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What's exactly wrong with gunner like people?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JohnnyQ, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. JohnnyQ

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    I am not exactly a gunner in the sense that I hurt other people to improve myself.

    But I must admit that I enjoy sitting up front in class, and asking lots of questions.

    I also think that its a good idea to get a head start on exams like the MCAT, USMLE in high school and undergrad.

    Most people have advised me to not pick up a specialty until Medical School, but I have already decided on two specialties that I am strongly leading towards. (EM and Cardiology appeal to me so far)

    Why is SDN so agressive to people who want to get a head start? Is it jealousy or some other reason?
     
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  3. Auron

    Auron Cruisin' the Cosmos
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    their is nothing wrong with working hard and planning ahead - gunners tend to harm others to help themselves. Thats where the aggression towards them stems from.
     
  4. Vano

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    In my view, one primarily should strive to do well at the current stage one is at, because one might not even get to the next stage if one gets a head start on things belonging to the next stage without finishing off the things in the previous stage. Often times, one doesn't know what the hell next stage is all about, thus all planmaking is bogus. Take your "choice of specialty" for example, what do you base your choice on? Shadowing? I can't imagine that you shadowed physicians in all the major specialties out there so that you can single out the two you like and discard others; and even if you did, I don't believe a decision would be an educated one. TV, books? Would rely on that even less than shadowing or probably not rely on it at all, unless books are detailed and written by people in the field. IMHO you must try things out yourself for a period of time(clinical rotations) to be able to make that kind of a decision, besides there may be other circumstances affecting your choice few years down the road--family, loans, USMLE scores etc. etc. Even now looking at your choice--EM and cardiology are quite different specialties both in terms of nature of work, relationships with patients and in terms of your own lifestyle. When the time to apply for residency comes(I suspect for you it's many years down the road?) you may be applying for one of those two, or something completely different.
     
  5. nabs86

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    Learning is a good thing. You won't get very far in med school about it. No one is opposed to people who work hard and get good grades. But there's more to being a doctor than your exam scores and grades. Studying for the MCAT and the boards in high school and college??? It's ridiculous because you simply don't know enough to study for those exams and it's basically a waste of time. You're supposed to have a life or no one will like you, including your patients. Don't waste the best years of your life doing pointless studying that won't help you in the end anyway.
     
  6. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    It's not jealousy, it's a matter of perspective. People who have gone through USMLE and the MCAT recognize that trying to prepare for such exams as early as high school is . . . well, just plain stupid. It's sort of like training an infant to run marathons before they learn how to walk.

    The aggressiveness you cite is more mockery than actual hostility.
     
  7. BigRedPremed

    BigRedPremed Senior Member
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    There's a difference between planning ahead and being extremely neurotic/annoying.

    Paying attention in your intro science classes so that you would do well on the MCAT=good idea
    Studying for the MCAT in your sophomore year of HS when you should be studying for the SAT's or playing with friends=neurotic

    Having some kinds of idea about the nature of the medical field that might be attractive to you=good idea
    Locking yourself into cardiology and EM before you've even started medical school=narrowminded

    Going to office hours to clarify material=:thumbup:
    Asking incessant questions and disrupting lecture during class=:thumbdown:
     
  8. spicedmanna

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    Actually, you can do whatever you want. Decide on your specialty right now if you wish. What I think most people are hinting at is that you might not want to take your "decision" so seriously because you don't yet have the basis, in most cases, to make such a decision. In fact, many people change their minds, some several times, about what specialty they want to do while they are in medical school. Understand your affinities toward certain specialties, rotate through the lot of them during 3rd/4th year of medical school, and then you'll actually be able to make an informed choice. Thus, what a lot of people are basically saying is that there's a futility in being absolutely sure about your specialty right now, because you are likely to change your mind later on anyway, and it may actually be better to stay open so that you explore can other fields. You may surprise yourself with what field you actually like after you've tried many out.
     
