With the new year, I thought it may be beneficial for me to reflect on things I wish I had done differently in my journey to become a physician. While I generally received good advice and guidance, a few of my regrets are as follows:
- Have more serious and studious friends during undergrad. While I eventually started studying with a group of students who were intelligent and driven, it took me a few semesters to find that group. Initially I studied only with friends; but since they were not trying to get into medical school, they often did not try as hard to get good grades. I ended up teaching them far more than they taught me. This was not completely bad (when you teach others, you learn the material more yourself), but a balance between people whom you teach and who teach you is best.
- Take some business or economic classes. Since finishing residency, I have often regretted not taking any basic business classes in undergrad. Physicians are often either small business owners (if they have their own practice); partners (in a group practice); or independent contractors. Even though I am employed by a hospital system, I still have to have some business saavy in order for my practice to flourish. While no class can teach you everything you need to know, some basics may have been beneficial.
- Not having a “fun” summer. I spent my summers working one or two jobs, but never took a summer to completely relax. I enjoyed the spending money, but will never have that amount of free time again to travel or do something completely out of the box.
- Having more clinical experience before medical school. I shadowed a surgeon, and volunteered in an emergency room, but still had limited clinical knowledge my first year of medical school. Things that were obvious to many of my classmates were foreign to me. Spending time either in a clinic or on a hospital inpatient floor would have evened the playing field more those first 3-4 months.
What are some things that you all wish you had done differently during college or medical school?