Wanna be best friends?

The single most important thing you need in medical school is not the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (although I highly recommend it).

It is not an unlimited account at Officeworks.

It is not the brain of a ninja mensa prodigy child.


The single most important thing you need in medical school is friends.

If I could urge new med students to do one thing, it would be to make friends with as many people as you can. Get your nice face on. Go to every social occasion, party, drinks after pbl. Channel Jim Carrey in that B-Grade movie that I never saw but could get the entire synopsis by watching the trailer – “Yes-Man”. Say yes to everything. Be NICE to everyone. Don’t write anyone off as weird or creepy, or boring. They’re probably just shy, or tired or on drugs or poorly socialised as a child and kept in a box under the stairs. That doesn’t mean they can’t be your friend right? EVERYONE is going to be your friend.

Why? These people will save your life one day. They will send you an amazing flow chart. They will offer to explain blood pressure regulation. They will bake. My god, will they bake. They will swap notes with you even when yours are terrible. They will explain things in anatomy through song. They will forge your name when miss sign on for a compulsory class. They will go crazy with you during study week and think it’s perfectly normal when you walk into their study room, touch their arm and exclaim desperately  “I just need human contact”. They will kill themselves laughing at your ridiculous musculoskeletal exam and then teach you how to do it properly. They will silently place a hot chocolate in your library cubicle. They will go with you to exam feedback meetings and sternly argue your case. They will conspire to ‘acquire’ as many cannulas as possible to facilitate extracurricular learning. If they’re in the year above, they will give you all their notes, past exam papers and genuinely enquire how you’re doing with each block (and you will do the same to the year below you). They will make everything about this workload, this course, this shitload of note taking and struggling, easier. They will save your life.

And you will find yourself willing to jump off a bridge for them.

If you’re not sold on the warm and fuzzy angle consider;  mathematically, the more contacts you have, the larger your resource pool, the larger your board to bounce ideas off, the larger your support network and the larger your tequila-appreciation circle.  If you want to really step it up, get friendly with the staff. A friendly face as an OSCE marker can be enough to calm your heart rate so that you don’t kill the resus dummy.

Maybe it’s my perception of the culture  in our particular cohort. Maybe it’s the emphasis on our course being ‘non-competitive’.*  Maybe I’ve been reading too many “Buddha’s Tips for Life” pocket books and am slightly delirious at the end of an epic study week. Whatever the reason, I would like buy most people in our school a drink.**

I kind of love you.

*we don’t get given our marks, and are not competing against each other for glory, high ranking places or anything like that. It is US vs Medschool and we are eternally bound together by our incessant fight against admin.

**uh, and I totally would, except my funds from Julia Gillard et al are not quite sufficient right now. raincheck?


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6 Responses to “Wanna be best friends?”

  1. docboyblog Says:

    well i totally agree with you blondie, but you have expressed your view, being in a controlled environment of an US medical school, where all the people from genius gene pool, get to enter. but the problem is in medical schools outside US, the scenario is a bit different…trust me, the points which you included, like helping with ideas, is not valid everywhere, its really tough to make you understand, just don’t be mad at me, and if you have time go through my blog… BUT i would love to have you as a friend, (provided its ok with you )

  2. C Says:

    Haha I am actually in Australia. Our environment is less than ‘controlled’. It’s a method that the school has called “self-directly learning”. We have less lectures than normal, we don’t have texts reccomended by the school and we spend a lot of time in the library asking each other about how much depth to go into. Sometimes you overshoot and know way to much, and other times you undershoot…ugh! That may be why the vibe is very helpful.

    My course is a postgraduate one, which accepts anyone as long as they pass the GAMSAT so we have a varied cohort of mature age students who have worked for years, have kids, are married, and/or people who have no science background (myself included). We also have a lot of really on the ball recent biomed grads who are incredibly helpful.

    I’d be interested to know if your school releases marks? I think that has a lot to do with our ‘helpful’ vibe. We only get pass/fail, so we aren’t competing for anything, so pressure if off and people seem to just want to see everyone get through.

  3. jazziefizzle Says:

    Thanks for the words of advice! We have already had ‘med drinks’ and the course hasn’t even started yet 🙂

    I feel lucky to have my best friend starting along with me… but of course we hope to broaden our horizons a little so we aren’t ‘that weird couple with no friends’ haha.

    I already feel like I have had so much help from you and we haven’t even started yet, so looking forward to catching up on campus or for a vegan/veggo breakfast one weekend!

    Good luck in all your exams!

  4. oldmdgirl Says:

    I go for quality, rather than quantity with my friends, but that’s just me.

  5. bronze john Says:

    That is excellent – I took the liberty of linking to this post on my blog. If you want it delinked, that can be done.


    • C Says:

      Thank you John, how lovely 🙂 I enjoyed having a read of your blog – great profile info, although I must disagree with one point; I think Scrofula would be an excellent name!

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