Wired Magazine: "Top 5 Reasons to Dislike Pre-Med Students"

Lion-O

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http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/04/top-5-reasons-t.html
For students who hope to study medicine, the college years are little more than a time to earn top grades by whatever means necessary. Their mercenary tactics can be tremendously annoying, but that irritating behavior is not entirely their fault.

Pre-med students may be victims of a broken system. Medical school admissions should be competitive, but the standards have become so stringent that scholars must nearly abandon their individuality to ceaselessly study.

Perhaps, instead of separating the brightest students from the rest, pre-med programs weed out all but the few who are willing to give everything up -- hobbies, athletics, even their curiosity -- for the sake of a high-paying job as a body mechanic.

These are sweeping generalizations that are intended to provoke a heated debate, so try not to get too offended.

5. They haggle with their teachers for extra points.
As a teaching assistant, I would have been rich if my pre-med students gave me a dime every time they nagged me for partial credit on questions that they had gotten completely wrong.
4. They use questionable tactics to get good grades.
Some of them may turn to study drugs like adderall, dexedrine, provigil, and ritalin. Others will beg upperclassmen for copies of old exams, which give them an unfair advantage over their classmates.
3. They horde leadership positions and then run organizations into the ground.
To pad their résumés, they run for the presidency of science clubs and volunteer organizations, and then fail to fulfill their responsibilities because they are too busy studying.
2. They game the system to get good grades.
By strategically dropping any class that is not going well and carefully picking courses taught by the easiest professors they ensure themselves a good grade point average.
1. They are not motivated by curiosity.
If they ask a question in class, it's often to find out what will be on an upcoming exam. Some of them volunteer to work in a lab on real research projects, but they don't give it their all because they have no passion for scientific inquiry -- it's just another line on their résumés.
Y'all have been outed.
 

TheRealMD

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OMG IT'S SO TRUE.

This is why you shouldn't call yourself a pre-med. It's idiotic.
 
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http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/04/top-5-reasons-t.html
Y'all have been outed.

Perhaps, instead of separating the brightest students from the rest, pre-med programs weed out all but the few who are willing to give everything up -- hobbies, athletics, even their curiosity -- for the sake of a high-paying job as a body mechanic.

These are sweeping generalizations that are intended to provoke a heated debate, so try not to get too offended.

5. They haggle with their teachers for extra points.
As a teaching assistant, I would have been rich if my pre-med students gave me a dime every time they nagged me for partial credit on questions that they had gotten completely wrong.
4. They use questionable tactics to get good grades.
Some of them may turn to study drugs like adderall, dexedrine, provigil, and ritalin. Others will beg upperclassmen for copies of old exams, which give them an unfair advantage over their classmates.
3. They horde leadership positions and then run organizations into the ground.
To pad their résumés, they run for the presidency of science clubs and volunteer organizations, and then fail to fulfill their responsibilities because they are too busy studying.
2. They game the system to get good grades.
By strategically dropping any class that is not going well and carefully picking courses taught by the easiest professors they ensure themselves a good grade point average.
1. They are not motivated by curiosity.
If they ask a question in class, it's often to find out what will be on an upcoming exam. Some of them volunteer to work in a lab on real research projects, but they don't give it their all because they have no passion for scientific inquiry -- it's just another line on their résumés.
those generalizations are amusing and true for a select few people, but its important to know that not everyone is like that. and those pre meds that dont fit the generalization are just as irritated as everybody else.

i pride myself in not fitting into any one of the 5 things listed...especially #1. my anatomy professor even came up to me after a test and told me that the difference between me and other people that had done well before was that I had done well as a result my genuine curiosity in the subject and passion to learn as much as possible....the good grade comes as a byproduct.
 

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I hate premeds (can I say that?) I am always really embarrassed to tell my profs that I'm premed...
 

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OMG IT'S SO TRUE.

This is why you shouldn't call yourself a pre-med. It's idiotic.
Agreed.
This classmate of mine goes around telling every single person that he is a premed almost as though being premed required some difficult admissions test. Even if it did, it would still be just for e-pene (or real life pene I guess). That's basically the only purpose of that title, just for self glorification.
 

