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med.goals

How to stand out in medical school?

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I'm finding it difficult to stand out in medical school because everyone around me is amazing. In fact, sometimes I question how I got into medical school in the first place. A big portion of my class has  Phd's and Msc but I just have an undergrad degree.  What makes matters worse is that before med school, I have always been interested in doing surgery and now I am questioning my ability to succeed and my ability to be a competitive applicant when it comes to matching. How do I deal with these feelings?  Do I really need to stand out amongst medical student crowd to get into surgery? 

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27 minutes ago, med.goals said:

I'm finding it difficult to stand out in medical school because everyone around me is amazing. In fact, sometimes I question how I got into medical school in the first place. A big portion of my class has  Phd's and Msc but I just have an undergrad degree.  What makes matters worse is that before med school, I have always been interested in doing surgery and now I am questioning my ability to succeed and my ability to be a competitive applicant when it comes to matching. How do I deal with these feelings?  Do I really need to stand out amongst medical student crowd to get into surgery? 

I think how you perform in electives and such will largely dictate this. You can have all the degrees in the world, but if they don't like you, you're in trouble. Conversely, it does not make sense to get a masters or phd if you are not interested in research. You can always do that later, but finding your ground and your match now is what is important

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While not exactly med school, my cousin got into vet school in her third year of undergrad, and she was the only one in the class who didn't even get the undergrad, but she wound up being in the top three of her class and she was offered a job as a vet in her hometown in her third year of vet school for when she graduated. Again, it's how you perform now!

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1 hour ago, med.goals said:

I'm finding it difficult to stand out in medical school because everyone around me is amazing. In fact, sometimes I question how I got into medical school in the first place. A big portion of my class has  Phd's and Msc but I just have an undergrad degree.  What makes matters worse is that before med school, I have always been interested in doing surgery and now I am questioning my ability to succeed and my ability to be a competitive applicant when it comes to matching. How do I deal with these feelings?  Do I really need to stand out amongst medical student crowd to get into surgery? 

we are in a cohort of amazing and talented individuals and sometimes we might wonder how we even got in (I definitely did!). but just as much as you are admiring your classmates, im sure your classmates are admiring your achievements at the same time. we all worked extremely hard to get in, so don't discredit your achievements!!

plus, we're all starting this race together. some may have more research, more knowledge, etc. at the start but we all have 3 or 4 years at our disposal to prepare for CARMS. im finding that a lot more opportunities are open to me now as a med student compared to undergrad-PIs more willing to take me on, more shadowing, ecs. 

so don't stress! everyone in med school took different paths to get here. if you want surgery, go for it. your past experiences or lack thereof will not limit your opportunities moving forward. just remember this: your school wants you to succeed and will do everything necessary to help you succeed.

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I don’t even have an undergrad degree, while I had med classmates with multiple advanced degrees and lots of published academic work. 

Thing is, the med school part of your education is very much a separate beast from whatever you’ve done before. It requires its own set of skills and talents in areas lots of people with strong academic backgrounds may not have exercised before. You’re all coming into it on relatively even ground for the stuff that really matters. 

I think it’s important not to compare yourselves to others. Work to be the best you can be and to ensure you’re meeting the objectives of you’re program. Be nice, work and study hard and make sure you’re a good team member in clerkship. It’s not possible for everyone to be the best at this, but show willingness to learn and work hard and I think that’s going to take you a big part of the way. Can’t really speak to surgical programs since I didn’t apply to them, but just generally focus on yourself, not others. 

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11 hours ago, med.goals said:

I'm finding it difficult to stand out in medical school because everyone around me is amazing. In fact, sometimes I question how I got into medical school in the first place. A big portion of my class has  Phd's and Msc but I just have an undergrad degree.  What makes matters worse is that before med school, I have always been interested in doing surgery and now I am questioning my ability to succeed and my ability to be a competitive applicant when it comes to matching. How do I deal with these feelings?  Do I really need to stand out amongst medical student crowd to get into surgery? 

Interesting all that prior stuff doesn't really matter as much as you think. I like to think as each stage of the medical school progression to be mostly separate. That means you don't have to worry too much about your prior background, and also it means you cannot rest on your prior accomplishments either. My premed just got me into med school, my med school just got me into residency and now even as a fellow all that prior stuff just doesn't matter. Now I have use this fellowship phase to hit the staff level. 

A ton of people get into surgery without all that advanced stuff you mention - just move forward from where you are now. 

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22 hours ago, med.goals said:

I'm finding it difficult to stand out in medical school because everyone around me is amazing. In fact, sometimes I question how I got into medical school in the first place. A big portion of my class has  Phd's and Msc but I just have an undergrad degree.  What makes matters worse is that before med school, I have always been interested in doing surgery and now I am questioning my ability to succeed and my ability to be a competitive applicant when it comes to matching. How do I deal with these feelings?  Do I really need to stand out amongst medical student crowd to get into surgery? 

You might actually find that the people who only have an undergrad degree often are the ones who end up in surgery. Having just an undergrad is more of an advantage than you think, many of the people who just have an undergrad are younger and are able to spend the time to pursue a grad degree during residency. Typically, a grad degree you do during residency is much more relevant to your future career since by that time you have a better idea of what you want to do and you have the resources to achieve that. 

What residency programs care about is your productivity and your future potential as opposed to a pure volume/numbers game. They often take people who are only 6-7 years out of high school as surgical residents, there may be some self selection going on, but if it were the case that the more on your resume the better, these people wouldn't have matched into surgery. 

I also wouldn't say that having a MSc or PhD before med school hurts you in CaRMS, i would say theres room for all types of candidates and they don't go out of their way to give points to those who have a MSc or PhD as opposed to those who don't and they don't look down on those who did do a grad degree before med either. 

Depending on your ultimate chosen specialty, research may or may not even matter. But if it does matter, all you need to do is do some research, ideally in your chosen specialty, during med school, then mention that you are interested in research in your residency interviews and you'll have checked the box.

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I agree with what other people say above.  However, I should preface this by saying I'm not in surgery and didn't have much interest in that path.

At the end of the day, attitude is more important than achievement.  That said, some of the people who are quite accomplished are so because they have great attitudes and strong work ethic.  However, A good portion of the people that have graduate degrees in your program likely did so because they were unsure of what they wanted to do next after their undergrad or they didn't feel that they were competitive enough for medical school admissions directly after undergrad.  The more difficult part is going to be looking more competitive on paper than these individuals.  If you're serious about being more competitive than them, start early and be keen.  In person time and electives are going to be your opportunity to shine. Your first couple of years of medical school are a great opportunity to do observerships and to start meeting some people in the field.  It's also going to give you some exposure to help answer one of the most important questions, is a surgery career really what you want with your life? 

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