I just started residency. AMA about medical school admissions or medical school itself!

Kpw101

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Jul 18, 2013
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Hopefully if I get into medical school this year, I want to start off on the right track. I have absolutely no idea what I want to specialize in but don't want to close any doors for myself either. Do you have any tips about getting off to a strong start and being as successful as possible?
 
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medschoolappl

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Nov 15, 2011
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Hopefully if I get into medical school this year, I want to start off on the right track. I have absolutely no idea what I want to specialize in but don't want to close any doors for myself either. Do you have any tips about getting off to a strong start and being as successful as possible?
Try to do as much shadowing as you can during MS1. Go to grand rounds in departments you might be interested in. Do a summer research project and build mentoring relationships between MS1 and MS2. Keep an open mind during clinical rotations. You'll figure it out organically. Best of luck!
 
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narutoverse13

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Aug 23, 2014
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Try to do as much shadowing as you can during MS1. Go to grand rounds in departments you might be interested in. Do a summer research project and build mentoring relationships between MS1 and MS2. Keep an open mind during clinical rotations. You'll figure it out organically. Best of luck!
Any thoughts on relationships or getting into a relationship in medical school?
 

CloverBale

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Apr 7, 2016
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How do you avoid burnout?
Is there anything you would have done differently in medical school knowing what you know now?
 
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medschoolappl

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Nov 15, 2011
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Any thoughts on relationships or getting into a relationship in medical school?
It's doable but your partner should have realistic expectations about how much you will have to study and nature of your job. Clerkship year is particularly tough to start a new relationship given how much time you are in the hospital/studying for exams. Try to avoid screwing around with classmates/ancillary health staff- fun for a while but tends to end poorly and can occasionally have professional consequences
 
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medschoolappl

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Nov 15, 2011
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How do you avoid burnout?
Is there anything you would have done differently in medical school knowing what you know now?
Its the common sense stuff: eat well, exercise as much as possible, make time for you hobbies, make time for your friends/loved ones, have people to commiserate with sometimes but don't always talk about medicine with your colleagues outside of work- it get's old. Take vacations. Meditate if that's your jam. You're going to have overwhelming days for sure. A lot of them. But it's worth it if you keep the big picture in mind about why you got into this, where you want to be in 10 years, and what your next best alternative is if you were not doing medicine.

I think I did medical school pretty well. I would have started doing derm research earlier if I had known that's what I was going to do.
 
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ItsAMeMario007

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Jun 13, 2017
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How does research work in medical school (basic/clinical), and how much time do you dedicate during the year? I am interested in doing research in really any field with a project that sounds cool but what if later on I want to go to a completely different field, does my research still hold as much weight as someone who did a similar amount of research in the field they're applying to?
 

DubbiDoctor

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Why did you choose a derm residency? How is the difficulty of the classes compared to undergrad? Do you plan on conducting research as a physician?
 
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medschoolappl

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Nov 15, 2011
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Why did you choose a derm residency? How is the difficulty of the classes compared to undergrad? Do you plan on conducting research as a physician?
I chose to do derm because I liked the range of diseases you treat (infectious, cancer, autoimmune, genetic), people care a lot about their skin and the stigma of untreated skin disease is very rough, you can treat most diseases to complete remission or cure, you get to practice surgery without being in the OR, and the lifestyle is the best in medicine which becomes important as you think about family.

There is much more material to learn in medical school. You will regularly cover a few weeks of undergrad material in a few days during pre-clinical. Once you get to clinical medicine you learn a lot from treating patients. Fortunately, you will get really really good at studying effectively as the years go on.

I would like to do small clinical research projects as a physician (case reports/series, open label studies, literature review, etc) but I don't want research to be a major part of my career. I do have a Masters in Clinical Research though so I have a background. I guess things can change.
 
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medschoolappl

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Nov 15, 2011
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How does research work in medical school (basic/clinical), and how much time do you dedicate during the year? I am interested in doing research in really any field with a project that sounds cool but what if later on I want to go to a completely different field, does my research still hold as much weight as someone who did a similar amount of research in the field they're applying to?
You can do small clinical projects like database review, case reports, etc during MS1 and MS2 and particularly during the summer between. You can do basic science during that summer as well if you enjoy that and have a good project that can feasibly get done. Otherwise, you have elective time during MS4 and many people applying to competitive fields like derm take a full research year. That's what I did.

Research from one field still "counts" towards another however if you decide on another field late you will need to find new mentors to write you letters and you should have at least some research in the field you want to go into. That is of course only for competitive fields. IM, FM, peds etc don't really require research at all if you don't want to do it.
 
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medschoolappl

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What surprised you the most about med school?
I really enjoyed medical school. I met a lot of awesome people who became great friends. I didn't think I would end up doing derm but 4 years of medical school and exposure to healthcare practice in America really soured me on internal medicine. I loved medical school but have a lot of frustrations with healthcare which I didn't anticipate if that makes sense.
 

begoood95

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I really enjoyed medical school. I met a lot of awesome people who became great friends. I didn't think I would end up doing derm but 4 years of medical school and exposure to healthcare practice in America really soured me on internal medicine. I loved medical school but have a lot of frustrations with healthcare which I didn't anticipate if that makes sense.
I'm just a pre-medical student, in the middle of the application season right now, but given my experiences I think I would like an internal medicine specialty (oncology, if we're getting specific, but obviously that may change).

(1) What in particular "soured" you? Some obvious things come to mind, like insurance companies and EHR, but was there something specific that turned you off to idea, above all?

