We have other videos going over mistakes pre-meds make when it comes to studying and more tactical stuff like that. This is bigger picture mistakes that can also apply to life in general.
Following The Herd
Many people don’t truly question what they are doing and why they are doing it. I was in biological sciences in undergrad and we didn’t have a program called “pre-med” but this was pretty much it. If you were taking this as a major it was pretty much assumed that you are pre-med unless proven otherwise.
And that is sort of how most people approached it. Everyone else is aiming for medical school and becoming a doctor/dentist/pharmacist, I should be doing the same thing.
Very few people actually sit back and think about the next 10 years, and what the path actually looks like that they are signing up for.
Take your time, explore and taste, see what you want from your life. You won’t have all the answers but be very deliberate about why you are doing what you are doing.
Many people become physicians and don’t like it and find themselves bound to a decision they made at 16 years old without thinking about it properly.
Even beyond that point, when it comes to actually pursuing medical school, people start becoming carbon copies of each other.
They start doing the same volunteer activities as everyone else because “this would look best on an application”. Or they take the same classes as the next person. Or they start pumping out research because that is the “thing to do”.
The paradox is that when it comes time for med school applications and interviews, you lose the one thing that made you, you. Your individuality,
Everyone that gets to an interview has a good enough GPA and MCAT. What will separate you is your personality, extra curriculars, interests and pursuits away from class.
Don’t just become a copy of another person. Do what needs to be done, then spend your time following your own curiosities and interests.
Health On The Back Burner
There is absolutely no reason for you to be pulling all-nighters and “not having time” for your health in college. That only shows immaturity, and inefficiency in the way you are doing your work. I hate to break it to you, but this path only gets busier, with more to do and more responsibility. You need to get your routines and efficiency right early. This is a very long journey that never truly ends so you cannot afford to put your health on the back burner for it.
Nobody is telling you to be a bodybuilder or bikini model. But you need to basic things to make sure you are keeping your health in check.
Sleep, water, going to the gym a few times a week or finding a hobby you enjoy. Watching what you are eating and taking the time to meal prep instead of grabbing whatever is available at the school cafeteria. It’s these simple things that compound over time either positively in your favour, or negatively against you.
Being healthy and well rested keeps you sharp and energized which will only help you in your academic pursuits. The sooner you can put together a system that works for you, the easier the path will be as well as the transition to med school and beyond.
Your health and your time are things you do not get back. Prioritize them.
Social media is a tool with a lot of power and potential. Whether it works against you or for you is in your hands and the way that you use it.
In one perspective, it is easy to get sucked into algorithmic rabbit holes and waste your entire day procrastinating in this way. This leads to time wasted and feeling terrible about yourself. This is the more obvious danger of social media that we have all succumbed to at some point.
The other factor is that your social media presence is your new resume to the world. Everyone, including medical schools is realizing that it is all too easy to present a polished version of yourself in a resume or interview.
Of course, social media isn’t exactly the “authentic” version of anyone either. However, the way you tweet or what you put out on Instagram can serve as an inside look to your life. Whether you want it to or not, it may paint a picture of you in their minds that may not even accurately reflect who you are.
I am not telling you to never have any fun. However, be careful with how you present yourself on social media. It is a small collection of information that med schools, and other people have about you but for better or worse, it can serve as a potent contributing factor in their idea of who you truly are.
Use it. Don’t be used by it.
Ignoring Other Parts Of Life
In a similar vein to health as we talked about earlier, it’s is an oft made and easy mistake to ignore other parts of your life.
Pre-Med is a busy time and so is medical school, residency and attending-hood.
It’s easy to get caught up in work and its associated responsibilities and stresses. However, the truth of the matter is that time, and the other parts of your life don’t care how busy you are.
The time will pass any ways. Many people including myself in the past make the mistake of thinking that once they are done “x thing”, then they’ll start caring about other things (happiness, relationships, experiences etc).
But that is not how life works. Time does not pause for you until you stop being busy.
You need to give attention and effort to other parts of your life for them to grow, just like you do for your studying.
Some days, it might look like less time and attention than other days. And that is fine, that is real life.
However, you need to be deliberate with what you are doing to make progress and improve other areas of life.
What is your plan for relationships? Are you calling/spending time with your aging parents and grandparents?
Are you learning the basics of personal finance and how money works so you don’t get entrapped by a bank and poor spending habits?
Do you have fulfilling hobbies and relationships outside of school?
None of this stuff will take care of itself. None of it will magically be better once you get accepted to med school, or graduate or match to residency, or become an attending.
It is challenging, I know, but it is in your hands.
Not Staying In Your Lane
Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.
The term “Pre-Med” irks many people. There’s nothing wrong with actually being a student that wants to pursue medical school, that’s great. And that’s what the term pre-med means in its literal sense.
But to anyone who has been through this path or is on it, it can mean something different.
“Pre-Med” “Gunner”. These terms can leave a bad taste in your mouth because of the way some people approach their role.
If you have a goal of getting into med school, or any goal for that matter, stay focused on what needs to be done and keep it moving.
Where people get into trouble is when they shift their focus from what they need to do, to what others are doing and how they can put themselves at an advantage without any care for what it does to other people.
These are the people that are very loud about their role as a pre-med. How many research projects they have going on. The grades they are getting on exams. The 14 different volunteer groups they are leading. They want not only to do well, but they want others to do poorly.
Don’t be this person. It does nothing to increase your chances of getting into med school. Even if you do, all the extra charades you did aren’t the reason you got in.
You just made others feel poorly in the process and burned bridges, and maybe even created enemies for no reason.
Stay in your lane. Focus on the task at hand. Control what you can and work hard. Let others do the same and wish them all the best.
You’ll be better off for it.