We have all been there before– not sure about a certain part of the medical school process and unsure where to turn. We Google things like, “Will my GPA get me into medical school?” and “What MCAT is good?” We are instantly inundated with message boards, blog posts to help answer our questions.
The online communities such as Reddit and Student Doctor Network can serve as useful resources for providing insight into all things pre-Med, medical school, residency and the various professions that follow. The threads on Reddit are like treasure troves of personal anecdotes for med student success stories, pre-med life hacks, MCAT study strategies and of course the camaraderie that exists between those committed to working in healthcare. As with everything, these resources need to be taken with a grain of salt. The following are the dos and don’ts of online message boards:
- Get general information: How did people study for MCAT, Step 1, etc. Questions like that are great for these formats because you can get a wide variety of answers to see how everyone approached the same hurdle.
- Get due dates, interview dates, and acceptance offer statuses: For specific medical schools, people will post when interview invitations and acceptance offers are sent out and waitlist information. If you are applying this can be helpful to give you an idea during the application cycle which can be a daunting and confusing endeavor.
- Bask in the memes: Medical students can be a hilarious group. Memes are a fantastic way to relax and get a good laugh.
- Use them for specific questions: “I have an X GPA, X MCAT score. Will I get into X medical school?” This is a very tempting thing to post. While the people that respond to these might have some experience behind them, ultimately they can only postulate. They are not on an admissions committee and they do not get the whole picture of your application from these posts.
- Use them to compare: There are some incredibly accomplished people out there and they go into medicine. They have had so many opportunities to get involved, but that does not mean your experience is subpar. Do what you can do and that is all you need to worry about.
- Get cynical about medicine: This is a hard field through and through. It is difficult to get into, difficult to get through, and difficult to practice. However, we all have collectively decided that the positive outweighs the negative. Sometimes the negative can swell up and unfortunately, some people use this form to vent their frustrations. Reading several negative posts in a row can taint your view of this career. Ultimately, these people are just frustrated and still love their job overall.