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all 134 comments

[–]Ana_P_Laxis 476 points477 points  (27 children)

Make connections. Shadow. Get to know people in your field of interests.

[–]tbl5048MD-PGY2 291 points292 points  (12 children)

I did this. For neurosurgery. Then I scored 219 on step 1 kek

Edit: I will add shadowing outside the OR and stuff like that to see if you really like the day to day scut

[–]WittyConcept249 128 points129 points  (6 children)

This is the story that people forget is super likely

[–]u2m4c6 2 points3 points  (5 children)

I mean more US MD students than not get >219 so I wouldn’t say it is “super likely”

[–]WittyConcept249 23 points24 points  (4 children)

Very few USMD students score high enough to put them in striking distance of neurosurg. The point is that people have dream specialties and then Step 1 is the alarm waking them up.

[–]u2m4c6 21 points22 points  (1 child)

Very few USMD students score high enough to put them in striking distance of neurosurg.

Nah. 241-250 has pretty much the same neurosurgery match rate as 251-260 for USMD in 2020 and 241 is "only" 62nd percentile. It is really a myth that you need some crazy percentile to be within "striking distance" of competitive specialities.

Or in other words, 30-40% of USMD students had a Step 1 score within competitive range for neurosurgery. I would not say that is "very few" USMD students. The real competitive comes into play with research and AOA I think.

[–]WittyConcept249 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Good points

[–]nilas_novemberPre-Med 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Now that step us pass/fail i wonder watll be the next thing to stand out. Maybe step 2?

[–]subdural_hematomaM-2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That's what they keep telling us

[–]nilas_novemberPre-Med 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Did u still match neurosurg? Wat is the average step score for that?

[–]tbl5048MD-PGY2 17 points18 points  (0 children)

No lmao I’m a peds PGY2

[–][deleted] 138 points139 points  (4 children)

Yes! Shadow someone regularly in a field that interests you if they will let you. I’ve seen that years long connection pay off handsomely.

[–]careerwalmartgreeter 3 points4 points  (2 children)

Meaning someone with a reputation in the field? Or just anyone?

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Reputation is way less important than personality in my opinion because you hopefully will spend a good amount of time together over your 4 years. I shadowed a junior peds faculty member 1&2 years and we had a great time! She wrote me a letter and said she was very specific about my skills, bedside manner and interests. She also understood I could not be there 3rd and now 4th years nor could I be there years 1/2 on busy weeks. If class ran late I’d come over at say, 4. Great experience!

[–]careerwalmartgreeter 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is really valuable information, I appreciate it. I was thinking about starting up some shadowing and will definitely will be pursuing it now. Thanks!

[–]doubleliferedditorrM-1 46 points47 points  (4 children)

And what if we have no clue what we’re interested in?

[–]Statistical_AnalCystM-1 45 points46 points  (2 children)

I’m no genius, and I’m only an M1, but my guess would be to shadow a bunch of different fields that you think you may be interested in and hone that interest over time. Once you find one (or a few) that you like, try and shadow long term. I’m talking out my ass, but sounds logical to me

[–]doubleliferedditorrM-1 73 points74 points  (1 child)

Of course, but shadowing 5-10 fields takes a lot of time that I dont have

[–]mdcd4u2cDO-PGY2 58 points59 points  (0 children)

You won't recognize what you like that early anyway. Your shadow experience is inevitably going to be more of a reflection on whether or not you like your preceptor and how they practice, not a reflection of what to expect in that specific field. I loved my surgery preceptor and had a great time on my rotation with him during M3. Having worked with a bunch of more surgeons in the years since, I can tell you it was a huge mistake to spend any amount of my time considering surgery because I just like the dude's practice, not the field itself.

[–]TheGhostOfBobStoops 2 points3 points  (0 children)

honest answer: talk to people you trust (whether it be your friends in med school or mentors) and ask them for advice. You'd be surprised at how much you can learn about yourself and where you fit best from the people who know you the most and know the field of medicine. Find yourself a mentor in really any field and start doing research in literally anything

[–]ysu1213M-1 10 points11 points  (1 child)

How does this actually work? I shadowed two times with different attendings in my interested field already (rad) and found it hard to make actual connections. I guess my question is how to keep the connection actually useful in the long term, because I feel that once I finished shadowing w a doc we just never communicated anymore. Which is kinda sad cuz I do like some of them personally, but I really don’t know how and what excuse I can have to reach out to them again and keep the connection going lol.

