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Does med school change people's personality for the better or the worse?


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Having seen a diversity of people go through to medical school, I wonder if people knew anyone that changed for the worst when they got into med school? Recently, I had a few friends who just completed their first year at med school, enjoy it and I'm definitely happy for them. However, at times, at social events with other friends, they often start talking and treat the rest of us as we are inferior beings to them. This has never happened in the past until they got into medical school. Well I can't say that med school is the reason for their behaviour, I was wondering if anyone else notice a change in any of their friends after they got into med school? Just wanted to have a small discussion about this.

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Other than the momentarily excitement of receiving an acceptance, which after all is a major accomplishment in life's journey, NO, I have not known any medical students who have acted like this. This is a major character flaw, which if known prior to acceptance, should weed out such applicants. Humility is alive and well! Indeed, as a medical student, one should be in awe as to how much one does not know. And as you move to residency, once again, you are at the bottom of the ladder. How can a doctor serve one's patients in the belief that you are better than the patient, that the patient is an inferior being, how would this establish a bond of trust? Shame on such people, it does not bode well for their future.

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13 minutes ago, Bambi PGY3 said:

Other than the momentarily excitement of receiving an acceptance, which after all is a major accomplishment in life's journey, NO, I have not known any medical students who have acted like this. This is a major character flaw, which if known prior to acceptance, should weed out such applicants. Humility is alive and well! Indeed, as a medical student, one should be in awe as to how much one does not know. And as you move to residency, once again, you are at the bottom of the ladder. How can a doctor serve one's patients in the belief that you are better than the patient, that the patient is an inferior being, how would this establish a bond of trust? Shame on such people, it does not bode well for their future.

I sort of half agree with this.

I think for MOST people, other than maybe some increased confidence overall going from "will I ever have a career path that makes sense" to "I now have a really good career path," there is basically no change in how they act.

That being said, just like there are d-bags in every field, they for sure exist in med school too, and I 100% disagree that the admissions process weeds this out to any significant extent.  So ya some people like this exist, just they are a minority.

 

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I think there's a moment - particularly in first and second year - in med school where you feel very accomplished and "special". It's not really that true, but all the trappings of the backpacks and white coats and official shadowing do seem pretty call. Clerkship is where you find yourself at the bottom of the ladder. Then things change. 

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20 minutes ago, A-Stark said:

I think there's a moment - particularly in first and second year - in med school where you feel very accomplished and "special". It's not really that true, but all the trappings of the backpacks and white coats and official shadowing do seem pretty call. Clerkship is where you find yourself at the bottom of the ladder. Then things change. 

That's funny but yeah that sort of might be the high point.  Youre at a university but doing something that can feel important, especially compared to the surrounding undergrads.  You all of a sudden have a ton of "access" to clinical work you haven't had before, even if you aren't doing that much.  And youre doing it with a group of impressive sounding other people.  

But damn does that change.  By clerkship you are well into the anxiety of carms, which feels like another med-school esque shadowy admission process.  You feel incompetent AF and youre overworked, and early on you may for the first time be worried about failing a rotation/worried that this might not be that great, or not for you.  I didn't feel very comfortable in my knowledge again until late residency, and by then exams are breathing down your neck so you cant enjoy it.  

That being said, even in the pre-clerkship "awesome" phase, most people don't act like superior dicks to their friends and family, although again, I'm sure some do.

 

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I have. I would not say that it changed their personality completely but rather bring in another side of their personality. I knew couple of girls who dumped their bf right after getting into med school because their boyfriend was not in med school. That was the most dramatic thing I have ever seen. Proud is one thing. Being egoistic is another. 

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8 minutes ago, dumbebell said:

I have. I would not say that it changed their personality completely but rather bring in another side of their personality. I knew couple of girls who dumped their bf right after getting into med school because their boyfriend was not in med school. That was the most dramatic thing I have ever seen. Proud is one thing. Being egoistic is another. 

