If you could go back to becoming a pre-med student all over again, what would you do differently? Luckily, Spencer Evans is here to tell himself what he would have done differently, if he was him. Got it?
Dear Pre-Med Spencer,
I know you’re struggling right now. Those pre-med classes are insane. They’re draining your body, mind, and soul. So, I — your future medical school self — am writing you this letter to give you a few pearls of wisdom:
1. Don’t Give Up.
My first pearl of wisdom is to never give up. There are going to be a lot of nights where you’ll think to yourself, “Why the heck am I in the library studying at 2 AM while my friends are out partying?” There are also going to be tests you’ll flunk — in fact, you’re going to have to withdraw from Animal Phys senior year because, frankly, it’s going to smack you in the face. And, I haven’t even mentioned the three years you’ll spend doing research for a full time job after graduation while spending your weekends and weeknights studying for the MCAT.
It’s going to be worth it.
You’re going to get accepted to medical school. Whether it’s a DO program, MD program, or a school abroad, have confidence that you can get in somewhere if you don’t give up.
2. Live to Help People
This leads to my second pearl of wisdom: Remember that getting into medical school is not your goal. Becoming a doctor is not your goal. Seizing your dream of living a life where you wake up every day and truly help people is your dream. The reason why I’m telling you this is because it’s okay for you to take that Friday night off and go to the bar with the guys. It’s okay to blow off studying on Saturday morning so you can see Michigan take down Michigan State. It’s okay to… relax. I’m not telling you not to try. I’m telling you to study smarter, not harder. You don’t have to get accepted to Harvard to achieve your dream. So, do us both a favor, and once you pass the threshold of understanding a concept, take the foot off the gas pedal, and go enjoy your life. You may not get that 4.0 or 520 MCAT score, but you’ll still get accepted somewhere, be well on your way to achieving that dream of ours, and have a heck of a lot more fun of a life.
3. Don’t Be Intimidated
As for my third pearl of wisdom: Don’t be intimidated by the long road ahead of you. There are going to be many times where people will ask you, “Do you really want to put your life on hold until you’re 30?” This is the biggest misconception about the medical path. Life is absolutely not “on hold” until you finish residency. You’re still very much alive while in medical school (and I assume the same goes for residency). In fact, I’ve found that I and my classmates have an even greater appreciation for the lives we live because we spend our days learning such fascinating information. And then, when we do have our time to play, we know that we’ve earned it, so we make the most our time in the playground.
Hang in there.