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those generalizations are amusing and true for a select few people, but its important to know that not everyone is like that. and those pre meds that dont fit the generalization are just as irritated as everybody else.

i pride myself in not fitting into any one of the 5 things listed...especially #1. my anatomy professor even came up to me after a test and told me that the difference between me and other people that had done well before was that I had done well as a result my genuine curiosity in the subject and passion to learn as much as possible....the good grade comes as a byproduct.
Generalizations are just that. Those categories could apply to those not categorized as pre-meds just as easily. I never really understand why people try to write about things they know little or nothing about. I don't go out and write articles about how hardcore and cutthroat the world of culinary arts is.
 

PanicAttack

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Interesting...I volunteered where I enjoyed doing it, took the classes that I thought would be interesting, and spent most of my free time working as an officer in my fraternity.

0 acceptances, 1 waitlist. Maybe I should have used these generalizations as a roadmap for college - doing the opposite didn't work out so well.
 

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Does this mean that I'm supposed to stop taking classes that I'm interested in, pretend to be ADD so that I can get a script, earn lower grades so that I can beg for points, and (shudder) join clubs so that I can run for office? :barf:
 

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The following aslo needs to be added:

- switching majors....going from a harder major to an easier major...leads to better cGPA.

There were three people that I know that did this (I go to a small liberal arts college).
 

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those generalizations are amusing and true for a select few people, but its important to know that not everyone is like that. and those pre meds that dont fit the generalization are just as irritated as everybody else.

i pride myself in not fitting into any one of the 5 things listed...especially #1. my anatomy professor even came up to me after a test and told me that the difference between me and other people that had done well before was that I had done well as a result my genuine curiosity in the subject and passion to learn as much as possible....the good grade comes as a byproduct.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony
 

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I hated pre-meds when I was an undergrad. Still dislike them as a teacher. Still dislike them as a med school applicant. Sure, the individual can be great but the overall mentality needed to be successful is quite unpleasant.
 
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Sounds like it was written by a TA / grad student that was jealous he couldn't get into "body mechanic" school.
 

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Well i agree somewhat. But i would qualify the statement "med schools weed out students who aren't willing to give everything up -- hobbies, athletics, even their curiosity."

We all know schools love people who still have hobbies and activities, but they do pressure people to give up any hobbies or activities that aren't widely recognized and verifiable. For example, if you love fishing, rock climbing, cycling, and painting you are out of luck- unless you've won contests or have made some sort of job out of these activities. Maybe you've devoted half your life to these activities and you've mastered them but don't want to do them in any organized way- is that so bad? Yes if you're applying to med school because if you put it on an application there's no way they can verify it.

And so in place of those activities you'll see people doing other more easily understood/verifiable activities like organized athletics or school clubs. i guess the gyst is that if you don't belong to an organization when you do the activity it doesn't count.
 

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Sounds like it was written by a TA / grad student that was jealous he couldn't get into "body mechanic" school.
It may be hard to imagine, but not everbody actually wants to be a doctor...
 

HumidBeing

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Well i agree somewhat. But i would qualify the statement "med schools weed out students who aren't willing to give everything up -- hobbies, athletics, even their curiosity."

We all know schools love people who still have hobbies and activities, but they do pressure people to give up any hobbies or activities that aren't widely recognized and verifiable. For example, if you love fishing, rock climbing, cycling, and painting you are out of luck- unless you've won contests or have made some sort of job out of these activities. Maybe you've devoted half your life to these activities and you've mastered them but don't want to do them in any organized way- is that so bad? Yes if you're applying to med school because if you put it on an application there's no way they can verify it.

And so in place of those activities you'll see people doing other more easily understood/verifiable activities like organized athletics or school clubs. i guess the gyst is that if you don't belong to an organization when you do the activity it doesn't count.

