Wayfaring MD

I am a family medicine resident who likes to highlight the hilarious in medicine as I write about patients, medical school, residency, medical missions, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

HIPAA is for reals, folks. All of my "patient stories" have been changed to protect patient privacy. I will change any or all identifiers, including age, location, race/ethnicity, sex, medical history, and quotes. Also, I am an anonymous internet person. Why should you trust an anonymous internet person to give you medical advice? Don't ask me, ask your doctor!
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Posts tagged "hunterworth"

So I have recently spoken to a few different people about what majors that would set me up for a Doctor. But then I have also heard the route of a degree in something you are interested in to show diversity but still get your pre-reqs done. What is your take on that? I have heard that doing a bio/chem based class could burn you out before you even reach medical school. What you have any personal advice too? -hunterworth



(sorry, been wanting to use that gif for a while).

My advice on majors has always been to do what you love. Yes, schools look for diversity, but if you love biology or chemistry, do it and don’t be shamed. And remember, diversity doesn’t have to come from a weird major. 

I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but I can’t find it, so I’ll tell it again. I initially majored in chemistry because I thought med schools were tired of biology majors. But then I realized (with my advisor’s help) that I HATED chemistry. My advisor suggested I spend some quality time with my college’s course catalog, pick out all the classes I was interested in, and then go with the major that contained the most classes I was really interested in taking. I did that, and I ended up having to pick between English and Biology. I picked Biology because even though I loved to read I hated writing papers. 


Med schools don’t really care what you major in. Sure, they welcome diversity in majors, but they don’t shun traditional science minded folks either. If you really think you need to be more balanced, grab some minors in non-science subjects or participate in extracurriculars that are non-science related. For example, my minor was photography and I spent most of my extracurricular time volunteering with my church and one of my school’s religious organizations. Those things can help distinguish you from other applicants just as well as a major in Latin or underwater basket weaving can. 


As for the burnout point, that is true. A science major can definitely burn you out early (as evidenced by a recent post from wordsididntsay), but it can also make your first year of medical school go a little smoother. There’s a trade off there for sure. Personally, I never felt burned out in undergrad, but I took a fairly balanced schedule, went to a school that was very supportive, and I have a very high threshold for burnout. 

TL;dr: Major in whatever you wanna major in, get those pre-med pre-reqs done, and hakuna matata the rest. 


Asker hunterworth Asks:
What were your study habits in college compared to the study habits of med school? Because I'm at the point of just doing the bare minimum of studying and its showing in my B average grades. But i kind of just want to have fun in college right now, so is this bad habit or is it just normal?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Heh, my study habits in college were terrible compared to med school, and my med school studying wasn’t what it could have been. I didn’t grasp the concept of reading the textbook and studying every day until I got to medical school. 

My studying varied by the class: for for classes like physics, genetics, biochemistry, calculus, and all my chemistries, I was pretty diligent to work all the problems in the books and go to tutoring sessions that were available so I could do more practice problems. That method worked well for me most of the time, except for physics I (where I went to every tutoring session, did all the problems correctly on the first try, and still got Cs on tests because my teacher was writing tests for rocket scientists) and organic I (where my teacher wrote 2.5 hour exams and only gave us 1 hour to finish them).  

For classes that were more rote memorization based, like some of my biologies and most of my gen ed classes, I pretty much would just review my notes here and there and then hunker down a few days before the exams. I got As in pretty much all of those classes because I’m a great memorizer, but I’m not sure how much of that stuff I put in my long term memory. 

Those methods of studying worked for me in undergrad, but I knew they wouldn’t work in medical school. It was REALLY hard for me to pick up the pace once I got to medical school because I was used to doing well without having to work extremely hard. So yeah, it probably is a bad habit to start studying that way. Put in the time, learn how to study and really absorb what you’re learning, and maybe it’ll make med school a bit easier for you (if only because it taught you how to study properly).

Asker hunterworth Asks:
Congrats on you match, from all your posts, sounds like your going to make a great doctor!
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:



Asker hunterworth Asks:
Okay, so I'm planning on going to University of Arizona, they also have a medical school, but according to other websites, its not the highest ranked. So does it really matter what Med School you apply to? or do you just try to apply anywhere to get it?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Well, let me ask you this: do YOU care where your doctor went to medical school? Do you look up your doctors to see where they went, what their grades were, and where they went to residency? My guess is probably not. 

There are always going to be a few snobs who care whether their doctor went to Hopkins or some junk, but most people really don’t care. There are bad apples from great schools, and great doctors from mediocre schools. It’s the same as undergrad. 

What matters is whether you pass your boards, and how well you do on them. Some schools may prepare you better than others for the boards, but you just have to research schools around you and learn about their reputations. Your board scores determine where you go for residency, and residency is really where you learn how to be a doctor. And just because a residency program doesn’t have a big name doesn’t mean it’s not excellent. 

So when you’re applying to medical school, apply to schools that are reasonable for your grades/MCAT/etc. Don’t worry so much about the name. I thought about applying to a very prestigious medical school near me, but when I visited there, I hated it. My school is not as well known or as prestigious, but I know that I learned better there than I would have at the big name school.

We can’t all go to Harvard, but there are plenty of non-Ivy Leaguers out there who are amazing doctors. 

Asker hunterworth Asks:
First year in college and ran into some issue. I'm currently attending community college and then will transfer out to University of Arizona. But thing about JCs is everyone and there mother goes there, meaning it is super difficult to get my classes (Bio, Chem, Math). So would you recommend just sticking it out and spend an extra year or so here and save my parents some money or should I just try applying to UA? Because after UA I want to attend Med School so I would also be saving me money.
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

So I consulted my best good friend, who went to a 2 year school and then transferred to a big state school before making it to med school. 

She says she didn’t feel like she was at any disadvantage for having transferred from a 2 year school. Maybe the big name med schools would care, but most wouldn’t. She reminded me of several people who made it to medical school after going to junior colleges. 

I agree with her. I don’t think going somewhere local for your first 2 years makes much of a difference. 

As for staying there instead of transferring, I would say that as a med school interviewer I might hold it against you a little if I saw that all your pre-med classes were done at a JuCo. Someone with equal grades who went to a respectable school with a bigger name would probably be ranked a little higher in my book. I hate that we have to be name conscious like that, but you have to weed out applicants somehow. It might be to your advantage to transfer to a school that has a reputation of sending graduates into medicine. 

Yes, you would save money by staying, but it’s possible you could make your med school application process more difficult by doing so. It’s hard for me to really know because I’m not familiar with schools in that part of the country. 

But I’ll leave with this: if you make a 35 on the MCAT, no one will care what school you went to.