Below is the ultimate reference guide on how to survive medical school. Some of the topics include applying to med school, studying for Step 1, long-distance relationships, and applying into competitive specialties (like dermatology) as a reapplicant. I will update this page frequently so check back often!
I picked MD over PA/NP because of the autonomy. PA/NPs can do a lot now, but the scope of their practice varies state-to-state and still requires physician oversight.
Stress, motivation, work/life balance
When we start to lose sight of our goal, we have to ask ourselves, why do we feel this way in the first place? Oftentimes, it’s because we feel like we’re going to fail and would rather give up than face disappointment. When I felt overwhelmed, it was usually about things beyond my control. (What if I fail this test? What if I can’t get honors? What if I don’t match into residency?) So instead, I would try to focus on the task in front of me. (Memorize DNA synthesis. Update my CV. Email some professors.)
It’s okay to wander aimlessly in the dark for a bit. Just take each step one day at a time.
Epocrates (iOS or Android): Good for looking up drug interactions on-the-fly.
UWorld (iOS or Android): Must-have for shelf exams.
VisualDx (iOS or Android): Great for derm! Huge photo database to help you identify and generate a differential for skin pathology.
Read by QxMD (iOS or Android): Unlock full-text PDFs of journal articles!
Applying to *dermatology* residency
Also, dermatology has such a bright future ahead, especially with all of the breakthroughs in immunology making headway. Given the amount of research and $$$ pouring into drug development right now, we may soon cure diseases that were once thought to be chronic and lifelong.
1st year: Try to secure a summer research fellowship in the field you’re interested in. Introduce yourself to your home department and start some easy research projects. Join your specialty interest group.
2nd year: Do well on the Step 1 exam! Continue/start research. Maybe join the board of your specialty interest group.
3rd year: Focus on doing well on clerkships. Continue with research if you can. Meet with the program director to strategize a plan. Figure out if you want to take a research year.
4th year: Take Step 2 CK/CS. Apply to away rotations, submit ERAS, and go on your interviews! See more details below.
Pros: You’ll get the opportunity to secure a letter of rec from an away rotation.
Cons: These are the most popular rotation months and you’ll likely be rotating with very strong candidates. It’ll be harder to stand out. If you don’t need a letter, I’d advise rotating later in the year.
Pros: You’ll be fresh in everyone’s minds when they’re considering applicants for interview invites. There will also be less rotators so you’ll get more one-on-one time with the department.
Cons: It’s super awkward to rotate someplace that denies you an interview invite WHILE YOU ARE THERE (this happens).
Interview season (December-February)
Pros: You’ll be fresh in everyone’s mind when they’re RANKING YOU. If you make a great impression, this can be a great opportunity to jump up the rank list.
Cons: You’ll be interviewing at the same time and will be missing days.