This post came from a conversation that I had with somebody not in medical school that really wanted to ask one important question. “Why are medical students and premed stressed out all the time?” And it’s a really fair question if you’re not in the medical environment.
After talking to this person for awhile, I came away with one thing that stresses medical students and premeds more than anything.
What is that one thing that causes stress in medical school?
We love comparing ourselves with our classmates.
Let’s be honest, we all do it – consciously and unconsciously. In this post, we’re going to have a heart to heart on how to overcome this.
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Why are Med Students Stressed?
I hope that you’re nodding saying, “You know what? Med students are always stressed!”
And I hope you also agree that comparing ourselves with others has something to do with that!
We have to ask ourselves, why do we compare ourselves to our classmates so much?
It’s because we’re used to being high achieving individuals. Look back at grade school, you were probably the all A student. This is where it all started!
You may think to yourself, “I didn’t really compare myself to that many people back then.”
That’s probably because you were the person that everybody else was comparing themselves . You were the one achieving the great grades and doing well outside of school
Reality Hits Us:
As you go through your medical journey, as you go through your academic journey, you’re going to continually find yourself around smarter and smarter individuals.
Your own level is going to become more and more average just because everybody around you is also very brilliant and talented.
When you’re in college, for instance, you’ll notice yourself starting to look around and noticing something scary. There are people just as smart if not smarter than you!
That’s when we start getting on this compare bandwagon.
Honestly, we don’t care what other people are doing.
This is why smart people around us scares us. We ask ourselves, does their success impede mine?
You may find your friend does really well on their MCAT, but you may not do as well. The same will happen in medical school. You start asking yourself, does their success represent that my success is no longer obtainable?
You suddenly start seeing doors of opportunities close.
You Don’t Have To Be Stressed in Medical School:
I hope you realize that your doors are perfectly still open. Your success is not dependent on others.
All of your doors of are open until you start closing them mentally.
If we’re going to continue on this metaphorical doors of opportunity, the one important thing that you can do to calm down is to understand this. Stop worrying about the doors that are closing or appear to close. Instead, worry about all the doors that are still open for you guys.
There is so much room for success that you can take if you stop worrying about everything that seems like it’s not working out. Instead, focus on all the opportunities and options you have to continue to succeed.
You’ve been an example of continued success to this point. You’re considering medicine because you’ve worked hard and done well for yourself.
Don’t change your approach because of fear now!
So again, focus on all the doors that are still open and not the doors that look like they’re closing.
Remember Your Real Competition In Medical School:
The second thing that’s really important is to realize that it’s you versus you.
More importantly, it’s you yesterday versus you today.
You need to be better today than you were yesterday. You need to be better next week than you were this week.
If you can do that for a majority of the week, if you can do that four out of the seven days, you are going to kill it in life.
But that mindset doesn’t come around if you’re continually bothered by how well somebody else around you is progressing.
So don’t worry about the person on your medical school interview that sat in that chair in front of you or is going to sit in that chair after you.
It is just about you being able to sell yourself, being able to progress, and being able to get better.
Do this and you’re just going to kill it in life.
No More Stress in Medical School:
So understand two things.
– Your doors of opportunity are always open.
– Your only competition is who you were yesterday.
This approach has helped me a ton. I’m about to be in my fourth year of medical school and I still haven’t felt burnt out. I’m not dreading the process or regretting the process.
I don’t feel that because I don’t really care about how well my classmates are doing. I wish the best for them and I’m going to continue to grow myself.
So one more time, look for all the opportunities that are still open. Keep going towards them and the only person you have to be better than is the person in the mirror that you see every morning,
I hoped this helped just one of you reading this. If so it was worth writing it!
Be sure to check out our other highly recommended posts.
Regaining Motivation in Medical School
Studying in Medical School No More Than 5 Hours A Day
Top 7 Tips For Third Year Of Med School (How To Do Well)
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Loss the stress in medical school friends!
I’ll see you in the next post!
Until next time…