When you ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up, one of the common answers is: “I want to be a doctor!” There’s just something about this occupation that draws people in. Those who pursue a medical career path soon realize that it requires an extreme amount of dedication, tenacity, and flexibility.
Medical school is a big commitment. You want to make sure that you are going in with your eyes wide open, understanding all that you possibly can about what you’re going to devote yourself to over the next four or more years. Today, we are going to look at five things you’re going to want to think about when it comes to medical school.
#1 – Success Looks Different for Different People
One of the hardest things to overcome can be the dreaded disease known as “compare-initis,” or as it is more commonly known – comparing yourself to others and allowing that to affect your attitude and actions negatively. When you are in medical school, you may have big dreams of becoming a top surgeon and changing the world. The problem is, completing medical school takes a long time and dreams that seem so far away can quickly get forgotten when confronted with other people succeeding and reaching our dreams faster than we can.
It is so important to realize that success looks different for different people at different times. During the medical school season of your life, success is going to look like excelling in your studies, learning the necessary skills for your field, and creating relationships for the future. Don’t get distracted by other things and don’t let compare-initis ruin your big dreams.
#2 – Your Job Interviewing Begins Today
Today, social media has ruined more than one job opportunity. Since people live their lives out in the open, it has never been more important to make sure that you are presenting a genuine, professional persona to your future employers.
During medical school, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the actions you are taking right now will most likely influence the kind of job you can get in the future. Your grades, your relationships, and a host of other things going on right now could directly influence your job-hunting success down the road. None of that means that you should not live your life. Just make sure you enjoy yourself responsibly.
#3 – Relationships with MS2s (and Above) Are Solid Gold
If you are an MS1, you need to be developing relationships with MS2s. If you are an MS2, you need to be getting to know all the MS3s that you can. And so on. Developing strong relationships with those who are more advanced in their studies will have a ton of benefits for you, both immediately and further down the road.
First, you will be able to save a lot of time and heartache by learning from them what you need to focus on, and since they have already been in your shoes, their advice is going to be better than just about anything else you can find out there. Second, once medical school is over, you will already have a great start on a professional network. Anyone who has been in any business for any amount of time will tell you that a strong network can be one of your best assets. And third, developing relationships with MS2s and above will give you the motivation to give back once you are more advanced in your studies. There are always going to be MS1s that need help, and giving back is always a good thing to do.
#4 – Doctor Yourself First
You know when you are on an airplane, just getting ready to take off and the flight crew is giving the safety talk? In it, there is something that is extremely important to you as a medical student—always put on your oxygen mask before assisting others around you. Basically, this means that you need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to help anyone if you are not properly taking care of yourself first. Medical school is rigorous; the homework, the tests, the deadlines—all of it can pile on and leave you with little time to invest in your health and well-being. You want to come out of medical school ready to take on the world! Be sure to keep your health as a priority.
#5- Remember, Medical School Doesn’t Mean You Know It All
Any time you’ve taken the time and effort to subject yourself to intense schooling, it can be tempting to feel that you’ve got a handle on everything. After medical school, you need to realize that you don’t know it all. Medical school is just one of the first steps on your journey. During your time, make sure you are constantly stoking the fires of curiosity. Make sure that you are fostering an attitude of humility. When you get into the real world, they call it “practicing” medicine. However people’s lives are on the line. The right attitude will help you make the right choices when faced with those big life-and-death decisions.
There is so much to learn. Your time at medical school can be an amazing opportunity to expand your mind while learning what you need to know to succeed in your chosen profession. With these five things in mind, you are going to have a serious head start. It’s never too early to think ahead. Impacting the lives of your patients for good is a very high calling. Preparing your mindset for medical school now to do the most good possible will set you up for success in the long run.