UnassumingToad

2+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2016
173
210
Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada
Hey everyone. I've been fortunate enough to have a really successful cycle so far and I already interviewed at a number of schools. That said, I still have this intense, ominous sense that I don't quite belong. I come from a completely middle class and well educated family, but we were pretty poor when I was younger so my parents were always frugal. I also went to not-so-good public schools through and through, and that could be contributing to my feelings. As I've gone through interviews and talked to fellow interviewees, I often times feel like I'm just cut from a different cloth than my peers. This makes me really worry about how I'll fit into a medical class.

It's not that I don't think I'm smart enough, but some less tangible factors. I feel like I can't relate well to some of the problems I've heard other interviewees talk about; some of the dress-up fashion that is apparently really second nature to everyone else seems completely foreign to me, and I feel like I look stupid/poorly socialized as a result. It's all those little things that add up to making me feel a little out of place.

I've tried talking to some friends about this but I don't think they feel the same way. Has anyone else every felt like this? I suppose I'm looking for someone who can relate or has been through something similar.

Thanks in advance everyone!
 
Aug 16, 2017
7
10
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey everyone. I've been fortunate enough to have a really successful cycle so far and I already interviewed at a number of schools. That said, I still have this intense, ominous sense that I don't quite belong. I come from a completely middle class and well educated family, but we were pretty poor when I was younger so my parents were always frugal. I also went to not-so-good public schools through and through, and that could be contributing to my feelings. As I've gone through interviews and talked to fellow interviewees, I often times feel like I'm just cut from a different cloth than my peers. This makes me really worry about how I'll fit into a medical class.

It's not that I don't think I'm smart enough, but some less tangible factors. I feel like I can't relate well to some of the problems I've heard other interviewees talk about; some of the dress-up fashion that is apparently really second nature to everyone else seems completely foreign to me, and I feel like I look stupid/poorly socialized as a result. It's all those little things that add up to making me feel a little out of place.

I've tried talking to some friends about this but I don't think they feel the same way. Has anyone else every felt like this? I suppose I'm looking for someone who can relate or has been through something similar.

Thanks in advance everyone!
First, congrats on a successful run so far! That you've gotten to the place you currently occupy should provide you with some reassurance that you have been doing many things quite well. You should also be aware that many of the interviewees you might have occasion to speak with very likely have many of the same self-doubts and insecurities that seem to be troubling you, even though it may not be apparent to you in the moment. Finally, rest assured that within every cohort group there will be a multiplicity of backgrounds and experiences, and you will likely find some kindred spirits along the way. You might focus on your resiliencies and strengths as a way to diminish your very natural but likely unfounded concerns regarding your suitability as a physician. Stay positive, hold fast, and you will be just fine!
 

Goro

Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
54,396
80,748
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Hey everyone. I've been fortunate enough to have a really successful cycle so far and I already interviewed at a number of schools. That said, I still have this intense, ominous sense that I don't quite belong. I come from a completely middle class and well educated family, but we were pretty poor when I was younger so my parents were always frugal. I also went to not-so-good public schools through and through, and that could be contributing to my feelings. As I've gone through interviews and talked to fellow interviewees, I often times feel like I'm just cut from a different cloth than my peers. This makes me really worry about how I'll fit into a medical class.

It's not that I don't think I'm smart enough, but some less tangible factors. I feel like I can't relate well to some of the problems I've heard other interviewees talk about; some of the dress-up fashion that is apparently really second nature to everyone else seems completely foreign to me, and I feel like I look stupid/poorly socialized as a result. It's all those little things that add up to making me feel a little out of place.

I've tried talking to some friends about this but I don't think they feel the same way. Has anyone else every felt like this? I suppose I'm looking for someone who can relate or has been through something similar.

Thanks in advance everyone!
Very common. Go look up "Imposter Syndrome".
 
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twentyeightmiles

2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2017
371
714
Status
Medical Student
Hey everyone. I've been fortunate enough to have a really successful cycle so far and I already interviewed at a number of schools. That said, I still have this intense, ominous sense that I don't quite belong. I come from a completely middle class and well educated family, but we were pretty poor when I was younger so my parents were always frugal. I also went to not-so-good public schools through and through, and that could be contributing to my feelings. As I've gone through interviews and talked to fellow interviewees, I often times feel like I'm just cut from a different cloth than my peers. This makes me really worry about how I'll fit into a medical class.