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  9. Tired

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    And even more than that, most people who apply to med school don't even get in. The OP is going to tie up his entire life and feelings of self-worth in a field he may not even successfully enter. He may waste huge amounts of time "studying" (though it's not really studying, because he won't retain a lick of it) for tests he may never take. He will close himself off from other careers he may be happier in, because instead of exploring his options he'll waste all his time in the "premed club" at his college.

    Such a bad idea to lock yourself into career choices early. That's why the American system has undergraduate education, instead of locking children into career paths before they even have the intellectual capability to make a reasoned choice.
     
  10. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    Academic success is the mechanized bunny which most medical students have wisely chosen to stop chasing. But medical students cannot change their underlying (type-A overachiever) personalities, and so people still chasing the bunny grate on our nerves -- they make us feel guilty and lazy.

    More importantly, no one, anywhere, especially not future doctors, likes to feel like the dumbest person in the room. Everyone likes to feel like the smartest person in the room. Many gunners do not purely seek knowledge, or even grades -- they seek to be recognised as bright and knowledgable. And people hate that. That is why really brillant people so often apply their intelligence to giving other people a stronger sense of importance. Even if one hasn't reached that level of social deftness, most people recognise that it's a bad idea to make people feel dumb. Gunners sometimes forget, or never absorbed, this critical principle of social interaction.

    Beyond what people think of you, being excessively focused on the future is a bad idea. Being present in the moment and open to what life brings your way is essential to happiness and to being a skillful clinician. Being future-focused is often a waste of time, too:

    Next, Please
    by Philip Larkin

    Always too eager for the future, we
    Pick up bad habits of expectancy.
    Something is always approaching; every day
    Till then we say,

    Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear
    Sparkling armada of promises draw near.
    How slow they are! And how much time they waste,
    Refusing to make haste!

    Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks
    Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks
    Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked,
    Each rope distinct,

    Flagged, and the figurehead with golden tits
    Arching our way, it never anchors; it's
    No sooner present than it turns to past.
    Right to the last

    We think each one will heave to and unload
    All good into our lives, all we are owed
    For waiting so devoutly and so long.
    But we are wrong:

    Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
    Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
    A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
    No waters breed or break.
     
  11. spicedmanna

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    Right on; these are very good points. :thumbup:
     
  12. xylem29

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    No - most people that use the word gunner, always end up describing examples where the person is not actually a gunner...what you just described as yourself, unfortunately - people will consider you a gunner...in the real-world, few people actually go out of their way to sabotage their peers for their own personal gain. There are however, plenty of people who aim for the VERY top or at least, their own very best - such as yourself, sitting at the front asking questions, already having a very competitive specialty like cards in mind, no doubt will be talking all the necessary steps to make sure you will be competitive for that fellowship, etc - nothing wrong with that imo. There's always gotta be some people who take up the chief residency, department chiefs, competitive residencies and fellowhips - and it's not going to be the "i'm too cool to be a gunner to worry about AOA, i'll just criticize other people who are working hard towards their personal goals" types that always complain about gunners on SDN. It just seems that the very driven and serious people - like those who started looking into the MCAT since first year, or even those who planned out their undergrad in highschool with the goal of getting into med school (this isn't me btw) are all considered gunners when they actually do no harm to their peers.
     
  13. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    See, there's a major flaw in the logic that studying for the USMLE in undergrad is a good idea. This thought is based on the assumption that tests and learning goals in undergrad are very similar to the tests and learning goals in med school. Obviously, they're not. If they were, then almost everyone would do fine, academically, in med school. Tests in med school (much less USMLE 1) are nothing like the tests I took in college.

    If the only thing you do is read First Aid for Step 1,
    1) you won't retain anything useful,
    2) they're called REVIEW books for a reason, and
    3) it's not a sufficient resource by itself. The authors of First Aid assume that you've already learned how to start thinking like a clinician, and so they don't bother to try and teach you that. They review facts that often show up on the boards, but without knowing how to apply them, the facts themselves aren't very useful. (Not to mention almost impossible to remember if you don't use them every day.)
     
