Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Manna Hagos, an anesthesiologist, keynote speaker, and author of The PreMed Survival Guide. Dr. Hagos shares insights into the premed survival guide, how to overcome imposter syndrome, and the anatomy of a successful premed student.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Medicine
You are finally a medical student. The years of hard work and numerous sleepless nights have finally paid off. But then something happens, you attend your first lecture, and suddenly you’re in a room full of other brilliant people. And instead of being excited about being part of this intelligent group, you start feeling like you don’t belong. For most students experiencing this whirlwind of emotions, this is usually what goes through their minds: how quickly will everybody find out I am a fraud and don’t deserve a place in medical school?
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you doubted your abilities, you are not alone. It’s easy to start questioning your knowledge once you interact with seemingly perfect people. Sadly, most medical students don’t address their imposter syndrome. This further translates into negative experiences at work or school and contributes to burnout and negative outcomes for patients.
Dr. Hagos believes that the easiest way to tackle imposter syndrome is by focusing on your achievements. Think of all the great things you’ve achieved so far and draw energy from them. This way, you not only become confident in your abilities but also remain open to learning from your seemingly flawless colleagues.
The Anatomy of a Succesful Pre-Med Student
Although no one thing defines the ideal premed student, a couple of things ring true for the best of the best. Interestingly, being the smartest student in the room or the hardest working is not a major defining factor. Yes, work ethic and intelligence play a major role in student outcomes, but Dr. Hagos believes these three things will more reliably determine a student’s level of success.
- A Powerful Why – Have you ever asked yourself why you want to become a doctor? Is it your parents’ dream, or did it come from deep down within you? Dr. Hagos explains that students with a strong why are more likely to succeed in medicine. This is because they can link all the ups and downs of med school to their Why.
- A Solid Support System – This might seem obvious, but many med students don’t have a solid support system. They would rather be the lone wolf than seek help from others or be part of a group. Although there’s nothing wrong with being the lone wolf, med school is all about teamwork. Dr. Hagos further explains that a strong support system should extend to the physicians and professors you interact with.
- Focus of Personal Health and Wellness – Everyone’s guilty of this. Med school is grueling, so most of us rarely have time for self-care, let alone a good night’s sleep. However, Dr. Hagos believes that the students with the highest chance of success are the ones that take care of their physical and mental wellbeing. The pressure will always be there, but it will all be for nothing if you don’t take care of yourself right now.
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