Q:Is it that important to shadow Doctors? Just wondering because I plan on going into medicine but from what I hear from some people around me, it's not that important?
Depends on what you define as important. Do AdComs require shadowing? No. Do they like to see it? Yes.
The other question is do YOU consider shadowing important? How can you be sure you want to be a doctor if you haven’t followed one around to see what we do in real life? Could shadowing help you confirm your decision? Could it direct you toward a more specific field of interest? I would think most folks could answer yes to that. So that is why shadowing is important.
Big lesson here: don’t let admission committees direct your actions. Pick your major, extracurriculars, shadowing, etc based on your interests. Do what will benefit you and further your learning. If you do that, you’ll probably impress an AdCom or two along the way.
While I agree with Wayfaring’s point about not letting AdComs strictly dictate your extracurriculars (do what you enjoy and stick with it), there is an expectation that serious applicants will have shadowed and shadowed in a dedicated capacity (i.e. you didn’t just shadow one doctor once and that’s the only shadowing experience you have). ALL of my interviewers (so that’s 8 AdComs) asked me questions related to my shadowing experiences. They use it as a way to gauge your understanding of the medical field and commitment to medicine. Is this fair? Probably not given that applicants with parents in medical fields have a huge advantage here. Also students who don’t have to work a job while going to school have much more free time to shadow. Can it be overcome? Absolutely. Make sure to include the initiative you took to find the people you shadow and incorporate that into your narrative for the admissions committees. Several of my interviewers were impressed by that b/c I come from a family with 0 medical personnel. You can find shadowing opportunities through university mentorship programs, SMDEP (for pre-dental students too!) and through the tried-and-true but dreaded networking and cold calls.
Also in my experience, if you find the right doc to shadow, you’ll probably enjoy it enough to keep consistently shadowing. Often times shadowing provides those reaffirming moments premeds need during the toughest stages of their career paths.
The struggles of today are developing the strengths you’ll need for tomorrow.
The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds
My awesome roomie got me C. diff and rubella! *Squeals with joy*
Yeah…I’m an ID nerd. I think this brings me up to 7 giant microbes now.
Thoughts on Competition and Envy
So given that it’s the time of year where premeds are deciding on which medical school to attend and the 4th year med students are either basking or wallowing in their match results, I felt like it would be appropriate to share my recent experience with and contemplation about competition and envy.
Yesterday I found out that one of my classmates and friends was accepted to my top choice school, one I had been rejected by about a month or two ago. My first reaction was to be excited for him, but about a millisecond later those classic premed feelings of inadequacy and the “what-ifs” and “why not me?” started creeping into my head.
It is so easy to get sucked into this vortex of envy and resentment when you’ve worked so hard for something and it just doesn’t work out for you but somehow does for another person. Ultimately the result is nothing but negative for both you and the person in question. It makes you bitter, sad, feeds those doubts and feelings of inadequacy etc. and can make you a rather miserable person to be around. So not wanting to wallow because I knew from experience where that would most likely lead, I tried using a technique from my positive psychology class. The whole idea behind it is to genuinely celebrate the achievements of others and to not diminish them through excuses etc. and to also be easier on yourself. Instead of comparing yourself to others, strive for your own personal best. Now for many of us that is still a tall order since quite a few premeds I know, including myself, are brutally hard on themselves and are their own toughest critics.
My classmate is a stand up guy and is 100% deserving of getting into this prestigious school. He is selfless and compassionate, and moreover brilliant (has a 4.0 and blew the MCAT out of the water). He tutors underclassmen in organic chemistry—and even when he’s off the clock as a tutor, he’s always willing to help them—and shares all his notes with our classes. He was in my histology study group last semester and would show up consistently to work with us, even though he already knew all the material and probably could have spent his time watching TV or sleeping instead of doing practice slides on HistoTime with us. I guarantee he helped us more than we helped him, yet he claimed he learned a lot from working with us, which just goes to show how humble he is. He somehow manages to always be kind and upbeat whenever I see him and he is exceedingly patient when teaching people. He is going to be a fantastic physician. I can truthfully say that he is a more qualified applicant than I, on any day of the week. I am genuinely happy for him and know he is going to use this opportunity to continue doing good for others.
Celebrating another person’s accomplishment and empathizing with their joy, really does feel a lot better than envying them. Remember to give yourself credit too for your accomplishments! Becoming a doctor is one of the most difficult, longest, and demanding career paths in the world. You are going to be entrusted with the lives of others. That’s a huge honor in and of itself.
On My Agenda
Once my trusty computer (not actually so trusty, I guess?) computer is back in action and I’m not chicken-pecking typing on my phone, here’s what I hope to catch you all up on:
-Med School Admissions Update (aka TNQD makes her final choice and moves to a new city in ~2 months! Eeek!)
-My Origin Story (if this is something you guys are interested in hearing. I know the former TNQD wrote one for his followers, so I thought maybe you all would like to know a little about me too).
-I haven’t forgotten about the ask we received regarding the non-traditional route/post-bac/masters programs etc. to med school. I’m hoping that my guest bloggers and I will be able to put together a comprehensive “go to” post about this soon.
Med School Summary
Starting out med school:
Somewhere along the line (almost every day, especially before blocks):
The constant feeling up playing catch-up:
After you realize you’re no longer a straight “A” student:
And somewhere along the line you also realize:
Sorry for the lack of posts lately! My laptop crashed and is currently on its way to California for repairs…I’m fairly certain that I’m a technological “black cloud” because this is the 2nd laptop to crash on me within a year (both due to different problems). It’s always the worst timing too since I had 2 papers due this week and another due on Monday.
Tips for will-be college seniors: take an easy 2nd semester if possible. You will not regret it. You will however regret taking writing-intensive courses and those with mandatory attendance polices. Oh and those that start before noon.
Q:Hello I have a medical question for you! I don't know if you can answer it or if you even want to but if be thankful if you did!
A medical question as in something personal about your own health or about the process of applying to medical school, premed life, etc.? I’d be glad to answer any questions you have about the latter, but since I’m just a baby doctor who doesn’t have her MD yet, I’m not qualified to be giving medical advice just yet. If that’s what your question is about, I would suggest talking with your doctor in person or checking out the blogs of some of the full-fledged MDs on Tumblr.