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General advice that you wished you should have known

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by bobaholic05, Jul 2, 2012.

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  1. bobaholic05

    bobaholic05

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    What is something that you wished you should have known earlier or done before applying to medical school?
  2. NYCMS2

    NYCMS2

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    If you are going into medicine for prestige or money, even just a little bit, reconsider.

    Shadowing a doctor in a private practice outpatient setting is worthless. Shadowing doctors on medical wards is much more meaningful.
  3. BABSstudent

    BABSstudent Established Member

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    Getting a degree in biology is not worth it since there are not very many fallback options if you don't get into medical school
  4. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Moderator

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    I wish I had known never to lend someone my original cassette version of Return of the Jedi.

    Oh, and write thank you letters after interviews. It is polite, even if it has no impact on your application.
  5. TexasPhysician

    TexasPhysician Moderator

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    Disagree. I chose an outpatient field and now consider my ward/inpatient experience as worthless. It's all relative

    Don't choose medicine for the money. You can make more elsewhere.

    If you don't absolutely love the idea of medicine, run away. To be happy with medicine in its current state, you better start out being 100% dedicated to give your life to it.
  6. NYCMS2

    NYCMS2

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    You missed my point. The ward experience is miserable, and it is the core of our training. Even though you, and many others, choose to work in an outpatient setting, you still have to go through the hell of the wards which even you view as worthless. I wouldn't call it worthless, but I do think it is miserable.

    Most premeds go see a couple of "cool" surgeries and that pretty much sums up their shadowing experience in a hospital setting.
  7. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor

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    I wish I had known where I would matriculate. Then I could have saved a fortune on application fees and travel costs.
  8. exi

    exi EM, home of the cool kids

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    Obviously you're farther along than I am, and I don't remember what specialty you're in, but I can't help but feel like you don't have to be willing to give your life to a profession. It's not just because I'm not willing to kill myself for a job like so many other med students these days -- it's also because I've met more than a few residents and attendings who clearly have a life outside of what they do inside of a clinic or hospital, some of whom are very candid about the importance of "lifestyle."
  9. TheMightySmiter

    TheMightySmiter

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    I wish I'd spent more time in the new cities at which I interviewed. Some of my interview trips were less than 24 hours and I came away with no idea how happy I'd be going to school there.
  10. Verum

    Verum

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    I wish i will take it more easy and have friends and go out etc. Yes i used the future tense because i know i will be a typical pre-med and not do anything to change until it's too late.
  11. circulus vitios

    circulus vitios

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    No you can't.
  12. FutureDoctor06

    FutureDoctor06

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    Professional sports.
    'Nuff said.:rolleyes:
  13. TexasPhysician

    TexasPhysician Moderator

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    I just meant that medicine is a 7+ year requirement of grueling hours before you can tailor your own hours. When engineer buddies are pulling 100k+ those 7+ years at much fewer hours, those that aren't dedicated lose their focus and joy in the field.
  14. TheMightySmiter

    TheMightySmiter

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    Sure you can. Have you ever seen the rims on a crack dealer's Cadillac? That's what you gotta do if you wanna make paper.
  15. TexasPhysician

    TexasPhysician Moderator

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    A simple comparison: My best friend graduated with an engineering degree with a 2.8 gpa. Mine was 3.9+. He started at 75k and is now well over 125k/year at 45 hour weeks. They are offering him over 200k to do international work.

    He has no graduate school debt compared to an average of 125k of debt for med school. At the end of med school, he had earned 400k. That puts him 525k ahead roughly. I'm doing 5 years of residency/fellowship with a possibility of 6. Residency salary is 50k roughly. My buddy is out-earning the average resident by 75k. If he receives no raises and does no international work, he will be 975k ahead of me before I finish training. This doesn't include added income through his investments or interest from med school loans.

    An employed engineer could well be over $1 million ahead of me before I get my first post-training job.

    If you choose a primary care type field (50% of docs roughly) and the engineer does international work, the primary care doc will never catch up monetarily.

    I still wouldn't trade my experience for his. I love medicine and everything I do. I do have colleagues that don't love medicine, and they are miserable. If the debt wasn't there, I'm sure some of my med school friends would have walked away from residency.
  16. RedSox10

    RedSox10

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    1) Know that you can't predict who will interview you. You might think you are a perfect fit for school A, but may never hear from them. Likewise, school B might be a huge stretch but might give you a shot.

    2) Go to all your interviews. You'll really be surprised how much a school low on your list can move up once you visit (and vice versa).
  17. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in...

