Students who change their minds about a future in medicine might do so at a number of different stages in the pre-med process. Some students change their minds about a future in medicine right before medical school applications are due, some after acceptance into medical school, and some after starting medical school and realizing that it isn't a good fit.
I feel like a loser
This stage in life is tough if you have already spent years studying science - and you suddenly feel unqualified to do anything. If you are also worried about disappointing your parents who expected you to become a doctor, you might have the added stress of needing to select another path with a 'wow' factor. Another nagging feeling is the feeling that you might always be labeled as 'not being able to get into medical school.' In fact, there are a number of physicians I have interviewed over the years who attended medical school just to prove that they were smart enough to tackle the challenging program.
However, it is important to realize that if your heart is not in it, you are unlikely to be content with continuing in a medical career day in and day out for the next 50 years. There are several good approaches for you at this point. Spending a little time re-evaluating your goals is vital at this stage and can help you decide which, if any, aspects of your undergraduate science education you want to use in your future before you start on your next steps.
There are some key questions you might want to ask yourself at this point:
*Do I want to work with sick people?
*Do I want to study health and disease?
*Do I want to develop patience with people when they are scared?
*Do I want to learn to comfort emotional and agitated people?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you might still enjoy and succeed at a health services career that is not an MD.
Health services careers include:
If you answered no to all of the questions above, then a student internship can be a great next step. Even an unpaid internship can help you immensely in deciding whether your 'dream job' - journalist? trader? financial analyst? business owner? designer? - is as great in real life as it sounds.
Whether or not you end up formally using your science degree, having had a STEM major in your undergraduate years will be of benefit to you because of the rigor and the different skills that you need to use to succeed while studying science during college. You still have a world of opportunities ahead of you, and reassessing your plan after 4-6 years as a pre-med will not be as big a setback to you in the long run as it may feel right now!