  14. soeagerun2or

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    They're called prereq's for a reason.. You need a fundamental understanding before you can fully comprehend the more detailed concepts. As others have alluded to getting USMLE or MCAT books while you're in HS would not help because they're over your head. Would you walk in to a college bookstore and buy a novel in a language you don't know? You'd have to look every word up in the dictionary!
     
  15. brianmartin

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    the term "gunner" doesn't really have any meaning in undergrad. It's more of a term used to describe students in med school who are "gunning" for competetive specialties. The specialties you cited, EM and cardiology, are competetive, but not even close to rads, derm, and ortho. Med students going for these specialties need to be doing research, and studying far more than your average student going into most other specialties.

    You can't really be a "gunner" until you decide you are going into one of these specialties.
     
  16. Tired

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    Yeah. I think Panda's description of the three gunner subtypes should be reviewed by all concerned.
     
  17. ssquared

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    The reason is that people who fit the description you just gave are usually a total nuisance. Life is not entirely about schoolwork or asking questions in class or starting your USMLE prep before everyone else. And until you step back and figure some things out, people will dislike your attitude. (notice I said attitude, not "you") Frankly, it sounds like you have a bit of the maturation process left. Not that that's a bad thing, but you're still young and you've got some growing up to do.
     
  18. bluesTank

    bluesTank Zombie
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    You should get out more and enjoy life, before it is consumed by medical school and residency etc.
     
  19. ElDocteur

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    Cardiology is not a residency you apply for right out of medical school, so people are not aware of how competitive it is - in the grand scheme of things, I think it is even more competitive than rads or ortho and probably closer to derm and plastics in terms of competitiveness. I think only about 50% of all applicants applying for a Cardiology fellowship are able to get a spot. If you are coming from one of the top tier programs (MGH, Hopkins, BWH, UCSF, Hopkins, Penn, Duke etc) then you have a good shot but overall it is a very very competitive subspecialty to match in - it's definitely not like matching in internal medicine at all.
     
  20. ropeadope1983

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    I think many people either in medical school or about to attend medical school are either working their a$$es off or are preparing to work their a$$es off in whatever they do. Some people choose different areas to focus that energy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and preparing yourself for success. But the fact of the matter is that most people don't like suck-ups, those who display a cut-throat mentality, and those who wouldn't lift a finger to help others. I believe that this stems from feelings that those who work hard and have the right attitude should be the ones at the top of the class, and it is annoying that there are people who get ahead in life simply by sucking up to those above them while stabbing people in the back who are either below them or at the same level as them. Hell with them! It's best just to have nothing to do with them.

    I will say this though...there are certain advantages to knowing early on what area of medicine you want to specialize in. You will have a head start in finding the right research projects to get involved in (if you want to do research) and finding the right people to talk to who can help you move in the right direction. If you want to enter EM then it could be of benefit to you to do research related to EM, volunteer/shadow in the ED, talk to the right people about making a plan for electives later on, maybe joining professional organizations related to EM and finding ways to attend national conferences. These are some things that I would look for in residency candidates if I were the director of a competitive EM residency program. So you can see that there is an advantage to knowing what you want to do early on. I cannot imagine choosing what residency you want to enter at the end of your third year of medical school, when by-and-large it is too late to do most of these things that might set you apart from everyone else that gets good grades and does well on the USMLE, while at the same time demonstrating your sincere interest in that field of medicine.
     
  21. Vano

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    Having an interest in a field and taking some steps to find out more about it(societies, conferences, research etc.) isn't bad. However, some people may do a rotation in that field in their 3rd year and hate it, then they will do an away rotation in that field and won't like it again, but since they were preparing themselves to enter that field since many years ago they will feel compelled to apply into that field. Having interests isn't bad, being dead-set on a specialty and narrow-minded is because at the end you may not be carved out for it and you will be rather unhappy.
     
  22. Jacks Mannequin

    Jacks Mannequin if you're into it
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    Small stethoscope?
     
  23. stixx

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    Sorry this thread is too much reading for my Type B brain, but the simple answer is: you're annoying.
     
  24. Law2Doc

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    There are some advantages to actually knowing, but equally big disadvantages to thinking you know. Someone still in high school is almost certainly in that second category.

