One of my best friends who I’ve known since elementary just graduated from undergrad and is starting medical school this fall. Over the last four years, his experiences in college can be summed up nothing short of a nightmare. We’ve talked several times about the people he is surrounded by – unmotivated, lackadaisical about their futures, and partying all the time to get away from productivity.
I assured him that he’ll be blown away by medical school’s social atmosphere, but at the same time remarked on the fact that there are some annoying social habits carried over from the days of high school.
First of all, everyone is incredibly smart in their respective ways. Each person seems to have a “niche” in the class, and when these roles are appropriately filled, the students benefit tremendously. For example, true to my brown heritage, I made a lot of new friends by playing the role of “tech support” in the first month. 😉 It’s not feasible to make friends with ~200 people in one shot, so what you find are a lot of “friend circles” emerging after the first few months. Most schools do a great job in trying to expose you to different members of your class in small-group settings, but in the end, it’s still a challenge. In fact, I still don’t know several of my own classmates by name (and the first year of school is almost complete).
Starting medical school is similar to starting undergrad in that you are essentially a blank slate in the eyes of your classmates. As bad as it sounds, you can leave the rest of your life behind and take on a new role. Were you the partying type in undergrad? Labeled as the socially awkward kid who studied all day? Maybe another combination of traits you’re not so proud of in retrospect? Well here’s your chance to change all of that, but it’s up to you to take the initiative. Start off with enthusiasm in getting to know other people. It’s amazing how much people in your class have to offer.
So what about those annoyances I referred to earlier? Well there’s one that comes to mind – gossip. And ladies, I’m don’t mean to call you out, but you all are way more guilty of this. It’s kind of amusing to analyze interactions as a third-party. I may find two people pleasant to talk to, but behind closed doors, these two people hate each other. I end up becoming the neutral bystander. The funny thing is you don’t know about these grudges at face value. Ah, the days of high school. *insert not-so-desirable nostalgia here* 😛
In conclusion, medical school is another stepping stone for your social development. You have another chance to develop a new persona, leave a good impression on others, and find life long friends who share similar interests. You’ll end up cracking “med jokes” with each other, laughing hysterically, and eliciting the perplexed stares of non-classmates. You’ll end up studying together, partying together, and maturing together.
It’s a great opportunity, indeed. 🙂