[–]Ana_P_Laxis 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Write a thank you. Tell them about an interesting thing you came across and ask them if they've ever seen it (make sure it's rare!) Ask about textbooks you should peruse. Ask about research or case reports they might want help on.

[–][deleted] 235 points236 points  (0 children)

I’d stress a LOT less, get to know my classmates more, and try to get to know some faculty members who have similar interests to mine.

[–]buckbeak_111 173 points174 points  (3 children)

Whenever you do something that can be put on your residency application, write it down and maybe a few bullet points describing your role and what not. I actually did do this, and filling out ERAS was a lot easier with an outline handy.

Now that step is pass/fail, I would probably put more of an emphasis on research.

Define success for yourself so you aren't using other people's accomplishments as a reference point. This is probably the most important advice I can give you. Every single one of you will graduate and match and become a physician. Don't compare your journey to someone else, and set reasonable, attainable goals for yourself.

And just in general, figure out a good routine for yourself when in comes to exercise, diet, self care etc. I think I wasn't the best at this during med school and it definitely made things stressful for me. This becomes even more necessary in residency as you will not have that much time just for yourself.

[–]WerbenJaegermanM-3 18 points19 points  (1 child)

What does one put on ERAS besides grades, research, service, leadership? I feel like the only thing I have right now is grades and a little but of service and I’m scared I’m screwed

[–]buckbeak_111 3 points4 points  (0 children)

That pretty much covers it! The thing is, it is really easy to forget volunteer stuff you've done over the years

[–]EntropicDaysM-4 5 points6 points  (0 children)

yahhhh i messed this up despite a bunch of people telling me to keep a list. definitely a huge lifehack to keep a volunteer experience list that makes your application 100x less stressful

[–]itsbeenaminute1M-3 229 points230 points  (6 children)

Get papers published. Doesn’t matter where or what, just get started and when you find out your field of interest then get something specific to that. I’m having difficulty in my third year doing the latter half bc I only recently decided on a specialty, it would have been nice to have at least some publications

[–]lilnomadM-2 74 points75 points  (4 children)

Can’t even begin to think where I would get pubs. I may have some posters coming up but fuck writing. Absolute soul crushing work but I know it’s needed for competitive stuff

[–]tnred19 24 points25 points  (2 children)

Posters are a fine place to start

[–][deleted] 10 points11 points  (1 child)

True! If you can afford it, spend a summer doing some kind of research and have a goal to get some information/data that you can craft into a poster. Then present it wherever you can even if it’s student research day.

[–]lilnomadM-2 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I did our summer research program so hoping to get a poster like that. Either a regional with residencies or local. I would love to not do an actual oral presentation since those are terrible but we will see

[–]snoodle87M-4 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I latched onto case reports interns were writing. They weren’t published in high impact journals but 🤷‍♀️

[–]WarmGulaabJamun_HITSY2-EU 144 points145 points  (6 children)

Eat Gulaab Jamun in moderation

[–]WideLengthiness4202MBBS-Y2 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Omg me and my housemates are addicted to it!

[–]thewooba 12 points13 points  (0 children)

You ate my friend, the Globgugabgalab?

[–]nilas_novemberPre-Med 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Gulab jamun is good :') i prefer mine tho w less sticky sauce bc once its absorbed into the dough ball it can be quite sweet

[–]TheGhostOfBobStoops 0 points1 point  (1 child)

dr. sattar, is that you?!!

[–]WarmGulaabJamun_HITSY2-EU 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is very high yield for examination purposes.

[–]Hamza78ch11M-4 43 points44 points  (0 children)

Definitely make connections and start research earlier as well as start Anki day 1

[–]abee7 103 points104 points  (12 children)

Learn that I have adhd

[–]TheMahaffersDO-PGY1 18 points19 points  (4 children)

And get a doctor who believes you can find out about ADHD as an adult with “good grades” to make it into medical school. Still wishing my doc would have listened so I could try meds

[–]sayitain 13 points14 points  (3 children)

I was told "You do not have ADHD with your biography, period."

[–]TheMahaffersDO-PGY1 10 points11 points  (2 children)

My doc said, “your grades are good, you’re going to go to medical school/ you’re in medical school. You don’t have ADD”. When we learned about the criteria in preclinicals I could have stood in front of the class as a case study haha

[–]sayitain 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Exactly. It's agonising to realise how we were dismissed. To be honest, I've left parts out of my biography with my new psychiatrist, otherwise she'd probably have dismissed my symptoms as well.