    You don't plan your medical career from high school. Life isn't something you plan, it's something you live. There are thousands of career options OP hasn't explored yet and he is focusing in on one, that probably isn't even very much like what he thinks it is. This is exactly the kind of reasoning that fills so many first year med students with angst, wondering (finally) if they made a bad decision.

    People aren't being hostile toward you because you are getting a well thought out head start, people are being hostile toward you because you are just plain missing the big picture.
     
  25. ropeadope1983

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    There are a lot of people that I know of who knew they wanted to enter a specific field of medicine basically from the time they hit 3rd grade. They explored their interests and followed through all the way to the end and are extremely happy doing what they knew they wanted to do all along. I really tend to believe that if the OP really put a lot of time into exploring EM and cardiology even as early as high school (shadowing docs, volunteering in the appropriate places, talking to people who can answer their questions, etc.) then completing 1 month or less as essentially a step up from a pre-med volunteer during a clinical clerkship in that specialty might not do a whole lot to dissuade him from entering a field of medicine that he already knows a lot about and really enjoys. Have you ever thought of the possibility that people are dissuaded from entering specialties during their clerkships that they might otherwise really enjoy, but it just so happened to be an unlucky month and they worked with some people that were real jerks and got a really bad vibe from that specialty because of it? Which is worse? Basing your decision on a month spent with people that happen to be jerks during that time for whatever reason, or basing your decision on years of exploring your interests (even if it was while you were in high school or college)?


     
  26. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    True, I know people like that too. I also know a lot of people who are the exact opposite - they wanted to by XYZ ever since they were in first grade. They tried it in med school, even after exploring their interest for years, and hated it. Yes, the 1 month in a terrible rotation might be enough to counterbalance your years of interest - it happens all the time.
     
  27. Mr. Belding

    Mr. Belding The Dude abides
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    I prefer the wiping before you $hit metaphor.
     
  28. IckeyShuffle

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  29. ropeadope1983

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    Yes, but my original point is a valid one...If you can know for sure that you want to go into XYZ field of medicine early on (say when you are an M1) then you have a definite advantage in terms of actually obtaining that residency spot over someone who just figured it out late after M3. All else being equal, the first person will be much more likely to find research projects more closely related to that field of medicine and get to know the right people in that field, etc., etc.

    On the other hand if you have all your ducks in a row as far as all your grades, your class ranking, your USMLE score, your letters of eval, etc. Then most likely you will be able to make it happen and get a residency spot in that field at least somewhere (maybe not your top pick, but at least somewhere). This occurance, however, diminishes quite a bit if you decided late that you want to enter Ortho, Surg, Derm, or any of the other highly competitive fields because almost all applicants for these programs will be at the top of their classes and the ones who stand out with their EC's specific to that field, connections in that field (maybe in the form of LOR's), and other credentials that demonstrate their sincere, sustained interest in that field will be most likely to prevail in gaining these spots.
     
  30. DreamyKid

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    I don't know if this is considered a gunner act, but sometimes I get really tired of helping my friends. Especially when doing lab reports, they'd always ask me for help to do this and that and I eventually felt like I was being used. I began to despise the ones who were too arrogant to go to class and always end up asking how to do things. Truthfully annoying. Sometimes I feel bad for thinking like this, but when I really thought abuot it, theres nothing wrong with not helping others to write a lab report when grades are dependent of averages within a small lab section.
     
  31. AnEyeLikeMars

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  32. spicedmanna

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    Hey. I understand what you are talking about, and I honestly don't think it's at all gunner-ish to say, "no," to these folks; in fact, it's probably one of the best moves you can make for them and for you. I've been in some similar situations, I think. At one point it got so bad that I thought of myself as a homework help hotline. On the other hand, I'm the one who set it up to happen this way by overriding my authentic, "no," about helping people further than I wanted and by not assisting them in taking healthy responsibility for their own academic situation. Therefore, these folks are not to blame because it doesn't really have anything to do with their "arrogance" (even if it were true), but my own override of myself.

