Resilience: Medical students’ advice for premeds

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When medical students are asked to share their advice for premed students, there is a common theme among their responses: resilience.

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Rebecca M. Lynch, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, 2021

“There’s a stereotype that medical students have perfect grades, perfect MCAT scores, amazing research, volunteer-work, etc., but no one expects you to be perfect. Full disclosure: I got straight C’s in general chemistry my freshman year of college, but I was able to come back from that. I was more successful in organic chemistry than general chemistry. I did research, worked as a scribe, and at the end of the day, my application showed a real commitment to science and the medical field. Don’t give up on your dream just because people say it’s a long road – nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”

Read Rebecca’s story

Andy Chen, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, 2020

“My advice to prospective applicants is to keep on fighting. As someone who took the MCAT seven times, whose medical school application was rejected 129 times before finally earning an acceptance, I know firsthand how hard the road is to become a doctor. But through the difficult and frustrating times, I ask candidates to have faith in themselves. Perseverance and grit speak to an applicant’s suitability to practice medicine just as much as a high MCAT score and GPA, and in the end, with hard work and dedication, procuring an acceptance to medical school will be just a matter of time.”

Read Andy’s story

Leslie Pensa, University of Alabama School of Medicine, 2019

“Never be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s meeting with a professor to go over a concept you don’t fully understand, seeking mental health counseling during a rough season of life, or just admitting your imperfections to yourself and others so you have a network of support — don’t let pride or fear stand between you and the support you need. It’s much easier to reach out before a larger problem arises rather than having to explain yourself afterwards when something derails.”

Read Leslie’s story

Kendrick Williams, University of Michigan Medical School, 2020

“Failure is inevitable, success is not. Failure only becomes permanent when you give up and you will only achieve success by persevering after failure.”

Read Kendrick’s story

You can read more advice from medical students and residents to premeds in AAMC’s Inspiring Stories.

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