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universaldesign

Struggling in Med School ...

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I'm a first year med student and I'm feeling that med school is more competitive than what I have anticipated. I went into medicine looking forward to a more co-operative environment, but I'm finding that the competition does not stop.   I applied to be the co-chair for 3 clubs at my school and was only accepted at 1.  I've always been interested in pursing internal med - but was not accepted as the co-chair of the internal medicine club... so right now, based on that I'm wondering if I would be competitive in internal medicine if I have not even been accepted as one of the co-chairs of the club.

I also don't have any connections in medicine like a lot of my classmates, I'm the first person in my family to go to university and because of that I'm finding it difficult to find physicians to shadow.  I'd e-mail preceptors to shadow and a lot of times they don't answer. I have not had much exposure to the different fields of medicine and I'm wondering how can I build connections with preceptors in the fields that I'm interested in and what can I do to show leadership capacity in medical school? 

I don't want to finish med school and be in a lot of debt, only to be in a field that I don't like.

 

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Internal medicine is the second largest field in all of medicine - that means the vast majority of your class going into that field will not have any special co-chairing experience related to it. If your school is average sized dozens of people will be going into internal medicine - only 2 will be a co-chair etc. Plus I will say from the other side having such ECs doesn't really matter that much in the application process if at all. It also has one of the highest match rates, i.e. it is one of the easier things to get into for sure. Now getting a particular subspecialty in internal is another matter mind you - their real challenging part comes later. 

I could go through each of those and point out how little that matters to get into internal medicine (preclerkship shadowing is nice for you to know what you are doing but not super exciting for actually getting into internal medicine as an example) but I think that might be targeting the wrong part of this. You are making things in a sense more competitive by thinking the bar is set where you need to do all the things you are proposing to get into internal medicine. Over time you will get a few preceptors that know you and support you - you don't need to shadow a ton of people. It can be a slowish process but that is fine. 

Preclerkship is to make sure you know the basic medicine so that you don't sound like an idiot in clerkship where things really count and matter more. 

I know it can be a bit scary starting off - particular as unlike premed times there are no real goal posts like GPA or the MCAT to guide you. I too was the first person in my family to go to university - it wasn't a barrier really :) 

 

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99% of people who match to internal were not co-chairs. Preceptors are often hard to get a hold of. There is nothing in your story that is worrisome.

Also, uderstand that imposter syndrome is quite real. Even with my PhD, productive clinical research, and recent awards in my field, I feel inadequate and unprepared. It's a feeling that is hard to shake, no matter what.

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I'm not going to repeat the above responses but I think you may need to change your expectations about med school.  Perhaps as a premed, you felt like you needed ECs like club execs etc. That's not really the case anymore. 

You may think now that you like IM and IM only, and everything else is a field you don't like.  Try to focus on learning all that stuff that makes you shine as a clerk.  You may change your mind about residency choice later.   

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Depending on the medical school you're at, some schools (like UofT) will pair you with a staff supervisor who you can contact for shadowing and research ...etc if you come from a first in university background. See if your school has a program like this

Sometimes your profs will leave emails for students on their slides after they present, often if you talk to them, they're happy to let you shadow

 

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On 12/6/2018 at 4:14 PM, universaldesign said:

I'm a first year med student and I'm feeling that med school is more competitive than what I have anticipated. I went into medicine looking forward to a more co-operative environment, but I'm finding that the competition does not stop.   I applied to be the co-chair for 3 clubs at my school and was only accepted at 1.  I've always been interested in pursing internal med - but was not accepted as the co-chair of the internal medicine club... so right now, based on that I'm wondering if I would be competitive in internal medicine if I have not even been accepted as one of the co-chairs of the club.

I also don't have any connections in medicine like a lot of my classmates, I'm the first person in my family to go to university and because of that I'm finding it difficult to find physicians to shadow.  I'd e-mail preceptors to shadow and a lot of times they don't answer. I have not had much exposure to the different fields of medicine and I'm wondering how can I build connections with preceptors in the fields that I'm interested in and what can I do to show leadership capacity in medical school? 

I don't want to finish med school and be in a lot of debt, only to be in a field that I don't like.

 

getting into IM is not that hard. 

 

It involves a few things:

A) do well on your GIM rotation (ie read a lot - in IM knowledge is everything)

b) do electives in GIM. Try going to different schools. Impress

c) get great reference letters

d) use summers to try clinical research 

 

that’s it  it’s not super hard to get into. No one will care if you co-chair anything. It’s far more important to know the JAMA RCE series lol

 

 

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Interest groups are essentially useless on your resume. I am convinced the giant jump to join lots and be involved. Is just putting that residual pre-med energy of joining things and resume padding to use. Because the reality is pre-clerkship you could do absolutely nothing and just enjoy your life and still land in a competitive specialty 

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29 minutes ago, MarsRover said:

Interest groups are essentially useless on your resume. I am convinced the giant jump to join lots and be involved. Is just putting that residual pre-med energy of joining things and resume padding to use. Because the reality is pre-clerkship you could do absolutely nothing and just enjoy your life and still land in a competitive specialty 

you take a whole lot of type A people with clear targets and goals, and you put them in an environment with no clear targets or clear way to measure advancement is probably part of it in general. 

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