    It is kind of you to lend a hand, but remember to invite others to actually help themselves, especially when you get the feeling you are being used. Very few people are true victims of their circumstance; they usually always have some sort of choice they can make.
     
  33. Depakote

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    Where might this description be found?
     
  34. IckeyShuffle

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    i dont get it:confused:
     
  35. AnEyeLikeMars

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    The show is called All Things Considered. I thought it was funny that they'd covered something so random and irrelevant to the general public as "gunners"
     
  36. racerx

    racerx ASA Member
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    Except one of their semi-regular commentary contributors is a medical student.
     
  37. Law2Doc

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    I think you are grossly underestimating the value of rotations and how much closer to the real deal it is as compared to volunteering (particularly volunteering in high school). In most cases you will be treated differently, get to see and do more, get to approximate the hours, and interact with they physicians in much more of a colleague way. For every person who thinks they know what they want to do when they get into med school (let alone when they start college!) another couple dozen will drastically change their minds as they see more.

    And medicine is a service industry, the people and personalities in the field do matter. You aren't just looking for a job function, but also an atmosphere you feel you can thrive in. If you find folks in one field to be jerks, sure, it might be a malignant program, but could also be that that is the personality that gravitates to that field. So to answer your bolded question, basing your decision on anything you have done up until college is the worst, IMHO.
     
  38. sirus_virus

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    Surgery
     
  39. Law2Doc

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    All fields have their personalities.
     
  40. IckeyShuffle

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    this is what i love about NPR. it covers the random stuff that can be really interesting. that website is one of the best on the internet (not to mention they have over 30 live conerts for free)
     
  41. GreenShirt

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    Good gunner qualities (desirable to have):
    -Exploring your interests
    -Thinking about your future
    -Studying hard

    Bad gunner qualities (annoy people):
    -Complaining about getting a 98 on an exam, on which the average was a 45, in front of everybody to show off how smart you are.
    -Slowing down a lecture by asking unecessary questions b/c you think you need to impress the prof. by asking 5 questions per lecture, every lecture.
    -Walking around telling everybody you want to do a really competitive residency you know little about b/c you think it impresses people
    -Any other situations where you fluant your intelligence/activities to appear better than everyone else/to intimidate the competition
     
  42. Tired

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    Weak. It get's so much more impressive in the clinical years.

    - intentionally rounding on and presenting your classmates patients so that it appears they don't have any
    - student-to-student pimping
    - casually mentioning to the chief how "unprofessional" your classmates are with patients
    - stealing OR patients
    - contradicting a classmate's physical exam findings ("Well actually, there was quite a bit of rebound tenderness when I examined him")

    and on and on and on . . .
     
  43. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    How embarassing, I confused Panda's blog with MedSchoolHell. Here's the description, with all appologies and credit to http://www.medschoolhell.com/2006/03/20/gunners/

    "1) Guns-Blazin'- This is your no-frills steel-balled gunner. The ones that practically wear a t-shirt that states "I'm A Gunner, So **** Off." You can spot these usually from just the way they look – I don't know what it is, but I'll be damned if they don't have a permanent facial expression that just screams intensity. Coming in on their day off to check up on patients and answering questions about your patients on rounds is typical behaviour. They'll probably bring in multiple journal articles for added attending flare before, during or after rounds. If you get one of these on your rotation, the best thing to do is just let them do your work. In most cases, you'll still get a decent grade on the rotation and they'll be lucky if their grade is any higher than yours (depending on shelf exam weight). They'll most likely come back to you after the rotation has ended and inquire about your subjective evaluation. Rub it in that you did as well as they did with 40% more sleep.

    2) The Closet Gunner –The closet gunner is the one that tells you he never studies but manages to hold a 4.0 throughout his entire medical school career. Around other classmates they try and play down their intense study regimen, but let an attending pose a "difficult but interesting" question to the group and these guys break. You'll often be greeted on Monday morning with tales of beer and whores down at the local pub. The truth is that they were really at home with their nose crammed into First-Aid for the USMLE Step 1 memorizing random facts for the entire weekend.

