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Ahh...Harvard

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by KevinZ, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. KevinZ

    KevinZ Senior Member
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    You've all heard it: The H-Bomb. It's the name you can drop and gain instant credibility. I read all these posts saying "Yeah, I'd like to stay out West, unless I hear from HMS" or "It's either my state school or Harvard." Why is Harvard in a class of its own?

    Are the students better? HMS's GPA and MCAT scores are comparable to the other top 10's. Even UMich, a state school, has numbers that can be confused for Harvard's. With all the qualified applicants out there, I highly doubt HMS's students are vastly superior to those at other top schools. With all the qualified applicants out there every year, I don't even know how it's possible to distinguish the cream of the crop students.

    Even if the faculty at Harvard are better, I can't imagine they're that much better. I doubt they've monopolized all the great instructors and Nobel Laurettes in medicine.

    So they're P/F. Lots of schools are P/F. So they do PBL. Lots of schools do PBL. So it's Boston. There are two other schools in Boston and plenty of other cities with comparable (and warmer) atmospheres.

    Is it the doors that open? The match list and the opportunity to work at MGH? However, if you want to go by US News rankings, Johns Hopkins and Mayo hospitals are superior. And I highly doubt Duke and UPenn graduates are crying about opportunities they lack that HMS kids have.

    I'll be honest. Harvard has a ring to it when I say it. I told myself for a long time I would definitely go to my state school, but something about HMS makes me question that if I'm fortunate enough to get accepted to Harvard. But why? Is it all in the name?

    To end an excessively long post, what makes Harvard...well...Harvard? Why is it that most of the people in America and most of the medical school applicants (myself included, even after everything I've written above) convinced that HMS is the best medical school in the land?
     
  2. rugtrousers

    rugtrousers Senior Member
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    So no, HMS is not the best medical school in the land. It does have a number of advantages to it, though:

    -high quality of students (cream of the crop, as it were)
    -high quality of faculty (though, as you may see at a lot of top schools, distinguished faculty do not always = great teachers)
    -location (some people love Boston)
    -resources (ah, here's a good one - Harvard as an institution has an obscene amount of money, which doesn't help with their financial aid package - they offered me a pretty lousy one - but it does mean that almost any research or extracurricular project that you can think up has an excellent chance of being funded)
    -reputation (coming from HMS can open up a tremendous number of doors for you, and one of the advantages of coming from an instantly recognizable school is that even people who are not "in the know" will think very highly of you, deservedly or not. it's a key into the "old boys' club". oh, and it will make all of your parents and relatives ecstatic)

    All that said, I and some other folks I know turned them down when the time came to choose. I felt more at home at my school, and it hasn't hurt me one bit now that I am applying for residency. Granted, I did pick another big name, so I'm not sure how going to "highly respected state school A" vs. HMS would have changed things.

    Hope this helps, and good :luck: !
     
  3. Elastase

    Elastase StanfUrd bound!!!
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    HMS consistently ranks number 1 as far as research. Its as simple as that. People want to get into the top school of the US....
     
  4. potato51

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    I imagine HMS has the most interesting group of students.
     
  5. Thundrstorm

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    why?
     
  6. Phy

    Phy Member
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    In terms of the Match, don't graduates from Hopkins do better than those form HMS or am i wrong? Doesn't Hopkins have just about as big of a name as HMS in the medical community (which is what matters)?
     
  7. yyd

    yyd Guest

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  8. etudiante04

    etudiante04 phenomenal
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    Yeah Harvard is known for its research. It is a research school. Harvard is prominent not only as a medical school, but also as an undergraduate institution. Harvard is consistently ranked #1 in almost every graduate discipline (see us news and world report rankings). Harvard also ranks pretty high in the primary care rankings. I guess the name goes a long way.

    Harvard gets than double the NIH funding that Hopkins Med gets (#2 spot). Furthermore, Harvard is consistently ranked at the top or near the top in every Arts/Science (note: non-engineering) disciplines.
     
  9. etudiante04

    etudiante04 phenomenal
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    Hopkins does have the #1 hospital.
     
  10. TheMightyAngus

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    A fair amount of people who get accepted to Harvard matriculate elsewhere. So the H-bomb must not appeal to everyone.
     
  11. isobel

    isobel Senior Member
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    but harvard has 2 of the top hospitals (MGH and BWH)

    not saying that HMS is better that JHU... just adding some data.
     