Unreal. My s.o. has a career unrelated to medicine. We have different interests and complement each other rather than clone each other. 

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1 hour ago, Bambi PGY3 said:

Unreal. My s.o. has a career unrelated to medicine. We have different interests and complement each other rather than clone each other. 

Exactly! It makes little or no no sense to me. That was the only incident of egoism in medical school I have personally experienced. 

 

I am not surprised, especially looking at some of obnoxious members of premed 101 though I could be little judgmental here. 

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10 hours ago, UWUW said:

Having seen a diversity of people go through to medical school, I wonder if people knew anyone that changed for the worst when they got into med school? Recently, I had a few friends who just completed their first year at med school, enjoy it and I'm definitely happy for them. However, at times, at social events with other friends, they often start talking and treat the rest of us as we are inferior beings to them. This has never happened in the past until they got into medical school. Well I can't say that med school is the reason for their behaviour, I was wondering if anyone else notice a change in any of their friends after they got into med school? Just wanted to have a small discussion about this.

I wouldn't be surprised if that was how they always thought about others, but now that they have been admitted to medical school (and don't feel as obligated to maintain appearances in social settings), perhaps they feel more comfortable in expressing their perceived sense of entitlement (through treating others poorly).

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4 hours ago, A-Stark said:

I think there's a moment - particularly in first and second year - in med school where you feel very accomplished and "special". It's not really that true, but all the trappings of the backpacks and white coats and official shadowing do seem pretty call. Clerkship is where you find yourself at the bottom of the ladder. Then things change. 

I'm not in clerkship yet, but I see it in preclerkship. Some of the Facebook posts I see make me wonder about this perception. This behaviour irks me from time to time, but really the only person you need to concentrate on is yourself. If they are being a sucky inconsiderate friend, maybe you are better off without them. 

I don't think this behaviour is intentional though -- it is a point of pride to get into medical school, and I guess it can be hard to see beyond it when you are still riding that high. Med school admissions are very good at selecting applicants with certain character traits, but I think being perceptive and wary is a virtue that isn't highlighted enough. Saying the word empathy is easy. 

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I think the confidence and air of ego comes in cycles regardless of what field we're in, or what stage of life we're at.

When you first enter highshool, you're afraid of being the freshman target, but by the time you're in your senior year you feel like you're the top of the world. And as many people have pointed out, I agree that there is this high that you feel during pre-clerkship feeling accomplished and making your dreams come true. And this happens in residency, and I imagine, in the first few years of independent practice - You feel inferior to senior staff, you feel that you're going to screw up or miss something, etc ... It also happens to those who work 9 to 5 office jobs and work their way up to their first promotion - feels great for a while, until you realize you have more responsibility and easily mess up.

What I think is important to distinguish, is the people who have transient boosts in confidence (i.e. many of us) and those who permanently turn into different people. I have seen the latter, but I think it's a lot rarer.

Regardless of which field or stage of life you're in I think it's important to keep friends around who will be real with you, keep you grounded, and smack you in the head when you're acting like an a-hole.

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20 hours ago, UWUW said:

Having seen a diversity of people go through to medical school, I wonder if people knew anyone that changed for the worst when they got into med school? Recently, I had a few friends who just completed their first year at med school, enjoy it and I'm definitely happy for them. However, at times, at social events with other friends, they often start talking and treat the rest of us as we are inferior beings to them. This has never happened in the past until they got into medical school. Well I can't say that med school is the reason for their behaviour, I was wondering if anyone else notice a change in any of their friends after they got into med school? Just wanted to have a small discussion about this.

LOL yes. Not really a friend tho, an acquaintance (friend of a friend). To be fair I heard he was always a big a$$ in class etc anyways, the superiority was just worse once he was finished first year of med school. Other people I know are pretty much the same? Just more brag-y on social media (i.e. snapchat of parties, rotations, brag-ranting about staying late for clerkship etc)

So like another poster said above, it can bring out the worst or magnify certain aspects of their personality I guess?

