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The evolution of the word "gunner" [long post] [tl;dr in bold]

Discussion in 'Allopathic' started by flatearth22, 06.02.12.

  1. flatearth22

    flatearth22

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    Full disclaimer - I was nothing close to what is nowadays considered a gunner while in undergrad. But I feel that I should become one in med school in order to increase my chances of matching into a competitive specialty. I am not in medical school yet (I changed my status as a joke to make the superanal people on here mad). These thoughts are primarily based on some conversations I had with several friends currently attending medical schools around the country as well as some recent experiences I had in dealing with some rising M2's at my own institution:

    Back in the day a gunner used to be someone who was objectively a d-bag and who's actions borderlined on academic dishonesty: ripping important pages out of books at the library, checking out such books for an inordinate amount of time to cockblock other classmates from reading them, showing up other classmates
    in front of attendings, secretly getting copies of old tests against the honor code, etc.

    But I feel like that's changed in the information age as it's harder to prevent other people from getting their hands on study resources/old tests/ qbanks coupled
    with a general growing dislike of people who step over others to get success. Shortly put - the thriving gunner of the past is an endangered species today.

    But the word "gunner" has not died off. Nowadays, a gunner is simply defined as someone who is extremely ambitious, plans way ahead, and studies better both in volume (quantity) and in efficiency (quality) than his or her classmates. But for some reason such behavior is still derided by peers as an undesirable character trait. Previewing next block's material right after last block's exam? Gunner. Studying on Friday and Saturday nights instead of drinking and partying? Gunner. Cross referencing stuff learned in class first year with First Aid and GunnerTraining? Yep...Gunner.

    So do we dislike gunners these days, not because they are sabotaging us like their predecessors did before, but simply because we don't like the idea of someone outworking and out-achieving us? Instead of sacrificing like the gunner, do we instead deride the overly ambitious, extremely hardworking, and super organized individual in hopes that our collective teasing will make them let up a little and become more like us in order to even the playing field*

    *In medical science it seems like it's all about foresight and quality time spent on the material, unless of course one has an exceptional innate memory and can remember close to everything on the first pass. This is unlike undergrad where one's natural intellect and problem solving skills were a large determinor of success. For example in my physics class, lazy genius stoners would ace all the tests while dimwitted but hard working "gunner" premeds would get mediocre grades. Since the level of
    critical thinking and problem solving is not as high in medical school (it's the vast amount of information that usually does people in) I can easily see the tables being turned and the dimwitted but hard working person succeeding while the lazy, intelligent person falling short.
  2. Etorphine

    Etorphine

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    weren't you banned?
  3. VisionaryTics

    VisionaryTics Señor Member

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    I think when you ACTUALLY START MEDICAL SCHOOL, you'll realize that the gunner is very much alive and well.
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Um no. The definition of gunner hasn't changed. A lot if people these days throw it around facetiously and incorrectly at someone who studies a lot, as in "oh, you're such a gunner", but that doesn't change the underlying definition. It's the same as jokingly calling someone a "fascist" or a "commie", even though they probably don't really ascribe to those politics. In that case you are using it incorrectly as a pejorative, but that doesn't change the underlying definition. You cant misuse a word and then assert the meaning has changed. Sorry. So no, none of the examples you list above are gunners, and the folks calling them that are misusing the term.

    Gunners are folks who compromise relationships to get ahead. And we have all come across some. The development of the Internet might have gotten rid of the page ripping, but there are plent of other modes of gunnersm, often rearing their ugly head on rotations and making you look bad in front of attendings, volunteering you for unsavory tasks ("oh I already did a disimpaction so I'm happy to give X a turn"), and so on. Your thesis is flawed.
  5. NYKnick

    NYKnick

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    This whole time i had the wrong perception of what a "gunner" was. I always thought it was another word for an over- achiever not some one who compromises to get ahead....Interesting.
  6. flatearth22

    flatearth22

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    But that's the thing....everyone I've talked to has said that "classic" gunners are far and few between. It's the hard working, organized, ambitious med students who are labeled gunners by their butthurt peers who are bitter that they are no longer the smartest person in the room so they need to reconcile their place in the class. Similar to people in middle/high school calling smart kids "nerds" or "dorks."

    Definitions aren't stagnant they change with usage (even misusage). There are several words in the English language who's meanings have been changed through various usages. The word "gunner" has now become synonymous with foresight, hard work, and extreme ambition (see post #5) .Yet it still has a negative connotation. Why?