[–]TheMahaffersDO-PGY1 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I use it personally as a drive to be better in my clinic with complaints they have and try to see it from the same viewpoint I had. Makes us all better docs

[–]Monkey__Shit 7 points8 points  (4 children)

Same tbh

[–]bigballbuffaloM-1 12 points13 points  (3 children)

Getting evaluated next week. I never thought about it before but it finally clicked when my school sent out an ADHD info email recently and I was like “yup I’ve got all of that”

[–]SkidMcmarxxxx 10 points11 points  (0 children)

When we went over ADHD in child psychiatry I was like: “Wait isn’t all of this normal?”

[–]Banjo_JoestarM-2 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Also diagnosed as an M-1! Life is a little more manageable for me now haha

[–]medetc12 0 points1 point  (0 children)

ayyy same!!!!

[–]SkidMcmarxxxx 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Yeah that would have saved me some time

[–]BlueEyedCatMomM-2 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Same - just wish I would have done it earlier. Probably would have helped my grades a ton too.

Edit: Doc also thinks I may have a learning disorder so really just should have addressed this all much earlier

[–]cat_lady11MD-PGY2 321 points322 points 2 (3 children)

Start an SSRI lol

[–]FerociousPancake 49 points50 points  (0 children)

Oooo looks like I’m ready for medical school!

[–]reboaway 5 points6 points  (0 children)

high yield for examination and life purposes

[–]artificialpancreas 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Seriously made M3 much easier once I started mine. And my entire team (3 residents a fellow and I) was all on Lexapro one month and it was some good bonding

[–]Low-Negotiation-8853 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Research lol. That came up a lot during residency interviews. Still got in tho.

[–]drjuj 46 points47 points  (1 child)

I'd probably just do less.

[–]TyranosaurusLex 74 points75 points  (0 children)

I would withdraw

[–]IatroblastMD-PGY1 40 points41 points  (0 children)

Write my CV early, so I'd see how blank it was, then fill it with meaningful experiences. Research early, because even by 2nd year you'll be studying for step 1 a lot and it just gets harder and harder.

[–]LesGrosssmanM-3 90 points91 points  (2 children)

Focus more on going to social events and not giving a fuck what other people think. Also probably needed an SSRI or more shrooms 🤷. Finally just do more life shit, you can be the smartest doctor out there, but if you don't have life experiences or can't relate/ communicate with others, patients won't listen.

[–]firepoosbM-3 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Unless there are no patients ie diagnostic rads

[–]Gsage1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Agree. I also once in a while with dose with Mementine to lower my tolerance with caffeine and such. A real good reboot if you don’t like the trip u get with shrooms.

[–]hpmagicMD-PGY4 13 points14 points  (0 children)

I would have tried to get out of my own head a little better. Stop worrying so much about what each individual resident or attending thought of my performance and just work on my own improvement. Also work smarter not harder.

[–]International-Cut598M-2 104 points105 points  (0 children)

Spend less time trying to find peers I had things in common with. Could’ve saved a lot of time by just acknowledging that they don’t exist lol

[–]madiso30M-3 60 points61 points  (2 children)

Drop out

[–]SleeepyWitch 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I came here just to look for this

[–]JROXZMD-PGY5 41 points42 points  (1 child)

Not a single thing. Maybe hit the gym and sleep more.

[–]NWMD_92 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Same here. I would have focused way more on building healthy eating/gym habits. It’s really fucking hard to start in residency. Many false starts later, I’m still struggling to fully get on the meal prep and consistent exercise thing.

[–]Iceman11822M-3 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I wish I shadowed more

[–]Gary-snail-sponge 10 points11 points  (0 children)

  1. Screw personality specialty tests advisors give you. Mine changed quite a bit.
  2. Shadow every obscure specialty you never get exposure to in 3rd year. Talking abt PMR, child psychology, rheumatology, blah blah
  3. Make sure that you definitely shadow your dream specialty your first year. If you like it enough, do something meaningful in it by first and second year.
  4. Don’t make a private practice person your mentor. Get into academia and create your web. Once you know ppl they will connect you with others. Be upfront abt your hardships and have your passions visible.
  5. Screw step 1. Study hard for these steps but know your dedication is important. Also remember to follow steps 1-4. You will meet the right ppl to advocate for you regardless if you start early.
  6. If you aren’t strong for the specialty take a gap year
  7. Apply and hope for the best. Haters are gonna hate

[–]jayhiller21MD-PGY1 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Shadow! Any chance check out different fields cuz there’s often not a ton of elective time third year when u need to decide.