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    AMCAS will take twice as long to verify applications as last year, even though they said they were improving the efficiency.
  18. Charles Darwin

    Charles Darwin KFBR392

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    That is by no means the norm for engineers. If you're going to compare people earning in the 90th+%ile of their respective professions, compare an anesthesiologist's or surgeon's salary to this guy's, not a primary care doc's. Or take the average salary of an engineer and the average salary of a primary care doc and compare those. That would be a bit more accurate...
  19. cloverpie

    cloverpie Junior Member

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    What's different between the engineer and doctor is the job security. Unless people screw up REALLY badly (cue Dr. Conrad Murray), you'll always have a well-paying, rewarding job with total security. An engineer can be always be fired. One of my reasons for pursuing medicine in spite of the huge financial and personal burdens is that I'll always have a good job if I get in and keep passing those pesky licensing exams. Now it's time for me to say a Hail Mary.
  20. TheWeeIceMan

    TheWeeIceMan And like that... *poof*... he's gone.

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    Exactly. Some people talk about going into these other fields like anyone can just waltz in and are gauranteed six figure salaries at 40-50 hrs/week. I have an engineering degree and from what I've seen and heard from friends/former classmates is that most will top out around 100k if they are lucky. Also, many of these high paying jobs require much worse than 40 hrs/week. There are very few "easy" ways to make big money these days without significant sacrifices.

    Sorry for the thread derail. This is somewhat of a pet peave of mine.:oops:
  21. cloverpie

    cloverpie Junior Member

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    Things I wish I'd known before applying:

    1) There is absolutely no need to challenge yourself and take the tougher courses in college. GPA TRUMPS ALL in medical school admissions. Sigh.
    2) That the process to become one of those paper-stackin', high-rollin' doctors that every pre-med thinks they will be first semester of college is very long and arduous-and the work always remains challenging. It never gets easier.
    3) I'd say to shadow a doctor as early as possible. I SO wish I had shadowed my freshman or sophomore year. Really think about how badly you actually want to be a doctor. I would've been more motivated in my coursework because it was seeing the doctor interact with patients that made medicine seem like such a privilege and worth all of the sacrifice.
    3) All of those people who are dismissive of you for wanting to put your life on hold to study for the MCAT are wrong. Do whatever it takes to do well because that score can make up for SO much.
    4) Your personal statement is likely not going to be the one that makes the adcoms cry and want you in spite of your C in organic chem. Just get it in early.
  22. circulus vitios

    circulus vitios

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    It's easy to say "you can make more money elsewhere" when you mistakenly believe that getting into medical school qualifies you to be in the top 10% of engineering salaries. Most medical students can barely handle calculus, let alone 4 years of engineering even at a 2.9 GPA. Ignoring this, an experienced engineer makes an average of ~$100k/year. $75k is well above the average starting salary.

    Engineer from 22-65 years old @ $100k/year = $4.3 million
    Physician from 30-65 years old @ $180k/year = $6.3 million - $500k student loans = $5.8 million

    With a reasonable PCP salary and an unreasonable engineering salary, you're still ahead by $1.5 million.
  23. cloverpie

    cloverpie Junior Member

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    I think this post about sums it up.
  24. dally1025

    dally1025

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    I disagree. I took a number of difficult, med-school level classes during college and I had a lot easier of a time transitioning between college and med school than many of my classmates (difficult in terms of depth of material, nothing will prepare you for taking multiple classes like this during school). However, I'd recommend taking these classes towards the end of your college career so you'll have a solid foundation. Don't fill your schedule with them but if you don't have the study skills that difficult courses require med school is going to be a rude awakening.

    I also recommend taking time off. It wasn't my original plan but now I'm so glad I did. A year or two is nothing in the grand scheme of things but having a job, paying your own bills, and having some free time is priceless. It makes you a more well-rounded person and I feel a little sorry for my classmates that haven't known anything but libraries and books. Not to mention that when I come home from a long day at the hospital I can sit on my nice couch and watch my nice TV that I bought when I had a job instead of the cheap crap I had during college. :)
  25. cloverpie

    cloverpie Junior Member

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    I should refine my previous advice. Take challenging classes but only if you're really willing to work hard in them. Challenging classes in and of themselves WILL NOT help your application. Doing well in them will help you a lot when you study for the MCAT and boards and find that you have a much easier synthesizing information and making connections between things.

    Also, yes, taking time off is so good for people. You grow up, gain some sanity and perspective and yeah, may be able to stash away enough for a nice television. ;)
  26. Insanity4

    Insanity4

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    Stay away from serious relationships unless you know you'll be able to focus and do well even if the relationship starts going south
  27. cloverpie

    cloverpie Junior Member

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    :thumbup:
  28. mechengmed

    mechengmed

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    Just got out of mine and it is awesome. So much more time and less stress. :cool:
  29. Insanity4

    Insanity4

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    Haha congrats. I know the feeling. Now you can save up some money too lol
  30. TexasPhysician

    TexasPhysician Moderator

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    My point wasn't to argue average salaries. Physicians will obviously win. Physicians are also dirt poor throughout their 20's. An intelligent driven engineer has a decade ahead in investments, starting their own company, etc.

