Dear Med Student,

I know you’re scared but excited.

I can remember the first time I attended the White Coat ceremony at my medical school. I felt so excited to finally be studying real medicine like you will feel. The four years I spent in medical school were such amazing years of happiness in learning about the amazing human body and how to interact with patients and refine my clinical skills. 

I met so many diverse, inspirational and ambitious people who have become my colleagues and close friends to this very day. You can’t spend countless hours in a library or study/lecture hall everyday and not become close. Those study periods where we all bonded together are memories I will never forget.

But, it’s also a stressful time with so many pivotal moments – moments of growth, failure, rejection. How will I pass gross anatomy and Step 1 and 2 or pick a specialty? What electives do I do to get into my residency of choice? How do I impress my chief resident and stand out in a sea of other intelligent students?  How many interviews do I go to? The match?!⠀⁠I knew medical school would be difficult but it was SO MUCH HARDER!

I underestimated how much reading and studying had to be done on a daily basis. Things did not always come naturally to me. I did not initially do well in Gross Anatomy and had to enlist the help from my younger brother( also in medical school ) and my best friend to help me learn the numerous nerves, blood vessels, bones and muscles in the human body.  I had to give up going to special occasions like birthdays and weddings because there was no time but studying.  Some friendships did suffer.

Trying to pass Step 1 on the first attempt gave me so much anxiety for a year. It wasn’t healthy. When clinical rotations started, waking up so early for months during surgery, and OBGYN rotations and staying up all night for call was so grueling and left me completely depleted at times. This also happens in residency, by the way!  

Regardless of the obstacles, you will go through during this period, walking across that stage, getting your diploma and reciting the Hippocratic Oath will be one of the major highlights in your life. When I gave my medical school graduation speech, to see the faces of my fellow students and know that we ALL made it through together gave me goosebumps. Being part of the medical profession is a life long commitment full of continuous sacrifices but also rewards when you improve another human being’s life in some capacity. 

So here is my advice:

1) Stay active and exercise  or find a hobby to keep you sane. 

2) it is ok to make time for a social life with your family members and friends outside of school. You need to stay connected. 

3) Treasure the time you have with your colleagues because you will have an unbreakable bond for life.

4) Do not procrastinate with studying and fall behind. There is so much to learn in a short amount of time. Stay on top of your work!

5) I used review books and videos, USMLE question bank, review name it to be able to get through those monstrous Step exams. Don’t let the fear overpower you. You will PASS! My scores weren’t excellent but I had other attributes that got me into residency. Your dreams are not over if you don’t kick butt on this exam.

6) Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Everyone struggles at some point. You are not alone.

7) I got my hard rotations like Surgery and OBGYN out of the way early in the summer a so I could see sunlight sometimes.

8) Do away rotations at the institutions that are your top choices for residency. It helps to form relationships with people in the program.

9) Get involved in volunteering or projects that give back to the community.

10) Have fun and enjoy not being in residency yet

Disclaimer:  This blog contains my personal opinion based on personal and clinical experience, tips from trainers, health coaches and lastly research.  This blog does not endorse specific treatments, procedures, products.  You should always consult with a doctor, nutritionist, or other healthcare professional to discuss your own health and lifestyle goals and regimen based on your medical history.  Thank you for reading!