on October 28th, 2015 5 Comments
Stanford Medicine Unplugged (formerly SMS Unplugged) is a forum for students to chronicle their experiences in medical school. The student-penned entries appear on Scope once a week during the academic year; the entire blog series can be found in the Stanford Medicine Unplugged category.
Ever since I was little, people asked me if I would become a doctor like my dad. I wasn’t sure until I shadowed a doctor my freshman year of college. As soon as that happened, I started looking for guidance on how to choose between my many interests so that I could both be true to myself and become the best candidate for medical school that I could be.
I was lucky to have many great mentors who took the time to thoughtfully answer my questions, and now I’d like to pay it forward. For anyone in the early stages of premed that wants advice, here are my thoughts on certain areas.
- Medical schools will likely want to see evidence that you’ll be able to keep up with the academic rigor of their program. This sounds obvious, but the way that you can demonstrate this is to do well in your classes as an undergraduate.
- Don’t take more classes than you can master. There are many interesting courses available in college but you need to be strategic about giving yourself the time to excel in your classes and giving yourself time to just be.
- Give yourself time to see what extracurriculars you gravitate towards naturally. When you find them, pick one or two and invest time and energy in them. Take them in interesting, unique directions:
- If research is your thing, then ask interesting questions. Schedule time every few months to actually speak with the faculty overseeing your research.
- If volunteering is your thing, then be a leader in your field. Identify a need that has not been filled or an organization that inspires you and work hard on that.
- If you’re an athlete, then be a leader on the field and off. Be a mentor to younger teammates.
- At the end of the day, medical schools want to see your leadership and legacy as an undergrad.