, Physics, Sociology, Psychology, and Biochemistry). Best of luck!
 
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