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101 Things You Wish You Knew Before Starting Medical School

Found this nice 101 things list. I didn’t create it so not taking any credit, but sure enough I’ll convert it into a checklist at some point for my next 6+ years of fun!

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Simple enough, here are 101 things you wish you knew before starting medical school.

  1. If I had known what it was going to be like, I would never have done it.
  2. You’ll study more than you ever have in your life.
  3. Only half of your class will be in the top 50%. You have a 50% chance of being in the top half of your class. Get used to it now.
  4. You don’t need to know anatomy before school starts. Or pathology. Or physiology.
  5. Third year rotations will suck the life out you.
  6. Several people from your class will have sex with each other. You might be one of the lucky participants.
  7. You may discover early on that medicine isn’t for you.
  8. You don’t have to be AOA or have impeccable board scores to match somewhere – only if you’re matching into radiology.
  9. Your social life may suffer some.
  10. Pelvic exams are teh suck.
  11. You won’t be a medical student on the surgery service. You’ll be the retractor bitch.
  12. Residents will probably ask you to retrieve some type of nourishment for them.
  13. Most of your time on rotations will be wasted. Thrown away. Down the drain.
  14. You’ll work with at least one attending physician who you’ll want to beat the shit out of.
  15. You’ll work with at least three residents who you’ll want to beat the shit out of.
  16. You’ll ask a stranger about the quality of their stools.
  17. You’ll ask post-op patients if they’ve farted within the last 24 hours.
  18. At some point during your stay, a stranger’s bodily fluids will most likely come into contact with your exposed skin.
  19. Somebody in your class will flunk out of medical school.
  20. You’ll work 14 days straight without a single day off. Probably multiple times.
  21. A student in your class will have sex with an attending or resident.
  22. After the first two years are over, your summer breaks will no longer exist. Enjoy them as much as you can.
  23. You’ll be sleep deprived.
  24. There will be times on certain rotations where you won’t be allowed to eat.
  25. You will be pimped.
  26. You’ll wake up one day and ask yourself is this really what you want out of life.
  27. You’ll party a lot during the first two years, but then that pretty much ends at the beginning of your junior year.
  28. You’ll probably change your specialty of choice at least 4 times.
  29. You’ll spend a good deal of your time playing social worker.
  30. You’ll learn that medical insurance reimbursement is a huge problem, particularly for primary care physicians.
  31. Nurses will treat you badly, simply because you are a medical student.
  32. There will be times when you’ll be ignored by your attending or resident.
  33. You will develop a thick skin. If you fail to do this, you’ll cry often.
  34. Public humiliation is very commonplace in medical training.
  35. Surgeons are assholes. Take my word for it now.
  36. OB/GYN residents are treated like shit, and that shit runs downhill. Be ready to pick it up and sleep with it.
  37. It’s always the medical student’s fault.
  38. Gunner is a derogatory word. It’s almost as bad as racial slurs.
  39. You’ll look forward to the weekend, not so you can relax and have a good time but so you can catch up on studying for the week.
  40. Your house might go uncleaned for two weeks during an intensive exam block.
  41. As a medical student on rotations, you don’t matter. In fact, you get in the way and impede productivity.
  42. There’s a fair chance that you will be physically struck by a nurse, resident, or attending physician. This may include slapped on the hand or kicked on the shin in order to instruct you to “move” or “get out of the way.”
  43. Any really bad procedures will be done by you. The residents don’t want to do them, and you’re the low man on the totem pole. This includes rectal examinations and digital disimpactions.
  44. You’ll be competing against the best of the best, the cream of the crop. This isn’t college where half of your classmates are idiots. Everybody in medical school is smart.
  45. Don’t think that you own the world because you just got accepted into medical school. That kind of attitude will humble you faster than anything else.
  46. If you’re in it for the money, there are much better, more efficient ways to make a living. Medicine is not one of them.
  47. Anatomy sucks. All of the bone names sound the same.
  48. If there is anything at all that you’d rather do in life, do not go into medicine.
  49. The competition doesn’t end after getting accepted to medical school. You’ll have to compete for class rank, awards, and residency. If you want to do a fellowship, you’ll have to compete for that too.
  50. You’ll never look at weekends the same again.
  51. VA hospitals suck. Most of them are old, but the medical records system is good.
  52. Your fourth year in medical school will be like a vacation compared to the first three years. It’s a good thing too, because you’ll need one.
  53. Somebody in your class will be known as the “highlighter whore.” Most often a female, she’ll carry around a backpack full of every highlighter color known to man. She’ll actually use them, too.
  54. Rumors surrounding members of your class will spread faster than they did in high school.
  55. You’ll meet a lot of cool people, many new friends, and maybe your husband or wife.
  56. No matter how bad your medical school experience was at times, you’ll still be able to think about the good times. Kind of like how I am doing right now.
  57. Your first class get-together will be the most memorable. Cherish those times.