    Also :laugh: at the bold.
  7. GuyWhoDoesStuff

    GuyWhoDoesStuff I got the skills to pay the bills

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    It still has a negative connotation because of the people who know the actual definition. Just because your classmates bastardize the usage doesn't change the definition, as law2doc said. Gunners are not "hardworking and ambitious", they're "conniving and deceitful." They will throw you under the bus to get ahead. Better yet, the will gun you down.

    Once you actually get to med school, you'll realize that the "gunners" are actually often the people who do NOT do particularly well compared to their peers. Which is why they "gun" in the first place. This is especially prominent during third year when the people who have both high ambitions and have thus far been low achievers in medical school come out of the woodwork. The growing frustration seems to manifest itself in the kinds of things law2doc stated above.

    If I look at all my fellow AOA classmates or otherwise high-achieving classmates throughout the 4 years of medical school, I can say almost across the board they are all good people who you would want to work with on a team (with the possible exception of one). It's been one of my great joys in medical school to realize that "gunners" really haven't succeeded in outperforming many classmates.
  8. JP2740

    JP2740

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    I agree in the sense I see that people use it to mean someone who works hard. Whatever, **** em lol
  9. normtheniner

    normtheniner

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    When you get to medical school you'll see that a "gunner" is someone who will do anything to put themselves above everyone else in their class. If they have helpful information they'll hide it...things like that.

    If you do well that doesn't make you a gunner. I know plenty of people in my class that do great that aren't gunners.
  10. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    Gunners are mean spirited and don't want to help others. That's what distinguishes them from merely ambitious ppl. You'll see once m3 comes around.
  11. KinasePro

    KinasePro Das it mane

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    At my school, people use "gunner" as OP is describing, especially the try-hards that are fresh from undergrad. Some people are just hyper-vigilant about looking cool and making med school seem effortless, and they'll disparage anyone for openly working hard.

    In fact, some have replaced the word "studying" with "gunning" altogether. "I saw you gunning in the library yesterday lolzomgwtf."
  12. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus

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    Best first response ever
  13. JackShephard MD

    JackShephard MD

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    flatearth22, could you stop flooding our forum until you are a medical student?
  14. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Again the fact that a handful of premeds and med students bastardize and misuse a word doesn't mean that the definition has changed, sorry. Definitions don't change until there is a very wide scale adoption if the new term, which, reading the above posts, you can see is not really the case. Wait until 3rd year of med school and see if you still think gunners don't exist -- your initial thesis was that they don't exist in this Internet age, which is a laughable falsehood. You'll see.
  15. CassieBagley

    CassieBagley

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    nothing
    Last edited: 01.18.14
  16. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Moderator Gold Donor

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    Indeed. Here are some gunner experiences that I have heard about from classmates or friends at other medical schools beyond the typical answering other people's questions type of gunning that attendings are usually pretty good at scolding for.

    Checking up on other classmate's patients, doing pre-emptive work on those patients that was supposed to be the non-gunner's responsibility.

    Calling in sick/calling in because relative died only to be seen studying feverishly in the library.

    Not showing up to assist in shared duties on days where non-gunner's would suffer from it (e.g. it was the non-gunner's turn to present the labs on all 30 patients, but each student is supposed to look up 15).

    Making study guide and giving other classmates tainted versions.
  17. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    Other behavior:

    Bringing food for the residents/attending every day.

    Sleeping with residents/attending to get better evals.
  18. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    sounds like a good way to catch gunnerhea.

    Actually there are other terms used to describe folks who do this, but gunner really isn't the first one that comes to mind. And they aren't really sabotaging others by doing this kind of stuff -- so it doesn't really fit the definition.
  19. gastrozz

    gastrozz

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  20. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Moderator Emeritus

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    I have heard of such things happening. One notorious gunner would pre-round and write notes on every surgery patient (he wants to go into a competitive surgical specialty) even though they were his teammates' patients and would correct a classmate if something in their presentation wasn't completely right.

    Third year can really screw with your relationships with your classmates when you start doubting peoples' trustworthiness and their intentions.
  21. ronaldo23

    ronaldo23 The Truth

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    I think it depends on how attractive the person is. If a person sleeps with an unattractive resident to get ahead, he is a gunner. If a person sleeps with an attractive resident/attending, nothing really wrong with that as he/(she)'s just gaming/creeping hard (even if they are also trying to get ahead)
  22. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Again, this doesn't really undermine other people, the hallmark of being a gunner, so it's not technically gunner behavior. Now if s/he badmouthed the other residents during pillow talk, that would be gunner behavior. Or if s/he slept with a resident in exchange for them assigning others all the unsavory talks, that would be gunnerism.
  23. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    It does if only one person in a group of students on a team will get honors per month on a rotation...
  24. Apollo316

    Apollo316

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    +1
  25. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    Yeah me too.

