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how intense/competitive is JHU, really?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rackd8ball, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. rackd8ball

    rackd8ball Member
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    ok, so i just had a two hour conversation with someone who's a third year at YSM. She basically said that Hopkins is just a little too intense and competitive for most people, and she gave a lot of reasons to back it up.

    To start, this is all anecdotal. based on friends she has at hopkins, and residents she's met from hopkins.

    First off, having the H/HP/P/F tiers already sets the bar high. People study harder, people fight harder to stay at mean or above, even. People who have useful materials (tests, study notes) only pass them out to friends. This would all be especially true at a place like hopkins, where the kids who get in have been doing that their whole lives, or so they say.

    Internal rankings. She said that once people start getting ranked, and they know their ranks, it makes for some real intense competition. Since rankings will no doubt play some role in the residency match, someone can't take it too easy or go with the flow for the first two years. That just sucks, if its true.

    To dispute all this, I brought up a conversation I had with a Hopkins grad. I happen to be great friends with her cousin. Anyways, this girl spent her plastic surgery residency at Yale, became chief resident, and is now practicing in New haven. This grad said she loved Hopkins and everything about it. My friend tells me not to listen to her cousin, considering shes a typical surgeon type--she thrives on intense competition. The YSM girl agreed, saying that Hopkins students aren't going to tell you not to go, because it takes a certain competitive type of person to go in the first place. Bottom line here: its hard to take the advice of some students from hopkins cuz they themselves are of a certain breed.

    Disputable points: do preclinical year grades matter thaaaat much? Can, say, #120 in the class still land a spot in a top notch surgery program or derm residency (i use these as markers of competitiveness) in NYC?

    If that were true, nothing I've said would hold water. Kids would study hard, but all be confident that they'd do well in match. Gunners can gun for whatever suits them. To each his own.

    OK, so that's preclinical. now onto clinical...

    She said that the third year at hopkins is set up so that residents arent spread out enough (say, only one resident for many units) and interns have a ton on their plates. With med students working with these overworked interns, they will surely get a lot of their own time to learn first hand. But it also means having interns who are overworked and make for grumpy/bad teachers. Overall, when your interns are overworked and not there to watch with you often, it makes for a bad learning experience.

    Can anyone from hopkins corroborate or disprove this? I heard much better of the program.. there has to be some concrete reason for why people say Hopkins clinical training is second to none. Something more than the simple fact that they seemingly throw you into the trenches to learn on your own.

    Finally, she said that the people she's met from hopkins are "dicks." Residents and interns who just walk around like they own Yale New Haven and work the med students according to their old school culture. Listening to her, it sounded like these people were just coming out of a hard-core old school system where it's dog eat dog and hierarchy is how it is.

    Again, can anyone comment on this?

    Thanks in advance for any constructive thoughts anyone can offer.
     
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  3. tautomer

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    Exactly. There may be a bunch of those "dicks" you speak of ath Hopkins, but I guess I could see why since its a tight-knit group fo people who have basically been successful they're entire lives, so they aren't going to take too kindly to people who want to shed on their turf.

    In my opinion, They're at Hopkins! Sometimes a name DOES say it all. Personally, I think that if you screwed competition, worked as hard as you could to be an individual success, and convinced your teachers you were doing it (since they've probably seen enough of those competitive gunners for so long now), it would be so much better off in the long run.

    Not only would your stress level be so much lower not having to worry about your class rank, but you could graduate from a school that will just about get you anywhere.
     
  4. ice_23

    ice_23 Economics Monster
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    Here's my question: Do you guys hear the same thing about, say, Harvard or Duke? I feel like those names are huge in the medical world too...using some of the reasons you stated for Hopkins being competitive might also hold true for Harvard/Duke (i.e. it attracting students who have been competitive all of their lives).

    So if the conclusions that your friends garnered don't hold true for Harvard and Duke as well, then it might be that A.) what they are saying about hopkins is not true or B.) there is something that is SO different between hopkins and the rest of the medical world that we don't know. Or there's a C.) option that I haven't considered....

    -ice
     
  5. priscy921

    priscy921 Member
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  6. Rapid Decomposition

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    This probably belongs on the Allo forum, but whatever.

    Rackd8ball, I have plenty to say about what your friend thinks about my school. :) If I were you I wouldn't let some med student who doesn't even go here tell you where not to go to school. I heard all the same things you've heard about Hopkins and more but in the end I decided for myself that they were inaccurate, came here, and I don't regret my decision at all.

    The big fallacy in all of this is that there is this belief (which I also had thought til I came here) that different schools select or create different "types" of people in its class. In other words, that the type of students you will end up with depends on which school you go to. This is actually completely wrong - it's a lot more random than that. You will have completely chill people in your class, you will have gunners in your class, you will have every possible person in between in your class. And the proportion is different in every class at every school, but your class *will* have all three. And (this is for the premed community at large) don't be so naive that you think competitive people are going to magically vanish when you get to med school - being premed is a competitive process as you all know. The people who care more about getting on top of the pile are more likely to get accepted. People who don't care about their grades or who are nonchalant about applying are less likely to get into med school. People who go to med school almost all have a competitive part of their nature - the difference is in who is overt about competing with other people and who cares more about doing well on their own terms. Other, very rare people are completely not competitive but are brilliant enough to get into med school without being intense as an undergrad. During a half hour interview, everybody seems like the latter because you haven't seen them in class. There's no way for the adcoms to know who would be a pain in the a__ and who wouldn't.