That's a misconception. What IS true is that many pre-meds think that way. Adcomms don't go around asking for references to check whether people actually belong to this or that club, or put in so many hours each week. That doesn't mean that a passionate participation in the types of activities you mentioned - rock climbing, cycling, fishing, painting - aren't verifiable. People who are passionate about an activity know the lingo , the ins and outs. Their eyes light up when the subject is broached, and speak with passion and enthusiasm. When you ask someone who is faking it, their body language, vocabulary, and attempts to steer the conversation away give them away.
 

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Hahaha. Funny article.

I tried to stay away from the premeds. They were pretty hardcore/scary.

In college, I definitely saw a lot of 1, 2, and 5. I can't remember hearing of any instances of 3 or 4.

It may be hard to imagine, but not everbody actually wants to be a doctor...
Blasphemy! :laugh:
 

tacrum43

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Sounds like it was written by a TA / grad student that was jealous he couldn't get into "body mechanic" school.
This was my thought too, though perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Some of his criticisms aren't that far off the mark for some students.

Then again, there are quite a few pre-"body mechanic" students that really can successfully juggle academics, interesting EC's, and leadership positions. It's just a very competitive field.
 

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It was awful the other day, in the lab where I work. One of the grad students there is a TA, and he mentioned how he was stuck for a half hour after the class with 2 premeds who were arguing for points back on an exam. After they failed to get points back, they started pestering him about the next exam, and then about grades. So, at the conclusion, he says, "I just hate all premeds, and I'll strangle any premed that enters this lab"

Enter, me: "Um...hey....":scared:

Him: "You're premed! But I liked interacting with you!"

Me: "Um..."
 

ChubbyChaser

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I dont think those 5 define Pre med students, I think it defines Gunner.
 

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There were three people that I know that did this (I go to a small liberal arts college).


You're also already a resident, an attending physician, and perhaps even a current med student, according to your other lies/posts.
 
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One of the things that pisses me off most in the world is knowing someone who did #3 with a community service group that I ran and was really important to me, and then finding out that she got into the med school that was my top choice :mad:
 

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I dont think those 5 define Pre med students, I think it defines Gunner.
It depends on where you go. I go to UCLA, where there are WAY too many premeds (who get weeded out eventually, but it's incredibly competitive). I was a humanities student, so I thankfully didn't run into them too often, but there were definitely plenty of people who argued with professors (even when they were blatantly wrong AND already had partial credit... why????), dropped classes when their GPAs might drop, and even fed wrong answers to their classmates. It was disgusting, and I was happy the day my premed classes were over.

It's why I chose a P/F med school. Everyone at med school is smart and there's still going to be competition, but for me, picking a collaborative environment was key.
 

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I think the above accounts for all the "robot cookie cutter" pre-meds who have one goal in life and that is to get into medical school. Often times these people have been severely driven by family and feel like that is their only option for all the wrong reasons.

I think their are plenty of honest pre-meds who realize the value of the volunteer work they do, or organizations they lead etc. and continue to be involved with them even after they get accepted to med school.

And it's not like I am stating anything new here...just my 2cents.
 

ChubbyChaser

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I think the above accounts for all the "robot cookie cutter" pre-meds who have one goal in life and that is to get into medical school. Often times these people have been severely driven by family and feel like that is their only option for all the wrong reasons.

I think their are plenty of honest pre-meds who realize the value of the volunteer work they do, or organizations they lead etc. and continue to be involved with them even after they get accepted to med school.

And it's not like I am stating anything new here...just my 2cents.
Nuh uh?? THEY DONT EXIST
 

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You're also already a resident, an attending physician, and perhaps even a current med student, according to your other lies/posts.
Dude, don't mess with the wisconsindoc, his advice is pure gold
 

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I fail to see what is wrong with #2, generalization or not. The quality of the professor is the most underrated aspect that I think a student should take into consideration when taking a class. I rather take a class with a professor which I have a decent chance of getting a good grade than a professor where I have little of no shot of making a good grade because he/she is impossible. It is not only the easiness of the professor but the quality of the professor. .

Because you really think that Admissions committee is going to care that you got a C in a class because your professor was hard but challenge you? All they see is the C. Period.

