Ask a med student: “What is the one piece of non-gunner advice you would give to your pre-med self?”

I asked my class of first-year med students for the one piece of non-gunner advice they would give to their pre-med selves:

“My advice would be to sure, do your pre-med extracurriculars that show you have really thought about a career in medicine, but don’t overload yourself to the point of not having interests outside of medicine! More and more medical schools and residencies want to train well-rounded students with interests and hobbies outside of medicine.”

Also research is important, so is proper mentorship. If you are spending >16 hours a day in a lab and don’t have mentorship, something has got to give (I would suggest finding another lab/mentor). Always important to put yourself and your priorities of getting into med school and being healthy/happy first. You don’t want to burn out by the time you apply! (speaking from personal experience of having terrible mentors as well as amazing ones and the difference is remarkable).”

“Getting help does not make you weak or lesser. If you want to heal others you have to deal with your own hurts as well.”

“Don’t try to minimize your other interests just because you think you need to do something for a med school app. Any experience will make you a more interesting person in an application if you know how to spin it. So take your time, have fun, stay sane and when you’re ready for med school, all of your past experiences will be valuable, science/medical or not.”

“Be a person and enjoy life. Keep doing the things you love to do outside of school. Don’t overload yourself with a million premed classes a semester. If that means it takes you longer than the “traditional” timeline, so be it. You have the rest of your life to work hard.”

“Take the time you need to discover yourself and the world. The right amount of time is unique to each person. Really reflect on what YOU want to do while being genuinely respectful/honest to yourself. The path to medicine is not a sprint. Rushing into a lifelong commitment without fully understanding what is important to you—and others—will almost invariably lead to disappointment and could end up making you jaded.”

Don’t ever think you won’t be able to make it, even if you haven’t done some of the stuff you “have” to do. Figure out what you actually need, do the things that speak to you, let yourself do that silly hobby you’re a little embarrassed about, reach out for help, and keep trying. It took me five years, and it sucked, but I’m definitely stronger for it, and you will either get there too or find some other path that interests you. But you’ll get through it, just keep going.”

Thank you for reading! Hope you find that helpful.

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