  12. jbrice1639

    jbrice1639 Cub Fan, Bud Man
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    considering hopkins more or less invented the style of curriculum practiced in just about every US allopathic school, i would say hopkins certainly has as good as if not better reputation in the medical community as hms...part of the reason i chose to apply to hopkins and didn't waste my money on hms. (knowing, of course, that i wouldn't get into either :laugh: )
     
  13. Rebs

    Rebs Senior Member
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    There is defintely an aura about Harvard that everyone seems to distinguish as it being the best. I can't tell you how often I have heard the H-Bomb dropped while interviewing at other schools. Perhaps its the fact that it rolls off the toungue a little easier than others, but for whatever reason it seems as though it is the pinnacle of medical schools. Don't get me wrong, fantastic school and opportunities just like other schools, but what else it is the allure for everyone?
     
  14. Hebrew Hammer

    Hebrew Hammer Registered Abuser
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    Hopkins and Mayo have the number 1 and two ranked hospitals respectively, but Harvard has two hospitals, MGH (#3) and Brigham Womens (#12) as well as the Dana Farber (#4 Cancer). The quality of this hospital system is unmatched and needs to looked at as a whole. Furthermore the Harvard med program is directly connected with MIT, and as such the research oportunities extend from all of the hospitals to the Harvard and MIT campus as well as all of the specialized seperate research sites. Obviously the students at many of the other top schools are equally as talented as Harvard students (In fact some shcools might even have better numbers, Board scores, MCATS, GPA..etc), but the facilities at Harvard, the opportunities provided and the connections created are unmatched by any other school....which of course is the reason why Harvard has the reputation that it does.
     
  15. KevinZ

    KevinZ Senior Member
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    That's very true. Hopkins did pioneer medical education.

    But what makes most students choose Harvard over Hopkins and others? I say "most" because Hopkins last year accepted 253 for a class of 120 while Harvard accepted 225 for a class of 165. That's 73% of HMS acceptees taking the offer instead of 47% for Hopkins. For those curious, it was 36% at Wash U.

    That, to me, seems to be a pretty staggering and convincing choice for the top candidates in the country.
     
  16. owenmichael

    owenmichael Senior Member
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    Hahaha it was funny, at Mayo for board scores they say:

    National Average: 215
    Harvards 2004 average: 225
    Mayo's: 235

    I agree Harvard has many advantages, old boys club, boston, resources, best faculty.

    But I feel like those can ALL be found at schools like Yale (except location), Penn, Mayo, Stanford etc...

    All of the top ten schoools are amazing in terms of hospitals, research, faculty, its just a matter of seeing where YOU fit best.

    I would like to point out that althought Harvard is number 1 in research, in my opinion that has little to do with being trained as a physician. I feel like the primary care does more, and University of Wisconsin (a state school!), is going to be number one this year.

    Anyways, US news and world reports ranking don't matter that much.
    All in all, Harvards amazing, the opportunities and connections are endless, but I feel like these things are ALL amazing at top 10 schools.
    Personally, if I was lucky enough to have a choice between Yale, Penn, Mayo, Harvard, Stanford, and Wash U... I would pick:

    1) Stanford (board scores are ridiculously high, and schools amazing, the students that I have talked to are really really layed back (although they do take 5 sometimes 6 years to finish)... I guess thats something you find at any ridiculous school)
    2) Mayo (They have the same opportunities, resources as Harvard, but recruit a REALLY unique class which is a plus for me,boards and placements are better than harvards too, and all of the doctors in the hospital want med students because they are so rare (facutly to studnet ration awesome)).
    3) Harvard (god damn its harvard, and I love boston, the name does matter!, Pass fail system is awesome, rsearch research reseasrch).
    4) Penn (close tie with above).
    Yale
    5) Wash U (I have horrible stereotypes abotu Wash U recruiting just high numbered kids)

    How would guys rank the above dream list?
     
  17. KevinZ

    KevinZ Senior Member
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    Interesting as well. Michigan averages 230 for Step 1 and 234 for Step 2.

    Still can't pinpoint the aura of Harvard.
     
  18. Napoleon4000

    Napoleon4000 Senior Member
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    It's all non-sense. You don't have to be the best to get into harvard, you just have to be unique and exhibit intangible qualities which they gage from their application pool. Additionally, it's all relative. I think that harvard, as someone put it, has a lot of money, and thus has a tremendous diversity of research projects. In addition, the hospitals have some innovative clinical research as well. However, when it comes to diversity in patient population, harvard is lacking. Additionally, when it comes to primary care, Washington and UNC chapel hill appear to be the best. But all this ranking stuff is for people who are interested in rankings. If you are interested in becoming a good doctor, anywhere will do. You could go into Osteopathic school or allopathic.

