Sunday, June 6, 2010

How Did This All Start?

Successfully navigating your way into medical school, and then successfully completing medical school takes a lot of grit, resolve, and determination, and also a little bit of good luck. One of my best friends used to tell me, "Good luck favors the well prepared." That statement really sums up the plan and approach to applying to -- and succeeding in medical school.

One of the key things I quickly realized throughout the entire process for me was that other people had a tendency to be very insincere and disingenuous. This appeared to be true at every phase of the process. When applying to medical school, I would engage many of my fellow applicants in conversation. They would say that their MCAT scores were higher than what they actually were, or that they were just applying to only a few schools, when they had in fact widely applied to many schools. Once I was in medical school, my fellow students would downplay how much they studied. They would see me studying and then say, "Oh, what are you doing that for? The exam's still three weeks away." Meanwhile, while they were convincing you to let down your guard, lulling you into a false sense of comfort, they were studying diligently the entire time. When the exam would roll around, they would get their high score, and then shrug their shoulders as if to say, "Aah shucks. I must've just gotten lucky."

I soon realized that good luck does indeed favor the well prepared. For those of you with aspirations of medical school, you must prepare diligently, and there are in fact things that you can do to drastically increase your chances of getting into medical school.

My path to becoming a physician was not a direct pathway. My parents taught me at home until the completion of high school. I then attended Oklahoma City University, a small liberal arts university, where I majored in Biology and Piano Performance. I eventually obtained my B.S. in Biology, and then found my way to Saint Louis University School Of Medicine.

Things at Saint Louis University were very interesting, to say the least. I strongly believe that the best thing about the medical school was the quality of the students that they selected to attend. Many of them remain friends to this day. Nonetheless, medical school was demanding and it was quite an adjustment from my undergraduate days.

I still remember participating in my first surgery on the neurosurgical service. Seeing that alive brain, pulsating in the operative field, made an indelible impact upon me, so much so that I resolved even more that neurosurgery was the field for me.

Today, I'm a 6th year neurosurgery resident at the University Of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. And what's more, I have no regrets about the choice I made.

With this blog, I want to use the benefit of my experience to help you achieve your dreams of attending medical school. I will be posting surveys with possible blog topics, and you can then vote on which topic you would like for me to blog.

Pick up a hardcover copy of my book. It has a lot of valuable information, including a lot of funny stories. It is a very entertaining read. Then you can interface with me through this site and ask questions to which you have always desired real and honest answers. To how many schools should you apply? Is your list of schools appropriate to your MCAT score? Which residency should you choose? Are you competitive enough for a particular residency? What should you do if you don't think that you are competitive enough? These are all questions to which obtaining true and honest answers is difficult. I'll give you the honest answers.

This site is a forum for readers to discuss my book, as well as share your own experiences in applying and traveling through medical school.

Stephen E. Griffith, M.D.

1 comment:

ciera said...

Well put. I am so grateful for this valuable advice. As a Pre-P.A. student, I find myself so willing to throw in the towel. I'm excited about reading your book.