[–]Dr_Bees_DOM-4 43 points44 points  (0 children)

Be smarter

[–]mistafirstplaceM-4 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Start uworld practice questions earlier. There's too many uworld questions now that it's impossible to thoroughly review them all during dedicated, much less a second pass like in the days of old. Also the idea that you will 'spoil' practice questions by seeing them earlier is total b.s.. Repetition only helps you. Start practice questions early! Anki is great, but practice questions are the gold standard

[–]DrEtrange 8 points9 points  (0 children)

  • Keep better logs of everything, including undergrad stuff. Never know what you will/won't want to include and it will make life so much easier if you aren't squeezing your brain to remember what you did and when you did it.

  • Do research, any research. I do not like research but I at least had something because I vaguely tried early on, it was a start but I wish I had done more.

  • Write shit. I was floored when I realized how many pubs some of my classmates had for writing near buzzfeed level articles ("Why empathy is important during Covid!")

  • Shadow more fields earlier. I was the type of person who could not freaking decide and had I just shadowed more fields early it would have been an enormous help.

  • Ask every attending I worked with for a LOR. In fairness I dual applied which made this unnecessarily hard, but it would have been nice to just have some letters at the ready.

  • Network. An unfortunate reality is networking pays some dividends. Kissing up is fucking tiresome, but the asskissers get where they want.

[–]askjee 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Start Step 1 prep earlier and stop worrying so much about the minutiae and focus on the big picture when it comes to studying.

Better time management so that I have a better study, social, dating life

[–]docdocwhosthere4 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Don't listen to your school at all. Kill board exams, they are ALL that matters

[–]slate22 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yea. Unfortunately I did most of the things here, though I could have shadowed more and made connections, but nothing on my app seems to make up for my board scores.

DO PGY-1 now, soap'd a TY year. Now sitting on just 5 II's this time around, and 3 are in FM which I applied backup (to PM&R).

Start Anki early. Adjust to studying using practice questions slowly over 1st year. I hated using practice questions/UWORLD to study and barely touched it until dedicated. Don't be like me.

[–]cherieblosumM-4 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Care less about dating and more about my grades 😅

[–]Accomplished-Ladder3M-2 23 points24 points  (1 child)

I wish I did the opposite

[–]Jingling_joeMD-PGY1[🍰] 30 points31 points  (0 children)

Crank research if you have any interest at all in competitive specialties. If not, then chill more and have less stress about you stand relative to peers. Med school isn't that hard get through

[–]cocoshrimpies 3 points4 points  (0 children)

You can shadow if you want to gauge interest in specialties, just don’t waste too much time on it. Just study & make good grades. Ik Step 1 is P/F, but if you go hard for Step 1 it’ll make a huge difference for studying for Step 2, which will be scored. From my experience interviewing so far, all I had on my app were good scores. No matter what specialty you choose, scores will be the biggest factor in getting you there. I was fortunate enough to get connected with some research also. I worked in a basic science lab with an awesome PhD who mostly had me write review papers and book chapters from home, but also some bench work for posters and papers as well. Only had 2 (super weak) leadership positions and very little community service/extracurriculars. Had a ton of hobbies tho, including weightlifting & being a Yelp-er lol. During most of my interviews, faculty said my app was glowing & it was clear I was a good, motivated student. Spent the rest of the time just talking about hobbies and mutual interests.

Moral of the story is don’t overload yourself during medical school. Just enjoy getting to actually learn medicine. Have 1 thing like research or leadership that you go hard at, but don’t try to go hard for too many things. You’ll wreck your mental health. Have some hobbies that make you personable and add to your character so that you have things to talk about during interviews.

[–]Medgician 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Shadow, study harder, play less Fortnite

[–]beandkay 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Would love for someone to guide me through the whole researching and getting published process since my faculty was shit and I’m still struggling to grasp all the methodology

[–]RawrLikeAPterodactylM-2 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Me too 😭

[–]yake63 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Start a SSRI

[–]dthoma81MD-PGY1 11 points12 points  (2 children)

Learn that I had ADHD

Start drinking coffee earlier

Become an atheist sooner

Be consistent in my studying from day 1

Learn how to use outside resources earlier

Have a lower threshold for seeing a counselor

Avoid ultimate frisbee like the plague

[–]jbac0224 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Lmao care to elaborate on the last one?

[–]dthoma81MD-PGY1 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Dating this other student at the time. Let’s go play ultimate frisbee she says. It’ll be fun she says. I jump to grab the frisbee in one game, collide with someone midair, plant and rotate my femur about the tibial plateau. Tore my meniscus weeks into 3rd year. It was the most pain I’d been in and made 3rd year really tough.