    Lastly, another thing about the top schools, is that people with political or other ambitions go into these schools for either medical education or their residency/fellowship training. So, even if you don't get into one of these schools, but excell and distinguish yourself at where ever you attend, you can get a nice residency somewhere. So it is not over for you if you have those interests.
     
  19. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    You guys are all n00bz. Princeton Medical School (PMS) is superior!
     
  20. TracksuitsRock

    TracksuitsRock Senior Member
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    Don't worry, if you read the other thread floating around these days you will know that half the people who let the word "Harvard" go are accidentally lying. :)
     
  21. UCLA2000

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    Did you hear that at Harvard? hahaha. Sounds like propaganda.
     
  22. DrRads101

    DrRads101 Senior Member
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    If you want to pinpoint the aura of Harvard you must simply look at Hollywood. How many times has a movie or television show used Harvard's name as "Wow, you got into XXX"? It is nothing more than media culture gone awry. Of course it is an excellent school by every measure, but you get the picture.
     
  23. Indryd

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    Actually, I've noticed that movies/television use Hopkins almost exclusively when they want to confer prestige/expertise. Just saw Emily Rose last night, used a Hopkins man, got me thinking, maybe I should take my Hopkins acceptance and run...
     
  24. SailCrazy

    SailCrazy I gotta have more cowbell
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    Hey... easy there sport. :laugh:

    Some of us are pretty darn happy with UofM and wouldn't choose Boston over Ann Arbor! :thumbup:
     
  25. roboyce

    roboyce Senior Member
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    Dr. Julius Hibbert went to Johns Hopkins...isn't that enough?
     
  26. TheMightyAngus

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    Probably due in part because Harvard College and all of Harvard's professional programs are among the top: Medicine, Business, Law, Public Policy, etc. Selectivity also a factor.
     
  27. SailCrazy

    SailCrazy I gotta have more cowbell
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    That is more than enough for me! :thumbup:
     
  28. KevinZ

    KevinZ Senior Member
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    Ha ha, no offense intended. Maybe it didn't come across well. I'm a Michigan alum and bleed maize and blue. Among my current acceptances, I'm strongly leaning toward Michigan over Hopkins (making Michigan my top choice), so there! :)
     
  29. Indryd

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    Ok, I'll throw my professional and infallible opinion in here.

    Here's the thing about Harvard that I noticed most. At every school I've been to (I've only interviewed at top 10s, including Harvard and Hopkins) the kids are brilliant...the applicants are brilliant and the current students are brilliant. They are all focused and determined and dedicated and compassionate and massively dedicated future doctors. But at every school except Harvard, that was enough...in fact, I found I got weird/dirty looks and got grilled a little when I mention future aspirations that do not directly include medicine (ie politics, literatary criticism, etc). Whereas at Harvard (where I stayed for a few days with my host, and got to sit down with over 20 different 1st and 2nd year HMSers on a one-on-one basis and talk to them) it was taken forgranted that becoming a great physician would be only one of an HMSers many, many achievements in life. In fact, both my interviewers focused on my aspirations OTHER than medicine almost exclusively.

    What I'm saying is, all the top 10's/20's are going to have brilliant people who will be great doctors, but Harvard seems to want/attract people who will be great doctors/policy writers/politicians/major humanitarians/artists/earth shakers etc.

    That's why I think I liked Harvard best.
     
  30. DrRads101

    DrRads101 Senior Member
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    ^

    So what happens when you graduate and you become a lolely ER doc like everyone else? Would you have lived up to the "Harvard way?"

    I think you went into this expecting something too amazing and it may have molded your view of the place. When I went there it was just like every other good medical school except for some applicants kept saying "Because it's Harvard" as a reason for wanting to go there. It was the only school I heard that line of reasoning.
     
  31. Its_MurDAH

    Its_MurDAH The DaVinci Savant
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    Huck Farvard
     
  32. TheMightyAngus

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    Interesting. I've heard that Harvard likes to attract these types of students, but Harvard isn't the best place for these types of students to go. Since HMS is geographically removed from the rest of the university, it's very difficult for students/faculty to coordinate across departments. Logistically, it is more difficult than at other more university-oriented schools (ie. Penn, Stanford, Yale). (This info was told to me by my Penn interviewer, an HMS alumnus who was advocating Penn over Harvard).
     
  33. DrRads101

    DrRads101 Senior Member
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    ^

    I've heard one of if not the best place to go for that type of thing is University of Chicago. Consistently on these boards I hear people talking how they encourage studying outside of medicine there, such as humanities and the arts. I've been hearing this for over 2 years now on here and given UChicago's reputation in liberal arts and social sciencies, I don't doubt it. Just my 2 cents.

