Preparing for Medical School as a Premed Student

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Session 107

Crucial Premed Tips for Preparing for Medical School

In this episode, we talk about what you need to expect along your path to becoming a physician (minus the sugar coating!)

The idea behind this episode was actually conceived from an article about What medical school doesn’t prepare you for?

So today, we are talking about how premed doesn’t prepare you for medical school, how medical school doesn’t prepare you for the residency, and how residency doesn’t prepare you for the real world.

Basically, we are talking about each stage of the journey in order to give you the best, most honest picture possible of what life is like as a premed, a medical student, a resident, and when once you’re out practicing as a physician.

The path to being a physician is truly fulfilling especially when you are doing it for the right reasons and you know that this is what you really want to do. But then again, it is not an easy path. So you have to prepare yourself by being as informed as you can so that when you encounter these experiences in the future, it would no longer come off as too negative as it would’ve been.

How premed doesn’t prepare you for medical school

  • The amount of information coming in can be very fast and challenging.
  • There is so much angst as a premed because of wanting to meet that desire to be a medical student.
  • The classes are extremely challenging!
  • Your peers are on an equal level as you are—they’re struggling just as much as you are.
  • People are very driven as they all want to become physicians.
  • The dramatic change in your life that can affect relationships, status, family interaction, etc.
  • The amount of time and energy you put is hyperfocused.

How medical school doesn’t prepare you for residency

  • You become responsible – you’re signing orders, you’re the physician, etc.
  • More volume of patients
  • You are there all the time. Everything is amplified!
  • If you’re not seeing patients, you have to be learning what else you haven’t learned about
  • Training, training, training
  • Your life changes dramatically again overnight (literally!)
  • It’s a little bit terrifying!
  • Training ourselves how to process the very difficult things that we see as residents
  • No time for you to really talk about how you feel so you may come up with different coping mechanisms (preventing physician suicide)

How residency doesn’t prepare you for going to the real world

  • The money-making aspect of medicine
  • How to properly bill and code all these visits (relative value unit)
  • Insurance company policies and working with them
  • Outpatient-heavy practices in the real world while being immersed in the inpatient world during residency
  • It’s a “hands-off” system: Not seeing the follow-through of outpatient medicine

Advice for premed students preparing for medical school

Tips for when you’re premed, preparing for medical school:

  • Keep your eye on the ball. Just study hard. You are your own competition.
  • Prioritize before going to medical school as to how do you want to keep in touch with or stay close to.

Tips for med school, when you’re preparing for residency:

  • It can be scary but it’s going to be okay. You’re going to be fine.
  • Start collecting experiences early and write down these difficult experiences.
  • If you have no time to write, talk about it.

Tips for residency, when you’re preparing for the real world:

  • Seek out billing courses.
  • Understand how the insurance system works.

Final thoughts on Preparing for Medical School and Beyond

“You can only prepare so much for these massive life changes, but at the end of the day, it’s going to be fine.”

“Being as informed as you can is the best thing you can do for yourself.”

Links and Other Resources:

Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep): Maximize your MCAT score and get $50 off their tutoring program when you mention that you heard about this on the podcast or through the MSHQ website.

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