Inspired by the incredible amount of students lining up outside the science library this morning (A Sunday!) as they waited for the library doors to open.
It’s been a while since I have been a pre-med, almost three years to the date. It’s strange how fast you forget sometimes. Looking back, I might have been one of those keen undergraduate students lining up for the library to open and staying until it closed. I remember spending days holed up in a cubicle doing old exams and memorizing every last detail in the class notes. I remember being upset about getting a B on a test or worrying about the MCAT, research, interviews, etc.
Now I’m happy to sleep in when I can, have a good meal and catch some playoffs basketball. I don’t think I work less than I did – I probably put in more hours these days – but I am definitely less stressed about my studies. I suppose I am anxious about CARMS and the upcoming residency match but I do my best and try not to stress about it too much.
The drive of a premed to enter medical school and to eventually become a doctor can become an obsession. It can get to a point that it becomes the only thing you think about day in and day out. And it’s no surprise that there are endless books to sell, MCAT classes/ tutorials and interviewing coaching that is available for people wanting to improve their chances. I’m always shocked by the price these expert “consultants” charge for helping you with your application. You can make a nice profit just catering to this devoted niche market.
My Google Analytics shows that around 15% of my traffic comes to one post I wrote 2.5 years ago. How to Self Study for the MCAT
I’m surprised because the information is probably outdated or incorrect and yet everyday dozens of people will spend a few minutes to read it. And the MCAT is just one aspect of the medical school admissions process! Imagine if I just wrote about how to get good grades, excel in your final exams, ace the MCAT, write personal statements and succeed in your interviews. I would get a ton of hits in no time.
But I don’t. Partly because there are dozens of books/websites/blogs that already do so, probably more thoroughly and eloquently than me.
I’ve helped dozens of friends out with their applications, and seen many of them get in. I’ve taught MCAT classes before. I’ve run interview sessions with handfuls of applicants. I help out on the admissions committee every year. I’ve interviewed applicants too!
It becomes routine quickly. Plus when you’re surrounded by other medical students, residents and academic staff, being a doctor soon becomes normal and not the idealized profession that premed students often dream about.
I’m not here to exploit pre-meds. I’m not selling any products or charging any fees for help. If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I usually reply with my thoughts/advice… eventually (might take a week or two, whenever I decide to check). You’re free to take my advice or not, it doesn’t really matter to me.
And why I write here is because I remember as a pre-med I was quite taken back by the hostility of other premeds. A lot wouldn’t share their notes or take time to help you out. They would hide opportunities or resources from each other. I was offended that people could charge thousands of dollars as a consultant.
So my final hope for all premeds out there is this: Help each other. Don’t be selfish. Your games of giving out wrong information or not taking time to explain something to a classmate won’t improve your chances of getting into medical school. Sabotaging someone else chance will not increase yours, instead you’ll make a few enemies if you do so.
Don’t worry about the competition and focus on what you can do for yourself. Getting into medical school is ultimately based on your own efforts