    Harvard is definetly another way to go, and I wouldn't doubt it is also "the best" for this type of thing.
     
  34. Indryd

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    Wow...what a sad, bitter little fella. You clearly have a massive chip on you shoulder, and if, indeed, you actually interviewed at HMS, I'm sure your bad attitude "molded YOUR view of the place."

    I never heard a student say "because it's Harvard" once, and I went to many lectures, labs, tutorials with 1st and 2nd years, and partied 2 nights in a row with them, and spent almost 4 days side by side 24/7 with them. In fact, the students at Harvard were by far the most humble and down-to-earth of any of the schools I visited.

    Of course, any medical education will end up being just what you make of it, and I'm sure you will end up being a "lolely" (?) ER doc where ever you go to school. My point was not that one has a better chance of having any kind of carreer after HMS, but that I, personally, would love to spend 4 years studying medicine among the kind of people whom Harvard works very hard to recruit.

    PS It really sounds like you never actually interviewed at Harvard, and instead you simply spouted some silly, ignorant, stereotypical platitudes. :(
     
  35. DrRads101

    DrRads101 Senior Member
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    ^

    Easy there fella. Wow did I hit a nerve or what--you sound like you'll make a great doctor with that temper. I interviewed there 2 years ago. I especially love your statement "I only interview at Top 10 schools." I know your type.

    I didn't say you were to become a "lolely ER doc" I was just bringing something hypothetical to the table to challenge your expectations, since a "lolely ER doc" is just as much a success as one of your "earth shakers" you speak of. I meant nothing personal but you started slandering me right away?
     
  36. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    I've heard that about U Chicago too. U Chicago does seem to have some people with eclectic interests, including MD/PhD students who are getting PhDs in physical sciences, social sciences, or even humanities.
     
  37. Indryd

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    ^

    Ahh...I see, rejected from Harvard...that was my second guess.

    Yeah, what type am I? That's so cute and sad. Bet you wouldn't have guessed I barely graduated highschool and finished with a 2.2 gpa. Or that I lived in a car or tent for almost 5 years of my childhood because my parents spent all of our welfare on drugs (yeah, I'm predicting your thoughts right here...no...I'm not a URM, white as mayonaise...). Or that I was a card carrying member of the BCTGM labor union for almost 10 years before starting undergrad at a RURAL JUNIOR COLLEGE and finally transferring to a practically anonymous state college. Or that I nursed my stroke-victim mother, who treated me like sh!t as a child, in my own home around my own wife and child the first 2 years of my undergrad until she died of her second stroke in my bathroom, or that I have never for a single week of my 5 years of undergrad not worked full-time...yeah, or that I am 5'10", 270 pounds, yellow teeth, a balding ponytail wielder with a cheesey goatee, or that I right now work full-time for $250 a week in a free clinic which I manage serving the working poor and homeless meth-addicts of rural Oregon while still studying full-time...I bet that's exactly the "type" you were thinking of.

    PS You misquoted me. That was nice of you.
     
  38. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    Dayum! And he's as white as mayonaise, to boot!
     
  39. Bluntman

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    whoa calm down dude. people on sdn take things too personally.
     
  40. Indryd

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    Sorry, that dude is just a total ass...I mean who the hell says "I know your type" to someone they have never met and have read maybe 200 words of their online posts? :mad:

    You're right, I'm taking him too seriously. He still a sad lil' fella though. I feel sorry for him. :(
     
  41. Its_MurDAH

    Its_MurDAH The DaVinci Savant
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    www.kleenex.com
     
  42. Indryd

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    Thanks...*sniffle*.
     
  43. Its_MurDAH

    Its_MurDAH The DaVinci Savant
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    hehehehe
     
  44. DrRads101

    DrRads101 Senior Member
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    Talk about hypocritical (and overly angry over nothing to boot)!

    You don't know me AT ALL... and have already figured out that I "didn't interview there" and now "I got rejected" and am still sour 2 years later about it. I told my experience and you not only disagreed with it, which is cool, you acted like I was outright lying about it. And you started calling me names to boot! No offense kid but you aren't worth my time so go take your arrogance elsewhere, and welcome to my ignore list.

    To be honest I don't feel like being slandered and have you feel "sorry for me" any longer...
     
  45. infiniti

    infiniti Senior Member
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    There is no argument that Harvard's name will make people look twice. In fact, this name is only matched by Oxford's well known name (outside of America of course). Harvard was created over (or close to) three hundred years ago, hence all its accomplishments.