    3) Gunner Wannabe – Perhaps the most misunderstood species in the gunner family, this type walks, talks and acts like a gunner but has a hard time living up to the role. The opposite of the closet gunner, the wannabe gunner wants you to think that he spends enormous amounts of time studying outside of the hospital when usually that time is spent ****ing off. They will occasionally bring in a journal article or two to try and strengthen their argument. The motive behind being a wannabe is purely an attempt to fortify relationships with attendings and residents. However, these people do not put in the actual work to make Guns-Blazin' status and will eventually migrate down the chain and fall into the final category.

    4) The Stupid Gunner – Criteria for entry here include anybody from the above categories who just can't cut the gunner lifestyle. These people will typically try and excel at non-academic tasks to make up for their lack of questions answered correctly on rounds. Examples include always being first to volunteer for dressing changes, staple removals or prostate exams. If the resident needs "one student" to help him with a task, more often than not the Stupid Gunner will be the first to volunteer. Note, however, that categorization here can become difficult: Those who live at Guns-Blazin' status can and often will volunteer for these tasks as well. It is the shelf exam score which differentiates the stupid gunner from the elite Guns-Blazin' types. The Gunner Wannabes will eventually fall into this category typically after the first two to three rotations."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For the record, I (Tired) am #1. The OP is a future #3.
     
  44. JohnnyQ

    2+ Year Member

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    All I am trying to say is that I think I have found a field that truly care for.

    Is there any reason for me to continually doubt my interest in medicine as some of you advise? Should I continually be searching for another field which fits better?

    One of my friends tell me that in India people don't even go through an undergrad education to decide whether they want to be a doctor or not. They just go straight from high school to medical school, and most of them are successful young doctors. Why are some of you so worried about finishing undergrad and picking up the correct career choice?

    Personally I would rather be focused on one field that I like (such as medicine) rather than exploring some field I don't care about (such as business, law, engineering).

    If I fail and don't do well on the MCAT or USMLE thats totally fine with me. I may have to settle for an osteopathic school, or complete some postbac. courses to make myself more competitive, but I truly love medicine and am not going to give up just because of some bad scores. I am sure tons of lawyers, engineers, and managers fail all the time so why can't doctors?

    Unfortunately in medicine people seemed too focused on just getting in, which is quite sad. By the time students finish resdencies and then possibly two fellowships to become interventional cardiologists, they have lost their passion for the field.

    If you ask me, a gunner is just a person with a lot of passion for his/her field. It is sad to see members on SDN bash gunners who are just enthusiastic about a field that they are dedicated about.

    Gunners(at least the ones that aren't annoying) just aren't that bad as you portray them to be!
     
  45. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Then they aren't gunners, who are annoying by definition.

    Let's face it, when you say, "Gunner," you really mean yourself. Well, truth be told, you are okay, complete, and loveable just as you are right now; you don't need outside validation to prove that you are enough.
     
  46. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I don't think people are saying to doubt yourself; they are inviting you to keep an open mind and explore everything that interests you. If you are like most people, there are many things that you are interested in. Don't lock yourself in so early; there's plenty of time for everything to happen.
     
  47. Dr.Inviz

    Dr.Inviz Membership Revoked
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    And then there's the sniper ... :laugh:
     
  48. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
    Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    When they meant "field," they meant "sub-specialty within medicine." They weren't suggesting that you think about becoming a CPA or anything.

    What everyone is trying to say is that it's hard to know what truly interests you until you've been exposed to a little bit of everything. I started out med school convinced that being a general, old-time, family practitioner would be great. Then I studied GI, and found that hepatology and endocrinology are pretty interesting. Now, I'm thinking about specializing in GI or endocrine.
     
  49. Crazy4F1

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    ....holy crap. you mean i'm going to have to fight the gunners off in front of my patients? :laugh: :laugh: good thing they probably spend so much time in quiet dark rooms studying that even with my pathetic girly muscles i could probably beat them up :D
     
  50. Dr.Inviz

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    If they did, they wouldn't be rounding your patients while you're too busy thinking of ways to try and beat them up ...
     
  51. Crazy4F1

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    ouch. good point! :laugh:
     

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