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Medical students: Don’t take the easy way

Dear fellow students,

I am addressing you today as a comrade, a peer, as someone who shares your concerns and understands the pressure and stress you experience in medical school. It is true that medical schools attract very similar kind of people: Medical students are smart, hard-working individuals who are striving for excellence and achievements. They want to help the sick, the poor and the needy and cultivate a sustainable change that is rooted in a deep intrinsic motivation, for a better future to all people. It all sounds positive and beautiful until students begin to feel the pressure imposed by the hectic schedule in medical school, the endless nights of studying, the exams, the projects and the burnout.

As days pass by, each student begins to see his peer as a threat to his/her place on the honor list, a threat to his/her chances of matching into a better residency program or to a competitive residency spot. Competition, fueled by burnout, begins to dismantle the bonds among students to the point that it becomes every person for himself/herself. As the insecurities grow, students will care about preventing others from outperforming them, instead of caring about working harder and improving themselves. They will seek any easy way out provided it will put them ahead of others, and they will progressively forget the essence of the medical profession and why they chose this path in the first place: Medical school will appear more like a battleground where the “survival of the fittest” rule prevails.

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