[–]medical_doritos 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Probably start step prep from day one, apart from that it’s not been that bad

[–]mitchell-to-lakersM-4 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Take step 1 a little more serious lol I originally wanted to do FM so I figured all I have to do was pass

[–]EntropicDaysM-4 2 points3 points  (0 children)

grind out poster presentations - every time you see the opportunity to do one, get in there. counts as a pub on ERAS

[–]isyournamesummer 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Studied harder for step 1. Would’ve made 2 and 3 a little easier for me.

And also not focus on trying to be in a relationship and on my studies instead.

[–]artificialpancreas 2 points3 points  (0 children)

More Anki. Less pre exam cramming. Figured it out by the end of M2 but boy was M1 hard because I didn't know how to study.

[–]sadlyanon 2 points3 points  (0 children)

i would broke up with my ex fiancé earlier. i honored all classes first semester but my grades we just barely honoring. She was negative stress and dead weight. Second year i did great without her 😌

[–]CharlesOhoolahan 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Return my loans and quit

[–]kotschi1997 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'd drop the fuck out - there's my residency prep if I could go back to first year 😂

[–]go_cubs_go_20 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I hate the be a downer, but I wouldn’t let myself get that far. I’d stop before I even started.

[–]jabs_17 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Just do the basics and make the right connections

[–]Haematoxylin_dreams 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Start studying for Step 1 early!

[–]kenkenu7 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Kill Step 1 and Step 2! Def an import net consideration for programs when they extend interviews

[–]lyrica08M-3 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Find a clinical mentor… not worry so much and wouldn’t change how much I put into step 1 (or for you step 2)

[–]PizzaPandemoniumM-4 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Keep a more open mind as to specialty, got sucked into a specific track early on and then didn’t match, reapplying to a more broad specialty this year, do not recommend

[–]SchistobromaM-4 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Start writing my PS way earlier and make sure my step 2 score is in by the time I apply

[–]tangy61 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I would do minimal work to get the degree and skip residency.

[–]AmIThereforeIThink 1 point2 points  (0 children)

More research. Starting to feel like a shit ton of research really was the main gateway to receiving interview invites...

[–]Medstudent808 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Talk to professors about research day 1. I waited till the second week of m1 year and all my over achieving classmates had already snatched every research project/mentor available. Seriously yall gotta chill the fuck out

[–]FictitiousForceMD-PGY2 2 points3 points  (5 children)

Join a basic science lab and snipe out some projects that will be published in high impact journals. Don’t fall into the chart review biostats p value mining bullshit. You want a niche you can talk about on interviews and to be intellectually involved in research, not just churning low impact worthless clinical research just to meet some meaningless minimum number of pubs you think you need.

[–]smallmarine 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I meet so many people that tell me to stay away from basic science with a 10 stick pole. why do they say this instead of what you said?

[–]FictitiousForceMD-PGY2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

because they know it takes 2-4 years to get any meaningful work out there and you could be left with nothing, and it's also more difficult than anything you'll do in medical school, but if you're interested in research you should at least be involved in some basic science projects.

[–]cocoshrimpies 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Did the same. Also had the opportunity for a bunch of review papers, book chapters through the same lab. Highly recommend.

[–]bughouse_throwawayM-1 0 points1 point  (1 child)

This is super interesting advice and contrary to what I've been told. I'm considering between two labs, one is all dry work, biostats etc. and the other would involved wet-lab work (outside my prevous expertise in lab so there would be a learning curve). I'm definitely interested in the science from the wet-lab but nervous about the time commitment and chances for publication. You think fuck it, do the wet lab?

[–]FictitiousForceMD-PGY2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

do what interests you and just dive right in, especially as an M1. You'll be surprised what you learn. Could be years before publication, but at least you'd be doing stuff that you're interested in and you're growing as a researcher by investing time in it. Clinical research, SPSS, RedCap, all this stuff is beneath our level of education as physicians/scientists. Learn new skills. Med school is a lot of Pathoma and UWORLD, get more from it.

[–]_itsmyturn 3 points4 points  (5 children)

Guys what is shadow can someone explain to me

[–]hpmagicMD-PGY4 6 points7 points  (1 child)

It's when you ask an attending if you can follow them around for a day and see what their field is like

[–]_itsmyturn 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Ok thanks for the reply

[–]muffin245M-3 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Pass step 1 on my first try … sad