    And that's why I found it so ironic that the term was even bandied around, because med students aren't exactly the laziest of the lot.

    Thanks for the clarification.
  26. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    I understand that the end result works in that persons favor, but the motivation still isn't gunnerism. A gunner wants everyone else to be screwed, not just themselves being exhaled. In your example s/he's the only one getting screwed.
  27. MrBigglesworth

    MrBigglesworth Meow

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    Can a gunner be 'unloaded' / degunned?

    Or is it part of their personality?

    Basically, if the gunners come out 3rd year, how do I neutralize them...
  28. GuyWhoDoesStuff

    GuyWhoDoesStuff I got the skills to pay the bills

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    How do you know the motive isn't gunnerism? It works in the promiscuous student's favor, while to the detriment of all others. In a scenario as drizzt describes, it could indeed be gunnerism if the student tried to sleep with a resident in order to gain favor and earn "honors", while simultaneously keeping a true "honors" student from attaining such a grade. It seems unlikely to occur in the real world, but in this proposed situation drizzt would be correct.

    If the student is just trying to get laid, that's a totally different story.
  29. Geekchick921

    Geekchick921 Holy schnikes, I'm a 4th year! Moderator Emeritus

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    Depends if they're visited by the Ghosts of Course Past, Present and Yet to Come on the night of finals eve.
  30. Valadi

    Valadi

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    :laugh:

    You don't need to neutralize them. If your team is good and you are otherwise a rockstar they will shoot themselves in the foot (pun intended). Residents/attendings notice this kind of behavior. I've had residents (while I've been off their service) tell me how they've even pulled sub-is aside and told them to quit their gunner behavior - ex, attending asks a question to a resident and when they say 'i don't know' student jumps in with the answer.
  31. theWUbear

    theWUbear MS2

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    Welcome to four years of flatearth22, allo
  32. CassieBagley

    CassieBagley

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    The only person who can "neutralize" a gunner is a a gunner himself
    Last edited: 10.06.12
  33. theWUbear

    theWUbear MS2

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    I feel like I just qualify as a hard worker or person serious about academics in this name game. Among my classmates I like to teasingly refer to myself as a gunner, and I'm always in the library (I love libraries! so relaxing, peaceful), but I'd drop on a dime to help anyone out who needs help. That's why we're here right - loving to help people :D
  34. ronaldo23

    ronaldo23 The Truth

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    well, I think what L2D is saying is that the person sleeping with a teacher doesn't necessarily get off from the fact that he is preventing someone else from getting honors. He may be sleeping with the slutty resident because he wants the one honors grade to advance his own career. It isn't inherently because he cares about sabotaging others or being better relative to his classmates for his own ego (though it may...more info would be needed about motives in this scenario). Gunnerism is rooted in intentions, not outcome.
  35. flatearth22

    flatearth22

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    Dude you seemed scarred for life by gunners. Did one of them single-handedly prevent you from matching into Derm/Plastics or something?
  36. GuyWhoDoesStuff

    GuyWhoDoesStuff I got the skills to pay the bills

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    Which is precisely why this situation could go either way. We can pose the same situation while postulating very different intentions.
  37. Etorphine

    Etorphine

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    The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of flatearth22:

    [​IMG]
  38. Valadi

    Valadi

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    The 48 Laws of Power - Med School Edition

    You should contact Robert Greene

    I don't think he comes off that way at all.
  39. flatearth22

    flatearth22

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    He's very anti-gunner especially on specific behavior taking place during clinical rotations. A plausible explanation is that one of them got the best of him in 3rd year possibly hurting his grades in some rotation(s).

    Hey! Hey! Look! This guy is a rising M1 and has his status set as "Medical Student." Burn him!!!!!!!111111
  40. Valadi

    Valadi

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    You seem to be thinking about joining the NRA. Maybe that's why it comes off that way to you. I think most med students are anti-gun, or at least pro gunner legislation.

    Just pointing out maybe its comments like the one above this which may be causing some people to respond with annoyance.
  41. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    This. You can sleep you way to the top and have absolutely no interest in anyone but yourself. Not a gunner. doesn't matter that there can only be one honors if your goal is primarily for you to get it, rather than others not to get it, you are not a gunner.
  42. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Um, dude you started the thread with a lot of misinformation. so it's not like I'm the one focused on this topic.

    But we had a lot of gunners in law school, so I've got strong opinions.

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