    With that said, the first year class at Hopkins is awesome. We have all the people listed above, but everyone in the class is cooperative and we have a great time together. I would trust these people to one day take care of my family members. Sure, there are a few people I wouldn't want to end up on a deserted island with, but when you love 90% of your class I'd say that's pretty good. And yes, we send each other notes and helpful links all the time, even (or especially!) the more "intense" people of the class. People absolutely abuse the listserve. :D

    This doesn't mean that every class at Hopkins is going to be like this, just that mine is. Maybe I got lucky, or maybe this is just my perception. That's another thing - a lot of it has to do with your own attitude. Oftentimes people who absolutely, completely, desperately want noncompetitive environments are the people who are competitive themselves. On the other hand if you are a pretty chill person anyway, you will probably not care about what other people are doing or about the grading system. Some people in my class care a lot about their grades, while others, myself included, haven't even looked at our transcript. It just doesn't seem to come into play that much. We look at the match list for our school and we breathe more easily, not to mention that preclinical grades are only a small part of a residency application. And as evidenced by some threads in the Allo forum, even P/F schools that are reputed to be ultra chill have gunners. As long as you get a number grade and a distribution on your tests, people will be conscious of where they are in the class no matter what goes on the transcript.

    And just so everyone knows, you will be working hard at every school, regardless of curriculum or grading system. I know med schools seem like (and are practically billed as) country clubs when you visit but you'll have a lot to learn once you get here, even if you have your afternoons off. "Going with the flow" means lots of studying, and intensity is an intrinsic part of the game. The difference is if you allow yourself to get too much into how you are competing with your classmates rather than how you are preparing yourself to be a good future doctor.

    As far as clinical stuff goes, I obviously can't speak from much experience. I think when people say that Hopkins has great clinical experience, I think they are referring to a combination of the hospital itself (in terms of what you get to see) and the responsibility placed on med students (maybe it is because residents are busier than elsewhere, that's plausible). But if you spend 2 years jumping in and taking responsibility rather than being followed very closely by residents, you will probably be more prepared to take on internship when you are done. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad style of teaching, but I think that's what people are talking about.

    I don't deny that Hopkins has a lot of hierarchy and "this is the way it should be done" attitude so it's possible that Hopkins people who go elsewhere bring that with them. But, people from other schools probably teach others as they were taught as well. And lots of residents can be dicks, for those who haven't met many - they are stressed out and extremely busy. But anyway, regarding Hopkins - this place is steeped in a tradition that got it from its being founded to the forefront of medicine in 100 years. People are reluctant to change a formula that works around here, even if something needs updating. This is either a strength or a weakness depending on your viewpoint. I'm ambivalent about it, but nobody "puts me in my place." Med students have a LOT of say in their own education as well as influence in the administration here, just as they do at many other schools.

    So basically, no med school is perfect. No matter where go you will get both the good and the bad, hopefully more of the good as I have. Hopefully this was helpful. I didn't want to seem angry or negative but I thought someone should set the record straight. Good luck!
     
  7. Gradient Echo

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    I doubt that she had really anything to back it up other than personal opinion and warped perception.

    Anecdotal evidence is really suspect. My experience is that many people outright LIE to you when speaking about "my friend said" __________. Its a convenient way to avoid taking a stand on an issue.

    Umm...I dont see how you could make a statement like this unless you attended 2 different schools.

    Now this is an OUTRIGHT falsehood. Many, many people came up with study aids, shared them via the email listserv or had their own websites where it was posted. We also had an electronic discussion board (like SDN) where people would post study materials.

    No evidence to back this up. Hopkins competes wtih other elite med schools for the same student pool. The kind of person you speak of is just as likely to end up at other top med schools as they are at Hopkins.

    Uhh.. I'm pretty sure that nobody ever knows their rankings. We certainly dont know it as post 2nd years.

    BTW, just about every medical school in the country uses internal rankings. They almost have to, so they can write effective Deans letters or do AOA.

    What breed would that be? There are certainly a lot of people here excited about studying medicine, and dedicated to this end. But that doesnt distinguish Hopkins from other top med schools.

    I'm not doing clinical rotations yet, so I'll have to defer to others at Hopkins who can speak more to this issue. But I would say that once again, this is a relative thing. I dont think you can really make comments like that without attending multiple medical schools.

    Well of course I disagree with this. Every med school has some people you like more than others, but I have not had bad experiences with any of the people here.
     
  8. rackd8ball

    rackd8ball Member
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    Dear Rapid,

    Thanks a lot for the feedback. Honestly, I didn't want to hear what my other friend said, but once she did say all that, I needed to throw it out there to see if anyone had anything to say about it. My biggest concern is that with a girlfriend in NYC, I'll be able to balance my two worlds..

    Anyways, hopefully I'll see you at revisit weekend!
     
  9. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    I've 2 friends at Hopkins. One is graduating in a few weeks, but took a yr to do a fellowship, and another finishes next yr, and took a yr to get an MPH. Granted they are smart students but they also had a life outside of med schl and have done so much other cool stuff while in med schl, so that said, med schl is what YOU make of it regardless of where you go.
     
  10. southbelle

    southbelle Senior Member
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    I don't think hopkins is any different from the top 6 or 7 schools. Most of the students are going to be interested in research. Many will be interested in an academic career. Nothing wrong with that. But if that's not the atmosphere for you don't go there.
     

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