  58. Long after medical school is over, you’ll still keep in contact with the friends you made. I do nearly every day.
  59. Gunners always sit in the front row. This rule never fails. However, not everyone who sits in the front row is a gunner.
  60. There will be one person in your class who’s the coolest, most laid back person you’ve ever met. This guy will sit in the back row and throw paper airplanes during class, and then blow up with 260+ Step I’s after second year. True story.
  61. At the beginning of first year, everyone will talk about how cool it’s going to be to help patients. At the end of third year, everybody will talk about how cool it’s going to be to make a lot of money.
  62. Students who start medical school wanting to do primary care end up in dermatology. Those students who start medical school wanting to do dermatology end up in family medicine.
  63. Telling local girls at the bar that you’re a medical student doesn’t mean shit. They’ve been hearing that for years. Be more unique.
  64. The money isn’t really that good in medicine. Not if you look at it in terms of hours worked.
  65. Don’t wear your white coat into the gas station, or any other business that has nothing to do with you wearing a white coat. You look like an ass, and people do make fun of you.
  66. Don’t round on patients that aren’t yours. If you round on another student’s patients, that will spread around your class like fire after a 10 year drought. Your team will think you’re an idiot too.
  67. If you are on a rotation with other students, don’t bring in journal articles to share with the team “on the fly” without letting the other students know. This makes you look like a gunner, and nobody likes a gunner. Do it once, and you might as well bring in a new topic daily. Rest assured that your fellow students will just to show you up.
  68. If you piss off your intern, he or she can make your life hell.
  69. If your intern pisses you off, you can make his or her life hell.
  70. Don’t try to work during medical school. Live life and enjoy the first two years.
  71. Not participating in tons of ECs doesn’t hurt your chances for residency. Forget the weekend free clinic and play some Frisbee golf instead.
  72. Don’t rent an apartment. If you can afford to, buy a small home instead. I saved $200 per month and had roughly $30,000 in equity by choosing to buy versus rent.
  73. Your family members will ask you for medical advice, even after your first week of first year.
  74. Many of your friends will go onto great jobs and fantastic lifestyles. You’ll be faced with 4 more years of debt and then at least 3 years of residency before you’ll see any real earning potential.
  75. Pick a specialty based around what you like to do.
  76. At least once during your 4 year stay, you’ll wonder if you should quit.
  77. It’s amazing how fast time flies on your days off. It’s equally amazing at how slow the days are on a rotation you hate.
  78. You’ll learn to be scared of asking for time off.
  79. No matter what specialty you want to do, somebody on an unrelated rotation will hold it against you.
  80. A great way to piss of attendings and residents are to tell them that you don’t plan to complete a residency.
  81. Many of your rotations will require you to be the “vitals bitch.” On surgery, you’ll be the “retractor bitch.”
  82. Sitting around in a group and talking about ethical issues involving patients is not fun.
  83. If an attending or resident treats you badly, call them out on it. You can get away with far more than you think.
  84. Going to class is generally a waste of time. Make your own schedule and enjoy the added free time.
  85. Find new ways to study. The methods you used in college may or may not work. If something doesn’t work, adapt.
  86. Hospitals smell bad.
  87. Subjective evaluations are just that – subjective. They aren’t your end all, be all so don’t dwell on a poor evaluation. The person giving it was probably an asshole, anyway.
  88. Some physicians will tell you it’s better than it really is. Take what you hear (both positive and negative) with a grain of salt.
  89. 90% of surgeons are assholes, and 63% of statistics are made up. The former falls in the lucky 37%.
  90. The best time of your entire medical school career is between the times when you first get your acceptance letter and when you start school.
  91. During the summer before medical school starts, do not attempt to study or read anything remotely related to medicine. Take this time to travel and do things for you.
  92. The residents and faculty in OB/GYN will be some of the most malignant personalities you’ve ever come into contact with.
  93. Vaginal deliveries are messy. So are c-sections. It’s just an all-around blood fest if you like that sort of thing.
  94. Despite what the faculty tell you, you don’t need all of the fancy equipment that they suggest for you to buy. All you need is a stethoscope. The other equipment they say you “need” is standard in all clinic and hospital exam rooms. If it’s not standard, your training hospital and clinics suck.
  95. If your school has a note taking service, it’s a good idea to pony up the cash for it. It saves time and gives you the option of not attending lecture.
  96. Medicine is better than being a janitor, but there were times when I envied the people cleaning the hospital trash cans.
  97. Avoid surgery like the plague.
  98. See above and then apply it to OB/GYN as well.
  99. The money is good in medicine, but it’s not all that great especially considering the amount of time that you’ll have to work.
  100. One time an HIV+ patient ripped out his IV and then “slung” his blood at the staff in the room. Go, go infectious disease.
  101. Read Med School Hell now, throughout medical school, and then after you’re done. Then come back and tell me how right I am.
This entry was posted in Medical School on  by Hoover.

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