A pre-med definitely has a lot on their plate. They must remember to keep up their grades, take the MCAT, fulfill specific course requirements, conduct research, have clinical experience, volunteer, shadow, obtain letters of recommendation, write numerous essays, and find a way to distinguish themselves from other medical school applicants. A common saying is “if your friend declares pre-med, you will not be seeing much of them anymore.” This is referring to the fact that pre-meds are usually running around with no time for their health or social life.
However, the whole idea that pre-meds are too busy for anything but pre-med is a misconception. While certainly some pre-meds do fall into this category, it doesn’t have to be like that, and it certainly isn’t like that for the successful pre-meds.
Simply put, if a pre-med doesn’t have time for sleep, social life, or staying healthy, there is some category in their life that needs improvement. Below, I have listed some common problems.
Poor learning skills (aka memorization tools, note-taking, etc)
Inability to manage time effectively
Studying for tests at the last minute
Putting too much on their plate at one time
Not planning out their 4 years of pre-med
Overvaluing non-essential things (depends on the individual)
Doing less valuable pre-med activities
While I know this has been incredibly blunt, I strongly believe we must acknowledge our deficiencies so that tomorrow can be easier and better. Honestly, addressing each of these areas could take a whole blog post, but the course offers a crash course for studying and planning out your 4 years with the course’s information will help address the other areas.
For me personally, what I have found to be a good work/life balance is the following: 50% pre-med activities, 25% daily life activities (eating, sleep, laundry, etc), and 25% your choice. That last 25% is where the social life and fun component of being a college student comes into play.
Another reason to consider valuing a social life (aside from its intrinsic value) is because it will boost your medical school application. The first reason is that a social life means friends which means social skills. Being able to talk to another human being about something that is not pre-med is going to be pivotal for your interviews. And, nothing turns off a school more than a pre-med robot, who can’t socialize.
Furthermore, sometimes, the component that sticks out to an admissions committee is the activity that has nothing to do with pre-med. For example, during my college career, I took up an interest in philosophy and sociology. It had nothing to do with my major or any of my pre-med activities. But, I would say at least 30-40% of what I have talked about in interviews and essays has been about the activities I did related to this interest.
Pre-Med ≠ No Life