Originally posted April 1st, 2014
Ah categorization. Don’t we all love it? These are some pre-meds I have seen in my day. Maybe you have seen them all; maybe you haven’t interacted with anyone like these. Is this all of them? Of course not! Its just a few who stick out and who you might not ever forget. You might even be a combination of a couple of ‘em.
The doctor-to-be since birth
These pre-meds have it covered. They’ve been volunteering at hospitals and clinics since they were legally allowed to, already have umpteen doctors ready to write them recommendation letters, and know exactly what kind of doctor they need to be. Whispering sweet nothings of physician-hood since they were three, they will let nothing stop them from achieving the goal. They are slightly intimidating at first, but eventually they become less so as classes get more intense. Besides their total one-track commitment to medicine, they are pretty helpful and are general nice.
The perfect candidate
How are they so good at everything? Great grades, good test takers, they seem to know exactly what to do and have all the right doctorly attributes. But you can’t hate them. You don’t even dislike them because they are pretty nice. They are the ones willing to help a straggler, teach a study group and be a beloved officer in a club. You really find yourself cheering for them along the way. The trick with the perfect candidate for medical school is they don’t believe themselves so great. The word is humble.
In your heart you want to shake the forced. They don’t really want to be a doctor, but feel pushed into a corner. Maybe it’s from parents; maybe they just put too much pressure on themselves. A lot of people who are forced to be pre-med start off okay, but slowly decline. Whether they are losing steam or lose complete interest its clear they are not happy doing this. You can only hope they figure it out before they get into medical school.
“Oh yeah, I guess I want to go to med school. I do pretty well in my class.” They say while not even bothering to look up from whatever they are doing. And you have no idea if they are the best in class or drowning at the bottom. They just don’t seem fazed by any of it. They are good to have around if you’re panicking though. “Why panic? It’s not going to make anything better.” They say. The wise words of someone who reads the organic chemistry book like a novel.
The Ivy Leaguer
Every pre-med has a dream school but these pre-meds are going to Harvard for med school. Or so they say. And say it they will. It’s nice to think big, but some goals seem just a little bit lofty don’t you think? Tread carefully around these pre-meds, for they don’t take it well if you try to talk about thinks like less prestigious schools, or heaven forbid, BACKUP OPTIONS. They tend to have a slight air of superiority, even though they don’t go to their dream Ivy League. And nothing will break the delusion, except an actual rejection.
The baby gunner
You won’t always notice them right away but it comes pretty apparent when one day you are shoved out of the way as baby gunners plant themselves in the front row of your class. Some live up to their crazy study (or not) habits, but most just act like the top of the class. To them, everyone is competition and there is no way they are going to let anyone get ahead of them. It’s a dog-eat-dog world after all. So don’t ask for advice or about what happened in class that day because you certainly won’t get a good answer. You can’t beat them either, in anything. Got a 95 on your test? Well they got a 96. There isn’t much to gain here.
We all get stressed sometimes, but why are they crying after the test? The panicked will always seem up in arms about something, whether it is an upcoming test, not being 100% ready for an event or they started thinking too much. These anxiety driven individuals can get things done, but it’s usually accompanied with sobs and a breakdown. Usually they do alright, but they don’t really get the whole fact that if they did well once, they can probably do well again. Do not provoke.
“How high a score can you get on the MCAT? Why do I need to take physics? We have pre-med advisors?” They aren’t doing it to be annoying; the confused just don’t quite know what’s going on. They want to be a doctor, they really do. They most likely have just never had specific guidance so they have turned to you for all their medical school questions. Be patient though, one day they apparently figure it out (but really still have no idea what’s happening).
The survivors have made it though. The students who have seen it all, done it all and now have the great honor of entering medical school. Keep them around for your questions and expectations. If they like you, you will gain a treasure cove of information. They took your path and there they go. Hopefully, they make you feel like if they did it, you can do it too.