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What is med school like?

DreyA

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Hello. I'm a current high school student who is interested in becoming a doctor (most likely ophthalmologist). I was just wondering, what is medical school like? I know that it's hard to get in and hard to stay in, but what is it like as far as classes and stuff? Is it more hands on learning in hospitals, or classroom lectures, or both? And are all types of doctors in classes together, or is it split by specialty? What kinds of topics are taught? Does the specialty teaching and training (like for an ophthalmologist) come during medical school or solely during residency? Sorry for all the numerous questions whose answers might seem obvious for some of you, I just want to know what to expect if I decide to embark on this kind of journey. Thanks
 

psychhopefull2016

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So after you get your undergrad degree in whatever it is, you start medical school which goes as follows

Everyone starts out learning to be undifferentiated doctor

Years 1-2: Classroom learning with maybe some half days of clinical stuff here and there to get your feet wet. More of the basic science and pathophysiology

Year 3- You rotate through your school's required clerkships which include but are not limited to OB/gyn, Internal medicine, Pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, neurology, and surgery

Year 4- You do a few things your school requires of you and some electives like say, optho electives if that is what floats your boat. For me I'm doing mostly peds, psych, and women's health things because that is what I enjoy.

You can pepper in some out of the classroom experience like research and volunteering in optho throughout all the years if you so desire.

You would get into the nitty gritty of whatever specialty you choose in residency.
 
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AlteredScale

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And are all types of doctors in classes together, or is it split by specialty?

Everyone is a medical student in medical school so it doesn't mater if you're gunning for surgery or gunning for peds you're all in the same classroom. There are clubs (like interest clubs) for each specialty one can join.

Does the specialty teaching and training (like for an ophthalmologist) come during medical school or solely during residency?

Specialty training comes AFTER medical school in the form of a residency. At this point in time you are called a "resident physician" and spend 3-7+ years training in the area you ended up in. You'll learn basic things like how to survive on the floors (so called the intern year, the first year, or Post Graduate Year-1) then as you move on you'll learn more of the bread and butter of the specialty followed by leading a resident team and learning more complex cases within that specialty.

After you are done with residency, you are "board-eligible" which means you can take the licensing board exam in that specialty to become board certified. You can then either choose to become an attending (just a normal doctor making decent money) or choose to go on towards subspecialty fellowship which follows after a residency that allows you to hone your skills to an even more specific area within that department (so like someone who does a residency in internal medicine can then specialize in endocrinology, allergy/immunology, cardiology, GI or someone who does residency in ob/gyn can then move on to something like fertility medicine).

Word of advice: keep an open mind to what you want to do. It's good to have your eyes set on something but there's absolutely no assurance that getting into medical school will guarantee you to get into ophthalmology.
 
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