Best Foot Forward #3: "What I Wish I Would Have Known Before Starting Med School"
In light of our recent conversation on motivations and medical school, I have queried some fellow medical students around the country for their answer to the following question- "What I wish I would have known before starting med school."
Although our previous conversation revolved around the psychological, students in the query were allowed to provide whatever advice or insight they want. Enjoy!
-Mr. MedSchool Money
Anonymous 3rd year student:
I wish I'd known how much of life I'd miss out on. But also balance that knowledge with how rewarding and what a privilege you are afforded being allowed into other people's lives.
From Instagram @studentdrkendra:
I wish I would have known to study for Step 1 right out the gate.
From Instagram @aquainted_med:
- That success is based on consistency.
- Studying Step 1 from the beginning and using First Aid and UWorld Q[uestion]s from the beginning.
- Not to compare myself to others. Do what works best for you.
- You already have the key to being a successful med student. You just have to work hard.
Mr Med School Money's take:
I remember going to the gym in undergrad and just seeing some huge guys. Big, big muscles. It's very impressive to see someone work their body so well and be so disciplined. I think it was mostly to make myself feel better for not being as big as them, but I would tell myself "Well, they spend all their time in the gym. So, yeah, they might be the biggest coolest guy here, but out in the rest of the world, it doesn't really count for much."
This might be a stretch, but medicine is somewhat similar. Medicine definitely comes with some prestige; there is no doubt about that. But, ask yourself- what good is prestige if the only people you see are your coworkers? It is the same as the guy who spends his entire day off in the gym- you can have all the fame and prestige you want, but if you spend your entire life in the hospital, you'll need to find something else to base your worth on.
I wish I would have known that at the beginning of school, because I believe it would have encouraged me to explore many different specialties rather than being so locked in on cardiovascular surgery (which I have decided is not in my best interest, but more on that later!).
Additionally, I will add that I have been somewhat disappointed with how much medicine has advanced. We hear about all these amazing medical discoveries on the news that seem to be happening constantly, but when you get to actually practicing medicine, things take FOREVER to actually change!
Final Word: I think once the honeymoon stage of 1st year wears off (and then again in 3rd year when you start rotations), every med student comes to terms with the fact that medicine is flawed. That being said, I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. As Anonymous said above, it is an incredible privilege to walk through some of the most challenging moments of someone's life with them. And if you can do something for a patient, like really save them or improve their quality of life, it is extremely, extremely rewarding.