Otherwise, I completely agree with the rest of the list,
 

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It is also funny when pre med students come into the er after googling their symptoms and reading the answers from wikipedia...so they know exactly what we should be giving them...and what i should be doing... and when i disagree with them...they say... "i am pre med...i know these things"...it cracks me up... but i don't think all pre-meds fit this list... i may or may not have at some point in time but i don't think so...it is a funny list because we all know someone that can fit into one of these 5 spots...
 
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ChubbyChaser

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It is also funny when pre med students come into the er after googling their symptoms and reading the answers from wikipedia...so they know exactly what we should be giving them...and what i should be doing... and when i disagree with them...they say... "i am pre med...i know these things"...it cracks me up... but i don't think all pre-meds fit this list... i may or may not have at some point in time but i don't think so...it is a funny list because we all know someone that can fit into one of these 5 spots...
Please tell me this hasnt happened more than once?
 

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hahaah you'd be suprised...:) with some variation of that sentence...i live in a college town and we literally draw straws whenever a student comes in...because u know what u r going to get...:) not everyone...but...the ones which are like this do happen to be pre-med...i had a girl with a 103 temp...who was convinced that all of her enzymes were denaturing as we spoke...and of course i had to admit her... i asked if she took tylenol or motrin she said no...so i gave her a motrin and...of course her temp went down in like a half hour...but she was convinced that she had lost too many enzymes so she should stay...every test came back negative...and her temp stayed down...but she still wouldn't leave...so i had to give her ativan before she finally calmed down enough to leave...i kept wondering what would happen once she actually learned medicine...she kept saying... i am pre med and i know what i am talking about... i am not some silly english major...it was quite amusing...
 

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I can't say that #3 applies to me because I actually have a leadership position without being the president. I just dealt with student concerns as it regards to academics and I did my job very well.

As for #1, there were times earlier in my education that I would think along those lines. However, that is not my philosophy anymore because the courses that I am taking (i.e. upper level bios) are rather intriguing. Because I like the material and I am good at studying it, I get good grades. Plus, I don't have the gunner mentality.

For med school admissions, however, that is a different story because I just want to get into med school. There's no if's, and's, or but's about that. If there is a spot, I am going cut-throat for it.
 

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In the comments for the article (where originally posted) there are a lot of frustrating comments (against pre-med students, med students, physicians). Here is one that I liked:

"Anyone I met in University who called themselves pre med was just a science student without any passion for science.
Now, Im sure they are doctors without any passion.
The system has weeded out anyone with the potential to be exceptional.
BTW, PhD's are doctors too. We earned it just as much as you did. Next time you prescibe something remember the 'lab rats' that discovered it, isolated it and synthesized it so you could scribble it on your scrip pad illegibly an not understand how it works."
 

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Gosh, I love this article! So true. That's why I switched in & out of pre-med quite a bit (but remain a science major). The thing is, most pre-meds don't realize it (aka self denial).
Props to the OP for posting this :thumbup:
 

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"PhD's are doctors too. We earned it just as much as you did. Next time you prescibe something remember the 'lab rats' that discovered it, isolated it and synthesized it so you could scribble it on your scrip pad illegibly an not understand how it works."
Physicians know mechanisms of action. Maybe not the gritty details but they definitely know how the drugs work. Talk about a jealous sounding PhD.

I think the process breeds this sort of jealousy because qualified people inevitably get rejected and become bitter. Then they cling to these stereotypes.
 

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I personally take part in 2 (to a lesser degree, I don't choose the EASY profs, I chose the good, concise, and clear ones) and 5 because it's called being tenacious. You won't get anything if you don't ask or do your research. I've learned and received a great deal of things by simply asking. It never hurts.

I think 3 and 4 are unethical. I've personally witnessed #3 and it's awful for everyone involved. That's how you get REALLY bad LORs.

I find #1 very sad. I see it every once in awhile and I wonder how anyone could endure the fairly noxious lifestyle of being a science major without having an abundance of curiosity. I found myself sitting in Cellular Biology (my major) and learning about the intricacies of protein sorting and wondered, "What the hell am I doing here? This is insane." and a moment later... "Whoa, now that's cool!!" - my "out-of-science body" experience made me realize a) what a dork I am and b) how much I really love this stuff if I can sit through it and enjoy myself. On a similar note: I just found out someone I know is friends with a former student/colleague of Dr. Linus Pauling!!!!! Isn't that awesome?!
 

