Monday 17 June 2013


Where can you learn how to drink like a professional, party your ass off and sleep until 2 PM, figure out how to stuff all your classes from Tuesday through Thursday so you have a 4-day weekend every week, make a ton of new friends, run naked through the streets, eat like a starving wild animal, learn how to be an adult while still acting like a horny, hormone-infused teenager, sleep with anything that moves, and still have summers off?

Didn't you read the title? Why, college of course! 

Oh, and I guess you can get an actual education while you're there, too.  I sort of forgot about that.

I've had several readers ask me to give them suggestions on what to do at university to maximise their chances of getting into medical school.  Classes to take, extracurricular activities to do, what to major in, etc.  Ok, get your #2 pencils ready.  No seriously, write this down.  This is valuable stuff.

1) My best advice to everyone considering medical school is do not, under any circumstances, major in a hard science.  "WHAT???  ALL PRE-MEDS MAJOR IN BIOLOGY!  HOW CAN I NOT MAJOR IN BIOLOGY?" I hear you all screaming now. 

Now pipe down and listen before you start yelling at me.  Face it, you're going to have to take biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics anyway.  So why burden your course load with more useless biology classes just because everyone else does?  Those classes will not help you get into medical school, nor will they help you once you're in.  At all.  I didn't remember a shred of organic chemistry once I was in medical school.

Plus (and thanks for already making this next point for me), almost all pre-meds major in biology, and medical school admissions officers don't want yet another biology major robot.  They want to see a well-rounded individual who didn't just take science courses.  So take psychology.  Take art history, music, archaeology, philosophy, literature, economics, political science...universities offer so many diverse courses in so many diverse subjects, it would be a travesty to go through four years without taking advantage of them.  Hell, I've heard of colleges offering courses on the history of surfing and Harry Potter!  (That's two separate courses, by the way...Harry Potter wasn't much of a surfer, as far as I know.)

2) My next piece of invaluable advice is to study.  DUH.  Seriously, do you really need me to remind you of this?  YES YOU DO. Sure, college is supposed to be fun.  But you're there to learn, and I don't mean learn how to drink beer while standing on your head.  So stop being lazy, wake up before noon, and study your ass off.  You only get one shot at this, so don't blow it.

3) Destroy your core science classes.  Medical schools look at these grades first, and they look at them hardest.  While they may be interested that you took it, they don't really give a flying fuck if you aced Ancient Russian Literature.  They do, however, want to see A's in biology, chemistry, and physics.

4) Do something that sets you apart from the other lemmings. 

"I know, I'll volunteer at a hospital!" 

BOOOORING!!  EVERYONE is going to be volunteering at a hospital, so be unique. Do something different.  I don't mean volunteering at a strip club...don't be that different.  For example, I read textbooks-onto-tape for blind students and I volunteered at a free clinic for the homeless.  Not only was it different, it was a great conversation starter.  Everyone is unique - so be uniquer.  Yes, that's a word.  Ok it isn't, but you get the point. 

5) Be damned sure you want to go into medicine.  This isn't a whim that you can change mid-stream - it's a lifelong endeavor.  A career as a doctor is a commitment to continuing improvement, constant education, repeated sacrifices, and the ultimate in satisfaction.  Even though my hours are long, I get to go home at the end of the day and say, "I saved a life today."  And that's pretty damned cool.

Even if you follow all this advice, I obviously can't guarantee you admittance, but this should definitely increase your chances.  Now for all you who have asked about this, I'm not sure how you think I became your mentor, but in case you need a letter of recommendation, I'd high suggest choosing someone else.  I'm fairly certain that admissions officers will not be impressed with a recommendation from "Doctor Bastard".


  1. I think a rec letter from "Doctor Bastard" would be a good shot at being "unique". And I still do not understand the whole "do not major in a hard science". I know it is not required from a medical school to major in Pre Med biology right off the bat, but why would you not recommend it (in further detail)?

  2. Doc, I stumbled upon your blog via FML as I was taking a break from studying for my first gross exam. Being the end of the 3rd day of straight up studying, my attention span is almost as bad as a severe case of ADHD.
    Anywhoo, just wanted to say that your blog is highly entertaining and awesome for learning more about our (crazy) world vicariously.
    Wish you safety and sanity amongst all the crazies :)

    For any pre-med readers: in concurrence with #2, STUDY. You think a 20hr load in undergrad is bad? Wait till med school :D
    Also, I highly advise paying a LOT of attention to the anatomy class(es) you (may be required to)take. Trust me, it will make your life a fuckton easier when you take gross anatomy. I wish I headed my own advice...

  3. Just wondering, is this advice also applicable to would-be medical scientist (I majored in Neuroscience but need to do a bachelor again as my newest marks are from 2008)?

    1. I honestly don't know. That's a bit outside my area of expertise.

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