Congratulations on your acceptance into a medical school in US! You now embark on an arduous lifelong journey full of obstacles, opportunities, risks, and rewards. It is normal to wonder about the future at this point, and you’ve probably been looking for insights into life at medical schools in the US ever since that much-awaited acceptance letter arrived. Those of you who need to have every detail planned beforehand may feel especially overwhelmed and under-prepared. Regardless of which category you fall in, USDoctors.co has got you covered. In this blog, we’ll be walking you through the most pertinent things you should remember before you set foot on campus and begin your journey as a medical student in earnest.
Things to Know About Medical School in US
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Medical school is not only tough, but it is also incredibly long; in fact, it is one of the lengthiest degrees you can aspire to achieve anywhere in the world! Many students that join medical school are used to breezing through their academic and other obligations while still having time left over for passion projects and socialization. Upon entering medical school, they quickly realize that the scope of work is far greater than expected, and the study material is seemingly infinite. In their attempts to get everything done, they overload themselves and burn out before the second year has even started.
It is of prime importance to acknowledge that medical school life rewards students with long-term studying strategies, and there is no way for you to do everything at once. It is normal to go through a significant learning curve as you adapt to the unique challenges.
- The Cream of the Crop
One thing that is universal to medical schools everywhere, and not just medical school in US, is that they house some of the brightest minds in the country. If you are in medical school you were most likely top of your class at your previous institution or thereabouts. Now consider a dynamic environment where the most exclusively top-ranking students from around the country have to socialize, compete, and collaborate, and you have a picture of what the student body of the average medical school looks like!
Take it as a cause for celebration rather than concern, however, since it means that you will have countless opportunities to interact with and learn from some truly amazing peers and maybe even go toe to toe with them. The reason for mentioning this is to remind you that there will always be individuals on campus doing seemingly impossible things, and it is best to acknowledge this beforehand rather than being suddenly hit by a full-blown inferiority complex. And that brings us to our next point.
- Imposter Syndrome is Alive and Well
It is perfectly normal to begin doubting your smarts after being surrounded by highly intelligent people all day. If you were always first in class, and now find yourself behind some of your peers in terms of academic performance then it may be important to remind yourself that this is also normal. After all, not everyone can be the best, and medical school in US is notorious for having impressive students. You need to understand that you can be incredibly smart and still be behind some students, as these are not mutually exclusive situations. If you feel your imposter syndrome creeping up, remember that everyone here, including yourself, was vetted through a rigorous admissions procedure, and as such, the chances that you don’t belong in medical school are virtually zero!
- Access to World-Class Resources
Something that takes some getting used to about medical school in USA for international students, in particular, is the sudden access to world-class resources. This is just a benefit of studying in one of the richest and most scientifically advanced countries in the world. This is not only limited to the technology that is available to help you develop your practical skills, but also includes access to teachers and books that are out of reach for many students. It is not out of the ordinary to have the privilege of attending talks delivered by world-renowned doctors, authors, and psychologists or even have them available on campus. US medical schools also boast a wealth of resources in their libraries, which give students like you an edge over students in other countries.
- Holistic Education
Following a global trend towards producing more rounded graduates, medical schools in the US are focusing more and more on providing courses outside the ‘standard’ medical curriculum. That is part of the reason why medical school in USA for international students is infinitely more appealing than domestic medical schools. You will receive an education that includes ethics, psychology, sociology, and many more such diverse fields as part of your medical degree. Students often enter medical school with a one-track mind, but medical school in US prepares you for a much more in-depth, interdisciplinary, and holistic education.
- Compete and Collaborate
Medical school in USA for international students is unique because it is equal parts competitive and collaborative, unlike medical schools in your home country that might lean more towards the competitive side. As mentioned previously, you will come across many smart people hence it is all too easy to start seeing each other solely as competitors. From the outset, know that there is a time to compete and a time to collaborate. While rehearsing for patient interactions or studying for exams, for example, you will most likely need to lean on your peers for help, so you should be mindful of developing positive relationships with them.
- Independence is the Order of the Day
Despite having access to world-class resources, you will find that much of medical education is about studying independently, so you must develop and maintain good study habits throughout medical school. Also, remember that study habits and strategies should evolve depending on the challenges faced, so monitor yours closely, and as soon as they stop giving you a worthwhile return, replace them with better ones.
- Purpose-built Campuses
Medical school in US is built to augment the student experience, so you need to know more than just where the academic block and library are located. Don’t just keep to your books all the time, and make sure that you go out and discover all that your campus has to offer. With all that brilliance dotting the campus, chances are you’ll find something that advances your personal goals as well as develops your personality.
In the end, if you’re ever confused about any aspect of medical school in US, just fire up your computer and go through the amazing resources available online, such as those on the USDoctors.co blog. We wish you good luck on your journey!