Transitioning to Medical School – How it Begins!

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Session 33

Session 33

In this episode, Ryan and Allison talk about their experiences as they transitioned into medical school. First off, congratulations to Allison for graduating from her residency training and she’s now out in the “real” world.

Today, they recall the experiences they’ve had as first year medical students, the struggles they’ve had and the fun things along the way. Hopefully, you get to pick up lessons and learn what things can be expected once you step into medical school.

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Ryan and Allison:

Allison’s adjustments in taking the steps into medical school:

  • Change in environment from MA to NY
  • Living in medical school dorms
  • Feeling of excitement to be finally in medical school
  • Orientation on a boat cruise!
  • Hitting the ground running

Considerations in choosing which medical school to apply to:

  • Location, setting, environment
  • Know what fits you
  • Observe life at the campus

Walking into the anatomy lab:

  • Getting used to the environment and the smell (you’re not going to be smelly everyday though)
  • Respect for every cadaver is important
  • Treat the cadaver like your real patient
  • Be prepared for the goo factor

Learning Anatomy and Histology:

    • Learning all the materials for Anatomy and Histology and balancing your focus (Ryan failed his first Histology test but learned to balance things)
    • Medical schools will do everything they can to help you succeed
    • Females – don’t wear high heels inside the room during practical tests. It can be too noisy.
  • “Drinking from the firehose”

Their memorable experiences in first year:

  • Studying – hours and hours of studying!
  • Studying at the Atlanta Bread Company
  • Being absorbed into a new world

Disconnection from family members:

  • Family getting confused at where you’re at
  • Having trouble connecting with people not going through medical school
  • Starting to learn another language in medicine

The impact of course work on your board score:

Adopting the mentality that everything counts!

Scribe services and different learning styles:

  • Your school might have that where they offer recorded lectures and transcripts
  • Figure out which style of learning works for you best
  • See it, hear it, say it, and write it

Planning your first summer:

  • Take the opportunity to explore your interest – shadowing, research, volunteering, etc.
  • Ryan took a trip to San Antonio with the Air Force
  • Allison had a shadowing opportunity that led to her career as a neurologist

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

  • Stay ahead of the game. It will only get harder once you get behind.
  • Figure out what works for you.
  • Don’t compare your study style with others’
  • Stay sane. Exercise. Eat well. It’s a crazy year but it’s a great first year!

Links and Other Resources:

Pancakes Every Day!

If you need any help with the medical school interview, go to Sign up and you will receive parts of the book so you can help shape the future of the book. This book will include over 500 questions that may be asked during interview day as well as real-life questions, answers, and feedback from all of the mock interviews Ryan has been doing with students.

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Tweet Allison @allison_mshq or send her an email at