I grew up in a family with very few family members in the health care field and remember starting medical school feeling lost because I did not have anyone to ask questions. The first day of orientation, a couple of the staff got up and tried to give us little “nougats” of information. The one “nougat” I remember the most was that we would not have time to shower during anatomy. All I could think was… but I love showering. When I heard that off the bat, I became overwhelmed and anxious and decided to take everything that everyone said at face value. Boy, was that a bad idea.

YOU WILL WORK VERY HARD

Yes, medical school will push you like nothing else that you have experienced before. And there will be people who try and scare you away from medicine even when you have committed to it but what I have learned is to take that with a grain of salt. If you know that there is nothing else besides medicine that you would like to pursue, then pursue medicine. You will work very hard but you will get breaks and you will most definitely have time to take a shower, even two when you really want to get the smell of the anatomy lab out of your hair. People don’t want you to know that medical school is manageable because then it is something accessible to everyone.

YOU WILL HAVE A LOT OF FUN

Medicine is beautiful in that you are able to learn a large amount of information and yet still know absolutely nothing about a whole bunch of things. So your desire to learn and continue learning is an inherent aspect of your desire to pursue medicine. And this desire to learn is what attracted you to the field of medicine to begin with and this will allow you to actually enjoy your years in medical school. There will always be some downtime, especially the weekends after an exam. You may not have as much downtime as you did in undergrad but for some reason as you get older and experience more you don’t mind it. Some of my favorite memories from the past couple of years are from all of the fun I have had during medical school. I think what happens is that you work really hard for the most part but when you are able to take a break, those breaks mean more. There are times right before an exam when I am studying like crazy that I think back to undergrad and wish I could go back to a simpler time. But when I really think about it, I know that I love medicine and wouldn’t change it for anything. At some point, you are able to figure out a good system and your work and personal life become balanced. People want you to think that medical school is just studying and working all the time but a lot of it is enjoyable also.