Menu Icon Search
Close Search

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Pre-Medical Students

Created January 11, 2017 by Cassie Kosarek

Being a pre-medical student means committing to a years-long process aimed at ultimately gaining admission to medical school. No matter how many years away you may currently be from applying, starting the new year with a resolution or two that is geared toward helping you achieve your goal of becoming a physician is a great way of ensure that you are on track. Whether you vow to finally enroll in that EMT class, or to broaden your academic horizons by taking an elective outside your major, find time to build yourself as an applicant while also maintaining a life outside of your pre-medical activities. Consider taking on one or more of the below resolutions, or craft your own to fit your academic and personal needs.

1. Be intentional about your MCAT review

Some pre-medical students approach their MCAT exam date casually, especially if that date is six months in the future. Many juniors and seniors have their sights set on April, May, and June test dates, and many of those same students will not begin to seriously study until one or two months before their exam date. Avoid being one of these late-studying students by resolving to create a reasonable weekly study schedule, and to stick to it for as many as six months in advance of your test date. You will thank yourself later for your dedication.

2. Make time for a new clinical experience outside of your known interests or comfort zone

Occasionally, pre-medical students find themselves tightly focused on a certain specialty within medicine. They take every opportunity they can to explore that single interest while neglecting the rest of the field before them. As you train to become a physician, medicine will continually ask you to step outside your known interests and comfort zone. Do you wish to become a surgeon? You might first have to complete a psychiatry rotation—and you might find that you enjoy it. As a pre-medical student, you are in the exciting position of having access to the whole of medicine. You can miss worthwhile opportunities if you focus too early on a specialty in which you may or may not have interest later. Take 2017 to step outside of your past experiences and what you know. Shadow in surgery if you are interested in family medicine. Accept a position as an ER scribe if all you have done before is research. Try something new, and begin to understand just how wide the field of medicine is.

3. Attend a conference, submit an academic paper, or become involved with new research

It can be intimidating to submit a cover letter for an internship, to register for an intriguing conference, or to email a principal investigator in the hopes of securing a research position in a lab. Even when we have done the hard work, and it is time to submit a paper for possible publication, we find ourselves holding back, wanting everything—our paper, our resume, our proposal—to be perfect before we release our finished product into the world of acceptance or rejection. If you find that you have been hesitant to apply for research positions, to attend conferences, or to submit papers because you do not feel qualified enough, commit to overcoming your fear of failure. Trust in your knowledge and work thus far. The worst any journal, potential employer, potential principal investigator, or anyone else can say is, “No.” Do not let “No” stand in your way of trying this year.

4. Join an extracurricular for pleasure, rather than for resume growth

As a pre-medical student, there is a great deal of pressure to do more—to bolster your resume whenever possible, for instance. While understanding as much about the medical field as you can prior to beginning medical school is wonderful, becoming overwhelmed with its academic and extracurricular prerequisites is a recipe for burnout. In 2017, resolve to participate in an extracurricular activity that will not necessarily be a highlight on your medical school application. Maybe you will finally learn to knit. Maybe you will join an intramural sport. In short, aim to do something intentionally self-serving that will help you feel refreshed in the face of the daunting task of applying to medical school.

Cassie Kosarek is a professional tutor with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College and is a member of the Class of 2020 at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.

// Share //

// Recent Articles //

  • Entering Third Year With An Open Mind

  • Posted March 20, 2018 by Adelle
  • I went into my third year with a somewhat open mind in terms of what I thought I liked and what I thought I wanted to do for the next 35 years or so of my life. Internal medicine interested me because you had to know so much about, well, so much. I felt like...VIEW >
  • Should You Consider Romance When Selecting a Med School?

  • Posted March 17, 2018 by The Short Coat Podcast
  • Med school can test a relationship. Lauren wrote in to ask us to what extent her love life should play a role in her selection of a medical school, and how we thought med school challenges relationships. Gabe Conely, Joyce Wahba, Claire Casteneda, and new host Brendan George discussed their perspective on how med school can...VIEW >
  • When to initiate treatment in patients with HIV

  • Posted March 17, 2018 by Figure 1
  • A 60-year-old man who is HIV positive presents with fever, dyspnea, and inflammatory lesions on the skin. A biopsy reveals a diagnosis of histoplasmosis. At what threshold should antiretroviral therapy (ART) be initiated in adults with HIV? Related...VIEW >
  • On Moving Across the Country for Medical Training

  • Posted March 16, 2018 by Karen Tran-Harding
  • Moving across the country for medical school was the scariest thing I ever did – and the best thing I ever did I looked out the window as the plane touched down on the runway. I heard the gentleman next to me ask, “So what brings you to Kentucky?” I didn’t know if he assumed...VIEW >
  • Physician Home Loans: The What, the How, and Where to Find One

  • Posted March 15, 2018 by Josh Mettle
  • Young physicians have some of the highest mortgage underwriting decline rates of any professional seeking real estate financing. This should not come as a surprise, as most residents have a negative net worth (typically loans far exceed assets) and many coming straight out of medical school have not filed taxes in years. How does one...VIEW >

// Forums //