Andy Liang, opinion editor of The Tech, a newspaper at MIT, recently wrote about stereotypes that premed students at his school face. The article can be found here. He writes that there are 2 types of premed students at his school: those who are relentlessly competitive and those who realize they are imperfect but challenge themselves to do their best.
He writes that too often premeds fall under the competitive category. They will work tirelessly to get a perfect GPA and cry after exams when they realize they might not have scored high enough to get an A. Some will even go so far as to safeguard their notes and shun other students, believing that helping others will somehow ruin a curve and hurt their own grades.
However, as Liang writes, many medical schools are doing everything they can to combat this type of attitude amongst their medical students. Instead of having students compete, they are encouraging collaboration. This is evidenced by the recent moves of many schools away from traditional grading systems and instead using Pass/Fail. In addition, many medical schools are no longer ranking their students and have even put systems in place to make it easier for classmates to share notes.
There are premed students who already think with this mindset. They are more than willing to form study groups and share notes. They look at difficult courses as a challenge that can only be overcome with collaboration. They have a positive personality and a genuine interest in working hard to help others. These are the types of students many medical schools want. The students who can work effectively in teams, who can help their classmates to succeed and who make everyone around them better. Unfortunately, these students seem to be the minority among premeds.
Which type of student are you? What can we do to break the ultra competitive mentality of many premeds? How can we encourage collaboration and a welcoming environment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!