At first glance, the title seems counterintuitive as to what we as Pre-Meds need in our lives right now. With an overflowing amount of classes, extracurricular activities, and other commitments on our plate the idea of stress is not just something that we know, it is our life. With time being the limiting factor in most of our days we are predisposed to rushing to complete assignments, make deadlines, and agonize over future demands that seem almost insurmountable. And at the root of all of our hard work is stress, the idea that we have to work ourselves to the bone and make sure that every minute detail is perfect. However, this is perhaps the best indicator in our aspirations to become future Physicians… let me explain.

Having this drive to succeed and absolute “failure is not an option” attitude is the root cause for sleepless nights, and for others even hair loss. Yet for many of us, the idea of failing to become a doctor drives us so far as to compromise our health and stress over the little things which we sometimes have no control over. We prioritize a good grade over getting enough sleep or enough food to eat, and in the event that we don’t receive the outcome that we desire the cycle of perpetual worry begins all over again. It seems as if we are not be satisfied until we are able to finally receive our own white coats that we continuously push our own limits to ends that are not healthy for any human being.

However, we should not be developing any animosity for the stress that we experience, rather we should be thankful for it in our lives. Stressing over anything means that on some level that you care about the matter, and moreover that you care about the result because in some manner you have a means of affecting the outcome. This idea of caring shows that you are motivated enough to give your best effort in any situation regardless of what it is, because as long as it brings you one step closer to helping your patients, you are willing to go that extra mile. And that is truly what matters, both now and in the future when you decide to practice medicine. As the saying goes: “[Patients] will not care about how much you know until they know about how much you care”, and in this case the most important part is how much you truly care about your patients. At the end of the day we are still care-providers who are tasked with interacting with humans on a daily basis, and if you are able to authentically show that you are concerned with their health and well-being, then this stress that you feel right now is a healthy sign that you are pursuing the right profession.

Now this is not to say that you should continue to overwork yourself and add more stress to your life, rather to keep it in perspective and understand that a healthy amount of worrying is a good thing. The pitfall lies in no longer feeling anything and losing that motivation that drives you to break your limits; this is the worst possible outcome as a lack of stress indicates a lack of caring. So do not despise the stress that you have towards preparation for the MCAT or your next exam, you will have time to study and prepare for it in order to do your best. The important thing is that you keep that fire burning inside of you and that you maintain a healthy amount of stress for both yourself now and for your patients later.