MSHQ 151 : 10 Things Every Premed Needs to Know with Dr. Strong

Session 151

session 151

Today, Ryan talks with an amazing guest, Dr. Eric Strong who has an amazing YouTube channel,  Eric's Medical Lectures, now with over 63,000 subscribers.

Eric attended NYU for medical school and Stanford for his internship and residencies. Eric is currently a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Stanford and he shares with us his story on how he came about becoming a physician as well as tons of tips for premeds and what premeds should know about becoming a doctor.


Here are the highlights of the conversation with Eric:

Deciding when he wanted to become a physician:

Shifting from an engineering major at MIT to becoming premed

Figuring out what he wanted specialty-wise:

  • The anatomy lab as a good differentiator for who's more likely to go on surgical fields
  • Differentiating non-surgical fields until you're in clerkship
  • Rotating on a few departments to see what fits and what's comfortable
  • Think about what's going to be a good decision for reasons that go beyond just what feels right to you issues like training, financial reimbursement, eventual salary, or paying back student debt

His biggest challenges along the way:

  • Negotiating with his spouse on where you're interviewing for the Couple's Match
  • Not getting the interview offer from Stanford

How he conceived the idea of his YouTube channel:

  • Distributing free online medical content
  • Initially creating the presentations for Stanford consumption but putting them on YouTube has reached public viewers who were interested in his lectures
  • Now has over 63,000 subscribers

Some key points from his video,  10 Things Every PreMed Should Know About Becoming a Doctor:

The medical school should never be the default pathway

In every step along the way, reflect back and make sure this if this is really the right path for you.

Becoming a doctor is not a good way to become rich

If you're a struggling undergrad right now and if making money is your top priority, there's a lot of fields you can go into and be successful that are going to make more money than medicine.

Quality vs. Quantity in terms of extra-curricular activities

Not just think about checking off the boxes but do things you're passionate about. Devote your time and energy to something very specific, unique, and that clearly impacted you in a very transformative way. Something that stands out will help you with your application.

Eric's tips in searching for physicians to shadow:

  • Be prepared for a lot of people having to turn you down for various reasons.
  • Research the person you're emailing to know something about them.
  • Don't just email 50 people randomly. Tie your personal interest into what the physician specifically does.
  • Shadow someone you have connection to by 2 or 3 degrees of separation.

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

  • Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself. Even if you don't get the interview offer, call up the program and asking the school to re-evaluate your application to see if they can reconsider.
  • Make sure you're going into medicine because it's truly what you're passionate about rather than  a default pathway.
  • Know what to expect at the end of the road. It's going to be a lot of hard work all throughout your pathway. Being a doctor is very challenging yet very rewarding at the same time.

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