    A medical degree is a fine safe route. Someone willing to take risks and smart enough to build something big CAN make better money elsewhere.

    I know business friends buying lake houses, financial managers of NBA stars, etc. They blow physicians away. Granted these people are not average people in their fields. They spent some 70 hour weeks just like med students in surgery rotations do.

    My point is if you are in it for money, you can find it quicker elsewhere if you have the drive.
  31. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in...

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    [​IMG]
  32. mechengmed

    mechengmed

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    The bank account is definitely benefiting from it. :banana:
  33. mvenus929

    mvenus929

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    It's not a matter of you being willing to give your life for your job. It's that you're going to be working 50, 60, 80 hour weeks. And with the health reforms coming down the pipeline, you're going to have a number of challenges related to work, not the least of which is dealing with insurance claims. If you don't love what you do, it's going to be very difficult for you to get up in the morning throughout your training.

    My advice for premeds:
    1) Don't be afraid to explore other career options. Something might be a better fit for you, and without knowing it exists, it's hard to get in to it.

    2) Spend some time working full time, even if you don't need the money. Bonus points if you work in service of some sort. You'll learn a whole new appreciation for school.

    3) Take time off before med school. Travel, get a job, just do something. I have yet to regret the fact that I took two years off (granted, not by choice). In fact, I go back and forth regretting that I didn't take another year off.

    4) Explore interesting classes in undergrad. You're going to be studying the human body for the rest of your life. It's okay to explore history or foreign languages while you still have the time to do so.
  34. Ironmandoc

    Ironmandoc

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    So why not change that rather than being a gunner?
  35. Ironmandoc

    Ironmandoc

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    I wish I had known Obama would actually get elected...
  36. cloverpie

    cloverpie Junior Member

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    Wow. I WISH those suckers had started saving money due to our break-ups but that's what I get for dating cheap guys. I sure know how to pick 'em.
  37. Insanity4

    Insanity4

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    Hahaha that's too funny. I blow way too much money on my gf's. That's what I get for picking the high maintenance types :/ too frustrating. Why can't everyone just be normal? Lol
  38. tn4596

    tn4596

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    This is highly debatable. Engineering and business requires a different set of skills compare to physician. You can the the best physician ever and you can also be the worst business man alive. Knowing your own abilities and skill sets that you bring to the table is critical in choosing a career. There are very few people I know that simply excel at everything that they do.
  39. mechengmed

    mechengmed

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    More than one? Nice! :highfive:
  40. torshi

    torshi

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    If you do your research there should be no questions or advice needed. I haven't asked one question regarding the whole process and despise false advice given from individuals that act like they know the process and think it's cake walk if you do everything well. It's more than doing well for sure.

    All I heard from others were opinions about the whole process, and less fact. All I did was nod my head at everyones "advice."
  41. Keepitclassy

    Keepitclassy

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    This.
  42. Insanity4

    Insanity4

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    At the same time too:laugh:
  43. NightGod

    NightGod

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    And that's how you go broke. It's fun while it lasts tho!!
  44. TexasPhysician

    TexasPhysician Moderator

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    Spend significant time on your personal statement. During my time with admissions, I realized 90% of personal statements are roughly the same. They neither help nor hurt. 5% are horrible and 5% are truly amazing. Those in the amazing category gain a clear edge.

    Have something unique on your CV. How will your interviewers remember you amongst everyone else?
  45. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx Clinical Psychology Psy.D. Candidate

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    Major in what you want.
    Volunteer in ECs that are fun.
    Get the prereqs out of the way ASAP.
    Be excellent at math.
    Save money like there is no tomorrow, to pay for applications and to pay down loan interest.
    One C will not kill your chances.
    Don't overly stress.
    And overall, enjoy college and enjoy life and the whole journey will be a little bit easier. :)
  46. China69Town69

    China69Town69

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    :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

    0/10
  47. chrismenz4

    chrismenz4

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    Still arguing over which profession makes more= in it for the money...
  48. dmf2682

    dmf2682

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    Maybe I'm getting screwed here but after 7 years in engineering I'm earning in the mid 70’s after starting in the low 50s. I've seen high international salaries but I don't really want to work in Saudi, or worse for Halliburton in Iraq. Have to consider benefits too.


    The way I figure it is financially I'd break even going into medicine. Maybe even a slight net loss, but it really depends on a lot of variables. I've decided that medicine is for me not because of the money but because I think I'll enjoy it much more than engineering.
  49. MedBound1

    MedBound1

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    I think I read 1 book for leisure before the age of 21. I honestly think this lack of practice in reading quickly/reading comprehension contributed greatly to the difficulty of the MCAT for me.
  50. nysegop

    nysegop

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    One more step towards socialism :(

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