Medical school can seem a little mysterious. Meaning that those who don’t have a personal connection themselves may feel like it’s a closed-door society. Kind of like Fight Club. I even feel that way a bit. So when people find out that I’m married to a med student, I generally receive a flurry of questions.
“Your husband is in med school? Where does he go? Wow, he goes there?! My daughter wants to go to med school and would really like to go there! What are the MCATs like? How did he score on his MCATs? How is the school-life balance? Should she take a few years off in-between? She has X GPA, does she stand a chance of getting accepted? She got a X score on her MCAT practice test. Should she take an MCAT prep course? I’ve read a lot about med school depression and suicide rates. Has your husband had any problems with depression? What is that crazy residency match process all about? How long does it take from start to finish?”
First of all, some of those questions are extremely personal. Second, I’m not even a student, I’m just legally bound to one. I’m happy to answer whatever questions I can, with my limited knowledge-base. However, one thing that’s become more clear to me is that there aren’t many hard and fast answers. Heck, how long you are a resident depends on your speciality, so there isn’t even a set answer for the amount of time it takes. Also, we haven’t lived it fully yet, so we don’t even know what to expect in each step. But, alternately, I can’t really blame people for the onset of invasive questions. Unless you know from personal experience, the whole “becoming a doctor” thing is confusing and intriguing, I would argue largely to the glamorization of such on TV.
Confidentiality certainly plays a role in the hush-hush nature of some medical school information. Med students can’t openly talk about their standardized patients or specific details of what they encounter on rounds. Also, medical school is competitive between the students themselves and between different medical schools, so the willingness to disclose details may be limited. But hopefully now in the Information Age, there will be a bit more transparency through med student blogs and writers such as Dr. Pauline Chen and others at The New York Times.
Maybe a fight club would be a good stress reliever for students? And if it gets rough, you likely can get a reference to a good plastic surgeon:)