A mere three years after graduating high school and joining a 7-year combined BS/MD program, I found myself on the doorstep of medical school, an entity which I only knew through harrowing tales almost always beginning with the words “I heard that in med school…” Before that last semester of college, medical school always seemed far enough away that I would never actually have to worry about it; when the time came to face it, I was filled with an uncomfortable combination of anxiety and excitement.
Now that I am nearing the end of this journey, I look back upon my medical school experience brimming with gratitude. Those years were filled with fond memories and immense personal growth experienced with a group of lifelong friends. Here are some of the rumors I heard before starting medical school and realizing that the right mentality is all it takes to break them down into exactly what they are – myths.
What impressed me most about my fellow students was how multi-talented they were. Everyone, at baseline, was intelligent and passionate about studying medicine – however, what was most surprising to me was the wide variety of hobbies they engaged in. My friends who competed in powerlifting competitions pushed me to work harder in the gym. I played guitar with my musician friends and performed several times for the school. And when an exam was over, we all went out and celebrated together. Getting through medical school builds a camaraderie unlike anything else.
But back to the studying – I will not sugarcoat it, you will definitely be studying more than ever, but you will finally be studying information that will be used to save the lives of your future patients. Remember this.
It is true that medical training can be very hierarchical, and medical students are at the “bottom”. The vast majority of residents and attendings, however, absolutely love their profession and love teaching. I was constantly inspired by how, even though they worked long and difficult hours for their patients, residents and attendings would still make time afterwards to teach the medical students. Learn from them and remember that the only way to go is up!
Absolutely not. And trust me, you do not want it to be. You will be surrounded by incredibly intelligent and driven minds. The beauty of medical school is that you will constantly be pushed by your residents, your attendings, your teachers, and your peers to be the best possible version of yourself. Embracing that is what will allow you to grow, succeed, and have a wonderful and memorable experience unlike anything else.
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