Premed: More Than Just About Getting into Medical School


One thing I want to talk about, that I think is quite important but often overlooked, is The Goal of Getting into Medical School

I know for most of my university readers, this is a goal that is probably near or at the top of their list of things to do. It’s their hidden motivation that keeps them going day in day out, through their classes and assignments, and makes them strive for excellence. It is a noble task to undertake and a difficult one too. It will drain you of all your energy, you will be filled with confidence and self-doubt many times, it is only the beginning of a long journey.

However, I urge you to not make this your ONLY goal

I know for me, I sacrificed plenty of things to accomplish this task. I fell out of touch with some friends I would have liked to keep in contact with. I delayed doing things I enjoyed, in order to get more studying done, research, etc. I wasn’t anti-social or completely devoted to medicine, but I frequently thought I would have time to do all those things later after I got in.

This feeling isn’t uncommon. In fact, you can ask almost any medical student and they will tell you their stories of studying on a Friday night, spending their summers in a lab, volunteering after classes etc.

It’s important to keep your perspective and remember who YOU are

I remember the strange feeling that initially overcame me when I found out I had been accepted into medical school. I was surprised the first emotion wasn’t happiness. It wasn’t a feeling of success either, although both did come seconds after. NO, the first thought that ran through my head was relief followed by the question, “Now What?

And now, halfway through my first year, I am beginning to grasp and actualize the simple idea that I am more than just medicine. My life is more than just my studies or chosen profession. You see, when I had finally accomplished the “goal” I had set out to do so many years ago, a passion that had consumed my teenage years, I was left with the question, Now What?

It wasn’t that I didn’t think over what I would do in medical school, specialties I would pursue, or patient interactions. I had simply pushed aside so many side goals and milestones I had set, that were equally as important to my identity, for the attainment of that “goal” that I was a very different person than when I began.

And now, it can be very easy for me to get back into the same cycle and work towards residency match – shadowing doctors, doing research, completing extracurricular activities, etc. But I think will take a different approach this time. I will still give my studies my very best. I will still pursue medicine with the same passion I had when I began. I still feel a calling to serve the sick and needy and I am still just as excited about the road ahead.

But I will remember, Medicine is too large an area for a single person to completely master. As human beings, we are way too complex and diverse to be defined solely by our professions. Every doctor is more than just his training and medical degree.

I just find it unfortunate that in medicine, we work so hard, for so long, to get a chance to save and help others and at the same time, it seems too easy to lose ourselves.

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2 Responses to Premed: More Than Just About Getting into Medical School

  1. glenn says:

    Well said. I am an undergrad med hopeful. Ironically, the closer I get to my goal of med school, the more I feel the neurotic “premed” in me diminishing. It is a nice feeling.
    The past year has been filled with accomplishments and experience, and I work harder now then ever before. But not because of white knuckled determination to reach my goal. (The kind that pushed me in first year.) I have changed my tune. Family and spirituality are the most important things in my life and medicine fits into that context for me.

    Consider the words of Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist who learned some of his most important lessons as a prisoner in a Nazi death camp during WWII.
    “Again and again I admonish my students both in Europe and in America: Don’t aim at success-the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued: it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run-in the long run, I say!-success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”

  2. Mei_mei_girl says:

    Hi MedaHolic,
    I noticed your post on the PreMed forums. Wow, your site is incredible! I am an undergraduate premed right now and had two interviews this year (well, one still to go). Your story is moving, and gives a good perspective on life on the flip side of the coin. I am hoping to join that side with a nice e-mail May 15 (fingers crossed). I will be referring back to here to see me through the whole process.


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