PRECLINICALMS1 and 2
Welcome to the medical profession! Some liken these two years as trying to drink from a firehose… but remember that it’s not just about getting those grades but finding a career. This year is all about options. Explore your options and keep your options open.
1. Explore your options
Most of us are lifelong professional students when we started our medical school journey. In some ways we were nothing more than knowledge junkies addicted to the predictable education cycle.
As we make the transition from student to doctor, we eventually need to shift our focus. While grades and scores are still a big part of how the system works, the real growth will happen once you begin asking questions and let your curiosity fuel your education. Clinical experience is not scheduled until MS3 for most schools but don’t let that stop you from spending as much time as possible rubbing shoulders with your future colleagues. This will give you insight into what you are and aren’t interested in.
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire
Choosing a specialty is no easy task. There are over 100 medical specialties and subspecialties to choose from. Unfortunately, it’s often put off until it’s essentially too late. Although it may not feel like it, these years are when you will have the most free time and control over it. It’s important to concurrently develop an understanding of your own characteristics but explore the many possible paths your career could take. Your short white coat is a magical key that will unlock nearly all medical doors. Consider shadowing, joining student interest groups, and be sure to find a mentor.
2. Keep your options open
Here’s where the juggling act comes into play. While you explore, be sure that you are doing well in classes and building a resume that will keep your options open. If you find that your heart is set on orthopedic surgery but fail your Step/Level 1 or have to remediate several classes, your chances at a residency spot will be very low. Your numbers matter. Keep up your grades, apply for honors associations, kill your boards! There is no magic formula for studying that will guarantee a 240 or 650 so figure out how you learn best and dedicate to the plan! Research is also very important on your resume. It’s probably hard to believe but MS1 and 2 is probably when you will have the most predictable schedule. Use it to get networked with research and start some projects. The truth is that most research takes a long time to complete so getting started sooner rather than later can make a big difference! Since that will require you to think outside the box and venture out of your study cave to talk to strangers, once again, there’s no time like the present!
Don’t worry! We will post extensively on these topics as well. Subscribe for the details to come.
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