Pep Talk for Premeds: What Prepared Me for Medical School

peptalk

The end of second year is coming quickly. Cue moment of complete honesty: it’s coming far more quickly than I’d like. I’m looking forward to being beyond the exam that shall not be named (oh come on, you know: Step One). I’m looking forward to working with a team, seeing / caring for patients, and having an opportunity to fine-tune my clinical exam skills. Regardless of how excited I am to move beyond basic science curriculum, I’m nervous. It’s scary. Transitions are scary.

Many of y’all who follow the blog are premedical students. Some of you may be starting medical school this upcoming fall–congratulations! I distinctly remember reading my first acceptance letter to medical school. I was excited albeit terrified. I had a gnawing fear that I was unprepared for medical school. That fear was fair — it’s impossible to be 100% prepared for the whirlwind of medical school — but I have come to realize that particular courses and experiences definitely made my transition to medical school easier. I wanted to share a super quick list with you all because it may be helpful for someone out there.

Before I jump into the list, I just want to say: don’t worry! If you’ve been accepted to medical school, it’s highly unlikely that you won’t be able to rise to the challenge. I know you might not believe me but it’s true!

So what prepared me for the academic aspects of medical school?

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“To become a doctor, you spend so much time in the tunnels of preparation—head down, trying not to screw up, trying to make it from one day to the next….” — Atul Gawande

This has been the summer of Atul Gawande. I have read his articles, listened to his commentary, and appreciated his tweets about the World Cup and Wimbledon. It should come to little or no surprise that I read Atul Gawande pieces on a regular basis; after all, I am in a Comparative Health Systems course and Atul Gawande has written excellent articles that highlight the failings in our healthcare system and he looks to other industries to provide potential fixes for the system. The most recent Atul Gawande piece that I stumbled upon is “Piecework”– Gawande walks through how the prices for medical procedures are determined. It’s a fascinating read and upon reading it again I stumbled upon the quote that I used to set off this post: “To become a doctor, you spend so much time in the tunnels of preparation—head down, trying not to screw up, trying to make it from one day to the next—that it is a shock to find yourself at the other end, with someone shaking your hand and asking how much money you want to make.”

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