Expectations Entering Medical School

Neil Bhavsar


August 30, 2017

After what seems like thousands of hours of premed schooling; hundreds of hours of volunteering, work, and shadowing; and far, far too many hours of Netflix, it is almost here: my first day of medical school. What is now only a week away from today felt like a million years in the making. Although I do have a long way to go on this career path before I can ever even consider calling myself anything close to a doctor, any prior anxieties I fostered about my future are unambiguously quelled by the fact that I am not crazy to think that I can make it through med school.

With that thought in mind, it has been quite some time since I received my acceptance letter. Although I would not say that the initial excitement has dissipated in any sense of the word, it has gradually undergone a transformation into a concept nestled, almost obnoxiously, in the back of my mind—one that is unconscionable to ignore. With each passing second, my "I got into med school" mantra has gradually fluctuated among one of relieved victory to silent worry and, at times, sheer horror.

Don't tell me you haven't heard the horror stories yourself—losing friends, relationships, passions, and hobbies, all for the opportunity of making a difference in the lives of patients. If that's not enough, the statistics pointing out that a sizeable portion of medical students are depressed are not all too reassuring either. And don't even get me started on the rising cost of education and the current state of affairs surrounding student debt... Although none of this has deterred me from my dreams, it would be ill-advised to ignore the less-than-positive repercussions of my choices.

You, Your Priorities, and Your Peers

In the hopes of pursuing my passion of one day helping people, becoming a part of something bigger than myself, and learning the art of healing, I have lost a lot of friends who I thought would be there for the long haul (the "playing bingo with me in our future senior center" sort of long haul). Was that a result of our diverging perspectives on what we valued in life, or a product of negligence stemming from our ambition to achieve more? Although I may make conclusions to make myself feel better, I may never really know.

It wasn't easy telling my friends that I wasn't free for even a minute during the month leading up to my MCAT, that my medical school's second-look day wasn't exactly optional, that I couldn't go on a weekend road trip with them to a university two states away, or all the other times that I had to choose staying in and studying. Although I am sure others in positions similar to mine might have fared better, I realize that this is something about my lifestyle that won't change. But that's why I can't help but respect the people who have managed to work with me on this—those who understand that everyone has his or her own responsibilities and that even the most inopportunely timed sacrifices might just become perfunctory.

Realizing the mortality of several lifelong friendships doesn't inspire the best of feelings, but it does make you respect the relationships that have endured. These are the relationships that I genuinely can't imagine life without, and I won't let them slip away too easily.

Now, this could just be a lot of big talk. I have no clue what medical school will be like. Do I know what to expect? Maybe. But do I really know? No. Sure, I probably have an idea or gist of it all, but that doesn't mean much. So "outsourcing experience" seemed like the best thing to do to be adequately prepared for the years ahead.


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