The road to Medical School isn’t straight! There are many different ways to get there, but also MANY different ways to get into a wreck or make a wrong turn. There are stoplights, accidents, unexpected construction, and bad drivers on the same road you are on. If you want to get to your destination, you have to have a map, know the laws, and watch out for bad drivers!
HAVE A MAP: This perhaps is most important. If you don’t know where you are going then there’s no point in getting into the car. For the premedical student, the map is a year by year plan detailing what classes you need to be taking, extracurricular activities to get involved with, and what to do with your summers. Furthermore, one must know where the gas stations (tutoring, study groups, etc) and rest stops (gym, lounge, relaxation centers, etc) are located. DO NOT GET INTO THE CAR WITHOUT A MAP, if you do, there’s a good chance you might get lost, waste gas, waste money, and waste time! If you don’t have a map, borrow this one for now: http://www.diversemedicine.org/2013/08/20/path-to-medical-school-step-by-step-freshman-through-senior-year/
KNOW THE LAWS: Pertaining to the premedical student, the laws are the “rules of the game”. Our job at DiverseMedicine is to tell you the truth without sugar coating, so here it is; Rule #1-Get a good GPA, Rule #2-Get a good MCAT score. Those are the two most important laws, neither of which are easy to do without a reliable map. Certainly there are circumstances that a student with a low GPA or poor MCAT score will get into medical school based on the remainder of the application, BUT what you MUST understand is this is NOT THE NORM!!! The norm is a good GPA and a good MCAT score! The same is true on the road; when an officer pulls someone over for speeding, the exception is warning but the norm is a ticket! After you grab your map and understand these laws, there will be many more laws for you to learn along the way, but start here.
WATCH OUT FOR BAD DRIVERS: Defensive driving is of great importance when you get in the car. You’ve got to watch out for those individuals who are doing more texting than driving, the ones putting on makeup, and the ones who are impatient and angry for no obvious reason (I hope none of these are you). The same is true for the premedical student. You’ll be driving next to the party animal who tells you not to study and to head to the clubs 3 nights a week (I remember the Thursday – Sunday weekends in college), the boaster who acts like they scored perfect on every test (which most of the time isn’t true) to knock down your self-esteem, and the hater who doesn’t want to share study materials or helpful tips. Watch out for bad drivers, especially during rush hour (e.g. test time, MCAT time, etc). They might make you swerve, but get back into your lane!
So if you want to get to your destination; grab your map, know the laws, and watch out for bad drivers. I remember the days when I was at the steering wheel on this road and the dangers that lurked at each corner. Don’t forget that many of us were in the same position you are in now, and we faced the same challenges. That’s why DiverseMedicine is around now! We are here for you, so ALWAYS feel free to shoot us messages and post questions in the forums! Get in the car, squeeze the wheel, and press the pedal keeping in mind, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13.