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also keep in mind that this is a 4 year program followed by a 2-6 year fellowship - that is a long time, and a time when people are young and evolving anyway. People are going to change with or without medical school, but put them in a scenario where they are doing things most people don't do, and see things most people don't see.

So change would not be surprising - and sometimes yeah not always in a good way 

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17 hours ago, DentalFoodie said:

LOL yes. Not really a friend tho, an acquaintance (friend of a friend). To be fair I heard he was always a big a$$ in class etc anyways, the superiority was just worse once he was finished first year of med school. Other people I know are pretty much the same? Just more brag-y on social media (i.e. snapchat of parties, rotations, brag-ranting about staying late for clerkship etc)

So like another poster said above, it can bring out the worst or magnify certain aspects of their personality I guess?

I think that's a fair way of putting it. Brag-ranting about staying late for clerkship is about the dumbest thing ever. Sounds like one of those clerks that overestimates their importance.

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6 hours ago, A-Stark said:

I think that's a fair way of putting it. Brag-ranting about staying late for clerkship is about the dumbest thing ever. Sounds like one of those clerks that overestimates their importance.

or they are trying to shore up their one confidences against the stresses if being in medical school I guess. 

when you start as a clerk you really are at the bottom. Dead last. We all go through it but really every other heath care worker or support person is more important than you (if you vanished it won't really impact the team negatively, and likely things would even speed up. In comparison if the cleaning crew isn't there something that needs to get done won't be. You do rapidly start to learn to be useful though and go up from there :)). 

 

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On 8/13/2017 at 0:55 AM, UWUW said:

Having seen a diversity of people go through to medical school, I wonder if people knew anyone that changed for the worst when they got into med school? Recently, I had a few friends who just completed their first year at med school, enjoy it and I'm definitely happy for them. However, at times, at social events with other friends, they often start talking and treat the rest of us as we are inferior beings to them. This has never happened in the past until they got into medical school. Well I can't say that med school is the reason for their behaviour, I was wondering if anyone else notice a change in any of their friends after they got into med school? Just wanted to have a small discussion about this.

People that have those thoughts....... probably had superiority complex regardless of their stage of life. 

I've met a fair amount of both and knew them before and after medical school for many years, the more down to earth ones tend to stay down to earth... the arrogant jerks, well they hide it better professionally. 

- G 

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20 hours ago, GH0ST said:

People that have those thoughts....... probably had superiority complex regardless of their stage of life. 

I've met a fair amount of both and knew them before and after medical school for many years, the more down to earth ones tend to stay down to earth... the arrogant jerks, well they hide it better professionally. 

- G 

 

Or it might be that they had an inferiority complex all their lives leading up to the point where they were accepted to med school...

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On 8/13/2017 at 2:55 AM, UWUW said:

Having seen a diversity of people go through to medical school, I wonder if people knew anyone that changed for the worst when they got into med school? Recently, I had a few friends who just completed their first year at med school, enjoy it and I'm definitely happy for them. However, at times, at social events with other friends, they often start talking and treat the rest of us as we are inferior beings to them. This has never happened in the past until they got into medical school. Well I can't say that med school is the reason for their behaviour, I was wondering if anyone else notice a change in any of their friends after they got into med school? Just wanted to have a small discussion about this.

It can definitely change. Some people do get more confidence, others can get cocky initially, but clerkship and residency really changes people due to the long hours and the stress of it all. Some of it though is just due to life experiences and growing up.  

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On 8/13/2017 at 10:32 AM, A-Stark said:

I think there's a moment - particularly in first and second year - in med school where you feel very accomplished and "special". It's not really that true, but all the trappings of the backpacks and white coats and official shadowing do seem pretty call. Clerkship is where you find yourself at the bottom of the ladder. Then things change. 

Lol - those backpacks are very powerful!

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