Updated: Jan 12, 2021
You dream of becoming a physician because you want to help people. You want to make a difference in this world and you’re excited to embark upon the journey to become a doctor. You’re premed (yippee!), but being premed can be stressful and difficult at times. Sound familiar?
If you feel this way you’re not alone. As an osteopathic family physician and Associate Professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, I’ve been in practice for almost 12 years but I vividly remember being premed in college. It was tough. I worried if my grades were good enough, I worried about where I should apply and most of all, I worried if I would get into medical school.
If you worry too, it’s understandable. Here are some tips that might be helpful:
1. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
It can be tempting to compare your path to the path of other premed students. Whether it’s grades, educational opportunities, or study tips, comparison can be difficult to avoid. In addition, social media makes it all too easy to “see” what someone else is doing which can further promote comparison.
The truth, however, is that your path is YOUR path and it cannot and should not be compared to those of others. Also, things aren’t always as they seem, so don't draw conclusions about yourself based on assumptions you make about others. Avoid comparing yourself to others- it will save you a lot of headaches. I promise.
2. Work Hard
I know that you know this. But I’m not saying you should work hard only to get good grades, though this is important. I’m saying this because getting used to hard work will help you be successful in med school and beyond. Being a medical student and resident is one of the hardest things you will ever do. In my opinion, it’s harder than actually being a physician. If you get used to working hard now it will prepare you for your time as a medical student and beyond.
3. Develop Outside Interests
For years I sat on the admissions committee at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. I really enjoyed meeting applicants and hearing about their personal journeys into medicine. One thing that was really important to me was understanding the extra-curricular interests of the applicant. It was helpful to learn about a student’s work with their church choir, their volunteer efforts or their passion for drawing or painting. Make sure to cultivate your outside interests while working to get into med school. Not only will this make your application more interesting, but your passions will help you keep you happy and fulfilled as a med student, resident, and attending.
4. “You are Braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, and Smarter than you think.”
I love this quote. Remember that when times get tough, you’re tough too and you will make it through it- I promise!
Dr. Jen Caudle is a Family Physician, Associate Professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. She appears on TODAY, NBC Nightly News, Dr. Oz Show, Fox News, HLN, the Rachael Ray Show + more. Sign up for her health newsletter and follow her on social at www.drjencaudle.com . Subscribe to her on YouTube: www.youtube.com/drjencaudle and follow her at www.instagram.com/drjencaudle