It's not that I don't think I'm smart enough, but some less tangible factors. I feel like I can't relate well to some of the problems I've heard other interviewees talk about; some of the dress-up fashion that is apparently really second nature to everyone else seems completely foreign to me, and I feel like I look stupid/poorly socialized as a result. It's all those little things that add up to making me feel a little out of place.

I've tried talking to some friends about this but I don't think they feel the same way. Has anyone else every felt like this? I suppose I'm looking for someone who can relate or has been through something similar.

Thanks in advance everyone!
I don't much concrete advice, but I wanted to reassure you that others feel the same way -- possibly even those people around you. I go to a very nondescript public school, very middle-class small-town family, not very familiar with professional dress, etc, so it was easy at first to feel out of place at interviews. I don't necessarily feel like a worse candidate, just out of place among interviewees who've lived/travelled all over the world or who seem to have come out of the womb wearing a bespoke suit. ;)

What's helped me is focusing on finding what I have in common with other interviewees (like interests in environmental conservation or wheel pottery or even favorite cookie flavor, for example). This helps me picture how we could become not only part of the same med school class but also grow to be friends. Staying with current student hosts has also helped.

I've had some great conversations with incredibly impressive interviewers who turned out to be from very similar backgrounds to my own, as well as others who were very excited to hear about things like working with Amish patients, etc. I trust that feeling out of place will subside once these people are your future roommates and anatomy buddies -- and that I'll have something to offer that's unique to my background. Read back over your application and celebrate that your unique experiences are getting you these interviews.
 

ProspectivePostPreDent

2+ Year Member
Jun 13, 2017
347
442
Status
Pre-Dental
I am a former blue collar worker who feels similarly. I'm using to working with foul-mouthed guys in tattoos and dirty jeans who would make a lot of these other applicants extremely uncomfortable in an elevator or an alley.

Whenever I'm around other interviewees (in my case, for dental school), particularly at the more hoity-toity schools like the ivies, I feel a little out of place with the types of dudes who I imagine normally wear boat shoes and khaki shorts.

But hey, they're doing their thing and I'm doing my thing. I figure as long as you look professional on interview day and you have the grades/test scores, the only obstacle to gaining acceptance is coming across as engaged, confident, and thoughtful in your interview.

The school decided that you belong on their campus. Doesn't get much more official than that.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

*breathes in* boi
Moderator
2+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2016
15,390
23,150
Status
Medical Student
You're not the only one who feels this way.
 

JustAPhD

Not a hummingbird expert
2+ Year Member
Jan 5, 2016
3,471
7,023
Ice Coast
Very common. Go look up "Imposter Syndrome".
This.

OP, you're not the first one to feel this way. Actually, I would reckon that every single person goes through what you're feeling at some time in their lifetime. Just remember that even if everyone appears cool and confident, chances are there's a good of number of them that are dealing with the same thing you're feeling. Just accept it, it goes away eventually. Use it as motivation.
 

carrots28

5+ Year Member
Feb 11, 2014
210
188
New York
Status
Medical Student
I come from a low-income family now in med school. You have to remember to feel proud of what you have accomplished without all the advantages others had. Do what you can to pay it forward to others like yourself such as mentoring and guiding others to be as knowledgeable as you are now.
 
Oct 13, 2008
5,532
1,161
Status
Resident [Any Field]
It's funny, people learn to act rich in business school, but applicants to med school feels they're already expected to act rich. There are aspects of fitting the part you can learn on the forums (clothing advice threads), the rest is just be yourself and count on adcomms being real people who don't care whether you seem like you're from the country club set. Some of the cliques in med school were definitely by socioeconomic background. But when you think about it, people often feel most comfortable with others who share their own values and experiences, so it's not that surprising.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
9,498
19,525
Midwest
Status
Medical Student
Fake it till you make it OP, it's a common feeling. Everyone feels a little out of place at first but I can promise you that you will do just fine. If anything your background will give you a little perspective and be a strength.
 
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Faefly

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
1,990
1,163
Status
Dental Student
What is the meaning of belonging anyway?

Why do we aspire too much to belong?

These people are not your friends.
They are just stops in your journey.

Some stops will be memorable, some stops will be happy, and others will be miserable, but you won't belong to these stops.

The journey will stop when you stop for your final resting place, and in the end, you'll see that you never belonged to this place anyway.
 
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