Pre-med. This term is synonymous with sleepless nights, caffeinated mornings and the occasional mental breakdown due to our hectic schedules. I myself am among those privileged few, and now being in my sophomore year at a small school in Maryland I have come to a few realizations about the life we all chose to live.
Understanding that there are many exceptions to the rule (i.e. high IQ’s and academic geniuses to name a few), then you are stuck with me and the other 90% of pre-meds: “the hard workers”. There are many nights where I look at the unforgiving clock and think “is this really what I want?” It is at those very moments where you have to dig real deep and push through in order to keep going. Being a Pre-Med is hard and no one ever said that it was either easy or a guarantee, but that’s just it. As future doctors we have to understand that on those operating tables and in those waiting rooms we will experience the most heartbreaking moments of our lives when we fail to meet expectations. And it is that same bitter taste of failure that resonates with us on our exams and quizzes that we must learn to look forward to, as an opportunity to fuel both our motivation and success. Yes, it sucks, but unless we learn to “embrace the suck” failure will forever be our one weakness.
I apologize about that first paragraph (I admit it is a bit gloomy to start off an article with), but it brings me to next point which is on humility. I cannot tell you how many times in high school that I thought that life would be this easy and Undergrad/Medical School would be a breeze, boy was I wrong. I remember staring at my first semester’s transcript and thinking that I was way in over my head to think that it would be as easy as high school, it smacked me right back into reality. And over the course of finding my confidence again I realized that hubris was my downfall and only by being humble could I ever recapture success. Humility, especially as doctors is an extremely vital trait to have especially in the field(s) that we aspire to go into. Sure, everyone wants to be “that guy or girl” but the truth is that we are not and in the end it is our own actions that speak the loudest.
But perhaps the most profound thing that I learned in my time as a Pre-Med has been to “just be myself”, and you should as well. Many of us strive to be the 4.0 GPA 40 on the MCAT student that we think that Medical Schools look for but 50 years down the road when you are the one donning your own white coat, will you honestly be able to say that you did it “your way?” To be the best doctor, you have to be you. There is no one like you and that is what Medical Schools are looking for; past all of the scores and rankings they want to know if you will be a great addition to the medical field that they represent. Your uniqueness is what will make you the best physician that you possibly can be and the sooner that you realize that the better off you will be in making your journey into medical school. So remember: “embrace the suck”, stay humble, and be yourself. So grab yourself another cup of coffee, crack open those notes and let’s continue on this journey together because the world needs curing and it all begins with you.