I've worked in ophthalmology for two years, and one of the reasons I think oncology would be a nice field to be in is because it is continually and rapidly evolving; something that turned me off from ophthalmology was that it seemed routine. (2) Do you not get that impression with dermatology? Of course, medicine is itself evolving rapidly, but does routine and boredom ever worry you?

Thank you for your input! Last question: (3) do you think matching into what is arguably one of the most competitive residencies was harder than getting into medical school in the first place?
 

DameJulie

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Apr 23, 2016
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Congratulations on your residency!

I would like to inquire about research during UG/gap years . In order to maximize one's competitiveness for residency, how should one get from their research job during gap years? Maybe get as many co-author publication as possible?

What other activities can help for residency application during one's gap years before applying to medical school?
 

AttemptingScholar

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Apr 1, 2016
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Why did you choose your particular med school? What should we consider when choosing med schools?
 
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medschoolappl

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Nov 15, 2011
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I'm just a pre-medical student, in the middle of the application season right now, but given my experiences I think I would like an internal medicine specialty (oncology, if we're getting specific, but obviously that may change).

(1) What in particular "soured" you? Some obvious things come to mind, like insurance companies and EHR, but was there something specific that turned you off to idea, above all?

I've worked in ophthalmology for two years, and one of the reasons I think oncology would be a nice field to be in is because it is continually and rapidly evolving; something that turned me off from ophthalmology was that it seemed routine. (2) Do you not get that impression with dermatology? Of course, medicine is itself evolving rapidly, but does routine and boredom ever worry you?

Thank you for your input! Last question: (3) do you think matching into what is arguably one of the most competitive residencies was harder than getting into medical school in the first place?
There is a tremendous amount of medical futility in American healthcare. For every one sweet lady with everything to lose with a new diagnosis of breast cancer there will be 5 ninety year old demented ladies who's family keeps insisting that everything be done becuase they cannot let go and they don't have to pay for it. There is a lot of over reach from administrators constantly telling you what to do and how to do it. Mid levels like PAs and nurse practitioners are eroding general medicines scope of practice to the point that it's essentially a necessity to subspeciaize and put off the "doctor lifestyle" for 6 years after medical school. Finally patient noncompliance is a huge issue and is very frustrating. You will treat a lot of preventable disease because your patients just don't care enough to listen to you.

Every field has its bread and butter. Do you think your thousandth colonoscopy or stress test is more interesting than a skin check? For above reasons most people specialize so there will always be mundane aspects of being highly specialized.

Derm match was considerably harder than med school admissions. It's literally the best of the best vying for ~300 spots.
 
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medschoolappl

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Why did you choose your particular med school? What should we consider when choosing med schools?
I chose my medical school because it was top rated, I had a great interview there, it was in NYC, and I liked the students I met on interview day.

Things to consider are: location, whether they do Step 1 before or after clinical year, research opportunities in fields you are considering (more important for highly competitive fields), match results, and your gut feeling from interview day.
 
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DokterMom

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Why did you choose your particular med school? What should we consider when choosing med schools?
I chose my medical school because it was top rated, I had a great interview there, it was in NYC, and I liked the students I met on interview day.

Things to consider are: location, whether they do Step 1 before or after clinical year, research opportunities in fields you are considering (more important for highly competitive fields), match results, and your gut feeling from interview day.
Valid considerations, certainly. But by far, the biggest consideration for most applicants is "They chose me!" because most don't actually have an assortment of acceptances to choose from.
 

DokterMom

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Was going to add above, but got carried away, so now its own post. Do your 'choosing' on the front end when you are choosing where to apply. This is one area where a thoughtful analysis is SO OFTEN short-changed. Specifically:
  • Buy a subscription to the MSAR. Get the facts on each school before throwing your money at them.
  • Don't apply to a school you would not be content to attend. It may be your only acceptance, and those threads are painful. (Search them out)
  • Don't throw donations (applications) at schools where you don't have a realistic chance. Unless you have something spectacular in your ECs, or some other "in" (URM or legacy), if your stats are below the 10th percentile, you're probably throwing your money and time away.
  • Do apply to your in-state schools if they show any in-state preference, and generally, even if they don't. You may not be excited about staying close to home, but your odds are better, and medical school is 'exciting' enough. Also, they're often much, much cheaper.
  • Don't choose the same 'safety' schools everyone else does. Do you know how many applications Georgetown gets? Drexel? Rosalind Franklin? Your odds of having your application even getting a good 'read' are low. Have some good reasons in addition to numbers to apply there.
  • Do pick target schools that make sense for you -- Safety schools where your stats are at about their 90th%; Target schools where your activities and interests align with their stated missions, where your background and skills match their demographic focus (Spanish-speaking? Rural medicine? Immigrant?)
  • Avoid schools with cultures that don't align with your own. Not very religious? Skip Liberty and Loma Linda. Upper middle class white kid? The historically black schools probably won't be such a good fit. City kid? Avoid schools with a 'rural medicine' emphasis.
When applying to medical schools, more is not necessarily better. You will receive secondaries from almost every school you apply to, and filling out those secondaries will get OLD. True, you'll be able to reuse some of the same essays -- but not all of them, and not necessarily well. It'll get old after the fifth school. Imagine the 10th. The 20th. The 35th... Imagine how Drexel feels reading why Creighton is a perfect fit for you... That happens. When they're trying to winnow 10,000 applications down to 500 interviews, your professed love of Creighton is an easy toss.

tl;dr -- Do your choosing on the front end.
 
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