This week, the ProspectiveDoctor team answers this personal question: What is your favorite aspect of medical school?
This week, the ProspectiveDoctor team answers this personal question: What is your favorite thing about medical school?
Read the last weekly weigh in: Qualities of a Successful Medical Student
What I love about medical school is what I felt was missing from the premed curriculum: All of our material fits into its physiological context, so that everything we learn can be directly applied to patient care. Every mechanism, drug name, and tiny muscle we memorize and even all of the textbooks and literature we read will contribute to the body of knowledge that we need to understand what is going on in the bodies of the people that seek our care. Here at UCLA, as at many medical schools across the country, we start seeing patients in our first year. While academic subjects like lipid metabolism might seem dry at first blush, they snap right into mental place when we suddenly encounter a human patient with hypertriglyceridemia. The short white coat, which identifies us as doctors-in-training, gives us unique access to hospital wards. It conveys our pre-professional status, giving patients, nurses, interns, residents, and attendings a reason to trust and teach us. These experiences augment our classroom learning. Each week, I find new real-world applications for our lectures. Yesterday, for example, I counseled a pregnant friend about iodine supplementation after learning about changes in thyroid metabolism during pregnancy. So far, this is my favorite thing about medical school: we have the privilege and opportunity to apply our scientific knowledge to patients even as we are still acquiring it.
[Read Why Do I Have To Take Physics?]
It is tough to nail down exactly what I like about medical school. But if I had to choose, I would say that I really enjoy being around my classmates who not only share my excitement about learning medicine but also are well-rounded individuals. Everyone has different backgrounds and thus brings something unique to the table. We can have superficial fun but also have meaningful conversations about various topics. We are all learning and, in some way, suffering together; it would be miserable to do it alone. Another one of my favorite things about medical school is actually learning about everyday bodily functions. We all eat, pee, and poo and its really interesting to learn what actually happens when we do those things. The heart pumping is taken for granted until you learn how intricate the cardiovascular system is. It’s great to learn why and how the body works the way it does.
[Read A Typical Day of a UCLA Medical Student]
Favorite part about medical school? Well how much time do you have? The list is endless. I’m really hoping the other writers discuss the stellar faculty and professors, the unlimited resources for success, and the joy of studying the mysteries of the human body. I think my favorite part has been getting to know my classmates and surrounding myself with such a talented network of students. And when I say talented, I’m not only referring to their brilliance in their medical knowledge. Each student has a backstory that contribute to the diversity of our class, whether they started their own website (such as the one you’re browsing right now), lived in foreign countries, competed in the Olympics, or maintained hobbies such as surfing, marathon running, salsa dancing and a capella singing. To spend each day with such a dynamic group of 180 students has given me the opportunity to learn things that could never be taught in a lecture or in a textbook.
When you interview at schools or return for second-look days, get to know your potential classmates. In the next 4+ years, you will be spending so much time with them that they will eventually become family. You will study, eat, stress, learn, and grow together, as doctors and as individuals. As you progress further into your medical education, colleagues will slowly begin to replace mentors as your main resources. It is inspiring and humbling to work shoulder-to-shoulder with 100+ highly motivated students, and they are by far my favorite part about medical school.
[Read What to Expect in Medical School: Part 2]
One of my favorite aspects of medical school, especially at UCLA, is the accessibility to faculty, researchers and professors that are leaders in their field of study. Most of the education I’ve received throughout my life has been second hand and the academic figures that actually contribute to and modify our working understanding of medicine and physiology have always been these enigmatic figures to me. It is a privilege to be able to learn directly from the experts, and many times, from the source. Other people in my life always seem to be searching for the opinions of the medical “experts,” and these just happen to be the people that I’m surrounded by each and every day, which is an opportunity that I did not have until attending medical school, and that I was grateful to find at UCLA.
[Read Diversity in Secondary Medical Applications]
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ProspectiveDoctor. Follow ProspectiveDoctor on Twitter @ProspectiveDr