1. Study hard and pass. P = M.D. (or D.O.) always.
2. Have Fun. Eat. Sleep. Laugh. Occasionally binge old episodes of “Scrubs”. Find balance and a routine that allows you to stay healthy and rested during these grueling few years. My friends and I had a standing Friday night date at the Chili’s in Worcester, Massachusetts before spending the rest of the weekend in the library. This is the marathon of all marathons. Schedule regular periods of rest and fun.
3. Don’t be intimidated by the people around you. You are the best you there is and nobody else will even come close. You are surrounded by smart and capable people because you are also a smart and capable person. Imposter syndrome has come for us all at some point, but you deserve to be exactly where you are.
4. Don’t quit your hobbies and interests outside of medicine. They may need to take a temporary backseat to your many responsibilities as a medical student/trainee, but do not think that you have to give them up entirely forever. An identity outside of medicine gives you freedom within medicine. Keep doing the things that make you feel alive. University of Massachusetts Medical School Class of 2011 Oath Ceremony
5. Pick a specialty that interests and excites you. Does the medicine, science, and patient population fascinate and excite you? Do that. I was told “Don’t go into pediatrics. You won’t make any money.” My classmates were told, “Don’t go into surgery. You won’t have a life.” Historically, both of those statements may have held some truth, but we are changing
medicine one physician at a time. Healthcare systems relies entirely on physician labor and we have every right to demand to work on our own terms and create humane and flexible careers that allow for salary negotiation and fair compensation. If we don’t fight for these basic rights for our profession, who will?
6. You deserve to learn the money and business of medicine. Medical education is egregiously negligent in teaching students about the money and business of medicine, particularly who runs hospitals, how patient care is directly influenced by corporate decisions, and who ultimately manages healthcare. We are not taught how U.S. health insurance works or even how physicians are exposed and protected by malpractice insurance. Knowing these aspects of healthcare are vitally important to your career and future as a physician. **If you are currently a medical student, consider rallying your classmates, scheduling a meeting with your Dean, and respectfully requesting that your curriculum be expanded to give you comprehensive exposure to these topics before graduation.
7. Stay curious. Question convention and don’t accept “that’s just the way it is” as an answer to anything. Just because things have been done one way for generations does not mean it is the best or the only way. We are learning how to Doctor in new and different ways every day. Physicians deserve freedom, autonomy, and flexibility in their lives and careers.