Second Year of Medical School, Interviewing Advice and Medical School Life
Today I'm going to share a conversation with my friend Peter who is a second year medical student at Rosalind Franklin Medical School. Get ready for a glimpse into what medical school is all about because we're going to cover a lot of topics.
2nd Year Is A Huge Jump from First Year
First year of medical school is all about the basic sciences. If you've taken advanced science classes you have most likely already seen the material before. First year medical school classes include anatomy, biochemistry, histology, embryology, physiology, neuroscience, etc.
But second year is an entirely different story. This is when you begin to learn about all the problems and complications which the human body can experience. Rarely will you ever learn about what goes wrong with your body until you enter medical school and more specifically not until your second year of medical school too.
One class for instance is pathology which can be difficult for some students. Pathology is all about memorizing random things and if you don't like memorizing you are going to find pathology to be difficult as a second year medical student. Pharmacology is actually the same way where you have to memorize too.
I know a lot of you are thinking memorization would be easy but based on the sheer volume of what you're expected to memorize in medical school this is actually a lot of work.
Basically, pathology and pharmacology boil down to bugs and drugs because that's all you're doing. You're memorizing really long names and what's associated with them. Peter doesn't like learning this stuff because there's no systematic way to learn it, besides it's not that interesting too.
Trouble Getting Into Medical School
If you are having trouble getting into medical school one thing you can do is get an advanced degree. Medical schools really look favorably on students who have a Master degree, especially if it comes from their graduate/medical school.
Not to interject but you can check out post bac programs
What happens is you complete your Masters program and then a lot of students will get into the MD program from there. Clearly, this isn't for everyone because it will cost you a lot of money, will mean an extra year or two and also you have to perform well in the Master program.
Medical School Grading
Some medical schools like Rosalind Franklin use ABC grading and some applicants are afraid to attend because of this, they think it will be too competitive. Well, no matter where you go medical school is going to be competitive and regardless you want to do the best you can even if your medical school is pass/fail.
You have to work hard so you can get into your choice of a residency program.
Now some residencies will be mainly concerned about your USMLE 1 score while others will place a premium on your 3rd year clinical clerkship grades.
But you have to remember that you are going to be ranked in medical school too. Whether there are grades or not all of the medical schools do rank their students. So use the ranking factor as motivation to be in the top of your class.
Rosalind Franklin is known as a school with a lot of gunners too. These are students who like to set the class curve on exams and never like placing less than first. Believe me when you meet a gunner you'll recognize them instantly.
Why do a lot of gunners attend Rosalind Franklin Medical School? Because this school was supposed to be their backup aka "safety" school and it was the only medical school they got into. There are a lot of students here who attended top-notch colleges and who are used to studying all the time and they bring this same mentality to medical school.
Peter says he doesn't feel as smart as the other kids in his medical school class although he went to a top tier college so he must study a lot. For him this means about 13 hours each day. He doesn't have time for himself because always buried in the books and lost about 30lbs because he no longer can go to the gym.
Premeds, you don't want to do this to yourself.
Yes, you have to study and get good grades but you have to find the balance in pursuing your studies and living your life too. If there is something you are passionate about and enjoy doing, don't give it up while in medical school.
You need to prioritize your studying and make that passionate activity your reward for getting your studying done. Use it as your motivation because if you don't make progress in your classes then you will have to skip your fun activity.
But I can't give Peter too much of a hard time because he is doing very well in medical school even if he feels he's not as smart as everyone else. His grades show he knows his stuff.
Medical School Interviewing Secrets
There are some people who get invited to medical school interviews who have bad grades yet somehow they're offered an acceptance. Peter sheds some very interesting light on how they are able to accomplish this feat.
The ones with bad grades talked sports with male interviewers. This medical student was very street smart to say the least. He would actually survey the interviewer's office and look for logos of sports teams or whatever he could use as a conversation starter.
I'm sure you all see how you can use this tactic to your advantage when on your interviews because you don't have to limit yourself to a sports topic. Remember if you get your interviewer talking about their passions and what they like it can only mean good things for you.
Here's some golden advice to help you lock in a medical school interview.
If you applied early in the application season for medical school and you have significant changes to your application get in touch with all of the medical schools you applied to. You want to send them an update letter detailing the improvements in your application.
This could include gaining medically relevant experience, having a research paper published or anything else that will boost your chances of being granted an interview. Peter was able to do this and the results speak for themselves because he is now in medical school.
And there you have it some great tips and insight to life as a medical student. I'm pretty confident there are a lot of great takeaways for premeds at all levels.