    The reaction described above is only observed among the lay people and the media. Upon talking to many scientist, I was given the same response. Harvard (speaking of medical and graduate biological programs) is great, but not unlike many of the top ten schools.

    I was even told by many people in the biological sciences (including doctors and residency directors) that there is one particular school that makes (or should make) harvard shake in its boot. The school is UCSF. Given UCSF's short history, there is no argument that this school is at worst tied (with Harvard and Hopkins) for being the most powerful biological and medical establishment in the country (or even world). No school has matched UCSF's accomplishment in this decade. A lot of people will site funding from NIH. This is very misleading. Harvard by all means is a gigantic institution (encompassing several smaller instutions) in terms of faculty, students and staff. By the time the fund is divided between the several institutions, you will realize that it isn't breathtaking anymore. UCSF however is pretty small. For its size, UCSF racks in ridiculous amount of money from the NIH. In fact, it has constantly beat out Harvard in terms of funding for its graduate programs since 2003.

    Harvard is perhaps more interesting than other schools because it is great across the board. Think of anything you like and I can almost guarantee you that Harvard is ranked top 10 in it. No other institution in the world can make this claim. In terms of medicine however, I would say Harvard in one of the best. I wouldn't call it the best tho.
     
  46. Bluntman

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    Anyway, to get things back on track...

    what particularly attracts me to Harvard is the breadth of collaborative research opportunities available through the university and around Boston in general. The extensive clinical infrastructure, the research at the med and undergrad campus, MIT right next door (I especially enjoy this since I lean towards the engineering side of things), the whitehead institute...the list goes on. This environment is hard to match, especially for BME research (if I was more basic/clinical science then all the stuff around Cornell/Rockefeller/SKI would be enticing as well).
     
  47. Indryd

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    1. I'm 29
    2. I'm right and you know it. You got rejected.
    3. You are wrong about my "type", misquoted me, and didn't actually put me on your ignore list because you only posted in here to get a reaction in the first place.
     
  48. DrRads101

    DrRads101 Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

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    ^

    I was rejected. So what. What does that have to do with ANYTHING and how does that change the fact you are a complete jerk.

    Let's see... I challenged your expectations and gave just a portion of my interview experience a couple years ago, and in no way slandered you and called you a "lolely ER doc", and you went ahead and...

    1) Called me a "sad, bitter little fella"
    2) Made sure and bring up my rejection, and not only that, you are now rubbing it in
    3) Tell everyone I'm "a total ass"
    4) Tell everyone else "You feel sorry for me" and that I'm still a "sad little fella"
    5) Went on a huge diatribe about yourself as if other people's harsh upbringings mean nothing
    6) And did it all in a completely arrogant and condescending manner

    I am in disbelief at your behavior. Apparently you are offended by becoming an ER doc? My point was that that would be just as much a personal success as an "earth shaker" as you put it!
     
  49. Indryd

    7+ Year Member

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    Dude, you started it, go back and read...I posted what I liked and you came out with some crap about how I only liked it because I went there expecting to like it...and that I would probably end up being a "lolely" ER doc out of HMS...

    That is completely condescending and totally not within the realm of calm discourse in which the conversation in this thread had been previously. Before you chimed in this thread was level and intelligent, then you had to reply to my post condescendingly...that started it all.

    Yeah, I turned into an ass on you, but hey man, ctfo and be respectful in the first place and you will get respect.

    (Hehe, I knew I wasn't going on your ignore list!) :laugh:
     
  50. DrRads101

    DrRads101 Senior Member
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    ^

    I have to admit I didn’t put you on my ignore list because I couldn’t help but see what arrogant reply you had for me. I never said you were going to be a lolely ER doc, I said what happens if you were to become one? And this wasn't even directed at you. It was merely a hypothetical question because my sister works alongside an ER doc from Harvard and this guy is no "earth shaker." I was merely shaking up your notion about Harvard a little bit along with your expectations. It's a great school but going there will not make you an "earth shaker" it is all up to you--and if you go there and become an ER doc, you are not a failure in ANY way.

    I think you need to read through this thread and see just how angry and worked up you got over a little guy like me saying I didn’t like the fact at my interview at Harvard, LONG time ago in a land far, far away, students were telling me “Because it’s Harvard” when questioned why they chose to go there. Don’t act like name dropping is unimportant to everybody and that there aren’t students who chose to go there over other schools due to pedigree. And your immediate response to me was to attack me and call me a sad, bitter little fella? And how you felt the need to remind me a couple times of my rejection (which was over 2 years ago BTW) even though it is completely and utterly irrelevant? And acting like this at 29?
     

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