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20 Things I wish I knew before medical school

1. You don't need to start 100% over to figure out how you learn, but you will be re-learning how to best learn. The level and amount of material and the expectations you are expected to meet will guarantee this.

2. You can buy cheaper equipment that still serves its purpose - besides your stethoscope, invest in a good one - then sell your equipment because you won't use them again. Hospitals and clinics have their own.

3. You could change your mind about what you want to do - be open to that. Continue chasing opportunities you're passionate about, and you'll end up exactly where you are meant to be.

4. You'll want to quit. More than once. And not just because it's hard - because it's a broken system within an environment you can't fix.

5. Your identity is not tied to what you do for a career, or test scores - but your aspirations, passion, and drive are a part of who you are, and that will always shine through.

6. There's a 50% chance that you will be in the lower 50% of your class. Just logical - you are now learning with the best of the best. But surrounding yourself with these people will make you better. Learn to sometimes appreciate the struggle for greatness.

7. Invest in a financial advisor and budget, budget, budget. Don't take out all of the loans available, if possible.

8. Make plans to travel whenever you can. Jobs and research will be there when you get back - travel. 

9. Find a mentor early, and better yet - find a few. Different people have different perspectives and information is your most useful tool. 

10. Attend conferences in what you're interested in - not only is this easier to do when you can get the time off from classes and study on your own, but you can network / get exposure / figure out if that's really what you want.

11. It's okay to not want medicine anymore. It's okay to re-evaluate.

12. There are tons of career opportunities for someone with a biology degree. There are also other options besides clinical medicine for a physician - research, consulting, and teaching. 

13. Unless you have a scholarship or your parents are rich, what you owe in loans will be astronomical and the dollar amount will be unfathomable. Focus on what matters right now, and figure it out later. Everyone gets through it.

14. On that note, most doctors don't live the cush life. The amount of hours they work alone makes up for whatever exorbitant number you see - and keep in mind, we gave up at least 11-15 years of our lives to dedicate to others' lives. Those are years and years of times I had to say no, I'm sorry I can't come to your wedding because I'm not allowed time off. No, I can't be there at my nephew's birth because I am across the country trying out for a residency program working 100+ hours a week. No, I only have 15 days off a year including sick days, and they can't be all at the same time. 

15. You will feel like you know nothing, yet be amazed by how much you've learned.

16. You might feel like an imposter, like they let you into medical school on accident. This is normal.

17. In your third and fourth years, there will be more resources than you can keep track of - take advice but ultimately know that it's personal, and you need to find something that works for you.

18. Those in the years ahead of you are key to figuring out how to navigate from where you are to where you want to be in medicine.

19. "Medicine is a type of hierarchy, a system of control that sometimes it overpowers common sense." -This is truth.

20. When you're tired, learn to rest, not to quit.

Drink coffee, be a boss, and build an empire.

Drink coffee, be a boss, and build an empire.

The end of the beginning.

The end of the beginning.