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Physicians know mechanisms of action. Maybe not the gritty details but they definitely know how the drugs work. Talk about a jealous sounding PhD.

I think the process breeds this sort of jealousy because qualified people inevitably get rejected and become bitter. Then they cling to these stereotypes.
Oh my, yeah, I'm sure the PhD is so jealous, that must be it. I'm sure every science PhD out there actually wanted to go to med school, but were too stupid to gain an acceptance, and thus were forced into going into the lowly field of research.

Some of you people truly amaze me...
 

dienekes88

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SDN, a site chock full of top-gun pre-meds, loves to talk about how pre-meds are so terrible.
The contradictions of pathological gunnerism are beyond the scope of modern psychology.

Makes for a good laugh, though. :laugh:
 

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This article is so true, I think the worst part is the "gaming the system," and to be honest, I can't blame premeds for it, its the admissions process and rankings like US News. When you don't differentiate between GPA at harder/easier schools or harder/easier academic programs and courses, GPA has little meaning, probably about zero. Yet, they still use GPA without adjustment or consideration to the difficulty of program of study. It's tough to blame the students who are facing the possibility of not being able to pursuing the career they want.

Personally, I took a very difficult course of study and I'm suffering as a result. I wasn't premed at the time, and I don't know if I would have the courage to do it over again if i could with the knowledge that i wanted to pursue medical school but I do know I learned more and developed a better work ethic than most premed students I know so I'll be a better doctor for it. The current admissions process is only robbing our medical system.
 

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It is also funny when pre med students come into the er after googling their symptoms and reading the answers from wikipedia...so they know exactly what we should be giving them...and what i should be doing... and when i disagree with them...they say... "i am pre med...i know these things"...it cracks me up... but i don't think all pre-meds fit this list... i may or may not have at some point in time but i don't think so...it is a funny list because we all know someone that can fit into one of these 5 spots...
Haha. Once I actually went to my doctor with a research article in one hand (which I studied and read in great depth) because the treatment he was giving me for the past few months was not working. He did not appreciate my enthusiasm very much. But still, I know there are pre-meds out there that can make a valid point regarding their diagnosis.
 

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Oh my, yeah, I'm sure the PhD is so jealous, that must be it. I'm sure every science PhD out there actually wanted to go to med school, but were too stupid to gain an acceptance, and thus were forced into going into the lowly field of research.

Some of you people truly amaze me...
That PhD's post was meant as an example of just one of the more extreme posts by people with bitter attitudes towards pre-meds and MDs. I didn't take it as a generalization for PhD's just a generalization for people hating on pre-meds - unnecessary bitterness against a group due to some unfortunate personal experience.
 
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Don't all pat yourselves on the back at once guys. The whole "OMG pre-meds are so bad, doctors are such *******s" atmosphere in this thread is nauseating. It's tough to get ahead, you all know that. Yes, sometimes pre-meds do **** thats inconceivable, but so does ANYONE going into ANY field with this much competition. I'm guilty of 5, 3 and 2 on that list, and I would give up both my kidneys if I find out one of you in this thread is innocent of all of em.
 

JA Prufrock

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Don't all pat yourselves on the back at once guys. The whole "OMG pre-meds are so bad, doctors are such *******s" atmosphere in this thread is nauseating. It's tough to get ahead, you all know that. Yes, sometimes pre-meds do **** thats inconceivable, but so does ANYONE going into ANY field with this much competition. I'm guilty of 5, 3 and 2 on that list, and I would give up both my kidneys if I find out one of you in this thread is innocent of all of em.
you seem to believe that people are not only aware of their own transgressions, but that they might own up to them as well.

you're so cute when you get all idealistic like that.
 
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154465

you seem to believe that people are not only aware of their own transgressions, but that they might own up to them as well.

you're so cute when you get all idealistic like that.

Thats one of my biggest flaws. It'll ruin me someday.
 
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