Career Planning Advice

Understand Yourself

Understanding yourself is the first phase of our 4-phase career planning process, aimed at increasing your self-awareness. Did you know that all the beliefs you have about yourself influence your well-being, your identity, your academic and professional performance, and even your job satisfaction?

These personal characteristics include :

  • your interests;
  • your values;
  • your personality;
  • and your skills.

You have probably already started to discover some of your preferences, skills, and values. Consider what you've enjoyed most in some of your past activities:

  • roles held in a group (founder, leader, contributing member, ad hoc helper);
  • tasks performed (technical, intellectual, creative);
  • types of patients/clients encountered and their state of health (older, younger, more/less complex? etc);
  • relationships with your peers, and your colleagues;
  • type of workspaces and time management techniques;
  • Etc.

Taking the time in your early years of medical school to reflect on your experiences will help you form a stronger picture of who you are and what you want out of your career and your life, and thereby find the best fit. There are many self-assessment strategies you can try out:

  1. Try the 1st year self-reflection exercise at the beginning and the end of the year, which can help you establish realistic goals for yourself.
  2. The Careers in Medicine Self Assessments can help you to take a step back, reflect, and make connections between your experiences in the clinical setting and in your extracurriculars and your true preferences and values. You can take the quizzes more than once to set realistic goals and track your progress.
  3. Regularly keeping a journal of your discoveries and experience during the four years of training can be beneficial, as it can be easy for it to all blur together. Journaling on a regular basis (for example, noting the positive and negative highlights of each rotation) will help you as you look back over your experiences and remember how you really felt in various contexts.
  4. Discussing your discoveries with your peers, relatives, mentors, and professors, or even with the help of a career planning meeting promotes understanding and growth.
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