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11 Biggest Regrets From Medical School [And Beyond]

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In today’s edition of The Modern White Coat – I wanted to shine some line on my biggest regrets throughout the journey.

Hopefully, you can use the following regrets as lessons for yourself!

(And don’t forget you can access all my favorite lessons and strategies here!)

#1 – Grades Are Not The Entire Solution 

It’s true that grades do matter in the medical journey. They essentially are a big part of the next application phase you may go through.

But they’re not the entire story. 

If you focus just on grades a few things will likey happen: 

  • You may do well, but then again so will a lot of others. And you will look similar on paper to everyone else
  • You will have bumps despite your best effort but don’t have any other “eggs in other baskets”. 

So ask instead how good of a story you’re creating for yourself? 

Are you pursuing experiences because they interest you? Are you working hard to learn and improve? 

If your grades are not where they should be – are you making steps to identifying the problems? 

(If you need help with your study system – we share our simple 3-step process here.)

#2 – Not Storing The Pearls 

I will be honest – I’ve learned a lot in my medical journey. I’ve also unfortunately forgotten more than I’ve liked. 

The biggest sense of loss comes from failing to jot down those amazing pearls, anlogogies, connections, etc. that I learned from peers, trainees, and attendings. 

I wish I kept a database of “pearls” I could easily refer back to and quickly remember. 

But I didn’t. I convinced myself that it made sense in the moment and thus will always be the case. 

Not true. 

In fact – I at times feel insecure knowing that I should know something – but because I failed to store that past-made connection – I’m back near square one. 

So don’t be like me – try using a digital database to store your lessons, pearls, and connections overtime. 

(We even share our Notion Dashboard here to make it super easy for you!) 

#3 – Status Quo Effort 

This is one of my biggest regrets. We are all guilty of this. 

Over time we all become comfortable with putting in enough effort to get the results we’re happy with. 

But over time that leads to plateaus over the course of weeks, months, and years. 

In hindsight, the medical journey has made me realize that we all have our own level of average. 

And instead of pushing to new personal levels – we often get too comfortable at good enough. 

I know I’d be much further in the journey if I continued to try to improve at each phase. 

So ask yourself – are you pushing past your personal average? 

#4 – Not Making Enough Mistakes 

This is a big one among med students. 

We are all too afraid to make mistakes and look silly. In reality – no one is paying enough attention to remember. 

But on the flipside, every mistake makes remember the right step/info in the future a lot easier. 

So be okay giving answers although not fully confident. Learn quicker with the benefit of the feedback that comes with making mistakes. 

#5 – Ask More Questions 

Similar to making mistakes – often we are too reserved to ask questions. Usually, this is because we think something should make sense, convince ourselves it does, or are too afraid to ask for clarification. 

Just like mistakes, use the feedback of connections others have made to speed up your learning and progress. 

#6 – Used The Small Time Better

There’s nothing wrong with intermittent binges of social media and TV – but overtime it becomes a lot. 

Take a step back and ask how you can better use your time on your commute, lull periods in between lectures, evenings, and weekends. 

Not every second has to be productive – but giving it some thought allows you to understand that doom scrolling through social media shouldn’t always be the go-to. 

#7 – Realize That Less Is More 

Despite how many resources there are for medical school, boards, and the rest of the journey – they are all more or less the same. 

With enough repetition – any resource can be useful to helping you master a topic. 

So stop asking “which resources” you need. Instead, ask which 1-2 resources can you add to your study system (here’s how I would have studied btw) to get the best results. 

#8 – Consistent Outside Care 

Don’t be a 24/7 student. 

Understand it’s important to take care of yourself in all aspects of your life. 

Move your body. Eat well. Get enough sleep (as often as possible). 

Remember that this will be your future occupation – but doesn’t have to be your entire live. 

#9 – Build Stronger Bonds 

Your peers are going through the same battles as you are. Lean on them but also work on building those bonds which can turn into lifelong friendships. 

Go out for meals. Have game nights. Play sports together. 

Anything but complaining (I mean chit-chatting) about school. 

These were some of my favorite parts of medical school – and I wish I had done it more. 

#10 – Get Deep With Lifestyle 

It seems taboo to think about having the best life in your future. 

Thus it’s unfortunately discouraged to ask questions about lifestyle, compensation, and job description for certain careers. 

But I encourage you – ask away. 

The first step is to truly be interested in the field. So don’t pick dermatology just because they get paid well and have a better weekly schedule. You’ll be miserable. 

But if you’re considering between a few fields – ask mentors and attendings about their lives. How often do they take call? How often do they have time off? How often do they travel, see their kids, family, etc? 

These are all important. Just ask them with the right intention and it’ll serve you well!

#11 – Protected Time 

Find time that is meant to enjoy the other aspects of your life. 

If you enjoy running, sign up for races while in school. Plan out your training schedule around school. 

If you enjoy music, being a foodie, movies, dance, sports – set time aside specifically for those hobbies. 

You’ll feel more whole and enjoy the process a lot more! 

Hope you enjoyed this breakdown of my biggest lessons and regrets during the medical journey!

If you want more – make sure to check out the other editions of the newsletter for free here!

And be sure to subscribe to our email list to join thousands of other students who receive our best step-by-step tips and strategies to succeed on the medical journey with less stress!

Until next time my friend! 

Hopefully we were a little help to you on your journey today. Thanks for being part of ours.

Until next time my friend…

Lakshya Trivedi, M.D. TheMDJourney.com

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Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Med School Handbook:  Join thousands of other students who have taken advantage of the hundreds of FREE tips & strategies I wish I were given on the first day of medical school to crush it with less stress. 

2. The Med School BlueprintJoin the hundreds of students who have used our A-Z blueprint and playbook for EVERY phase of the medical journey so you can start to see grades like these. 

3. Med Ignite Study ProgramGet personalized help to create the perfect study system for yourself so you can see better grades ASAP on your medical journey & see results like these. 

4. Learn the one study strategy that saved my grades in medical school here (viewed by more than a million students like you). 

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