10 Things To Know As A Third-Year Medical Student

10 Things To Know

Don’t lie and say you want to specialize in your preceptor’s field if it’s not actually what you want to do.

I had no idea people even did this, but please don’t lie. It’s so, so far from genuine and if your preceptor finds out, it’s really disheartening.
If you’re worried they’ll think you’re not interested in the field, just tell them what you’re interested in, but assure them that you still want to learn, and if it’s applicable, that you’d be especially interested in the parts of their field that pertain to the one you’re interested in!

Think before you speak.

I shouldn’t need to explain this one.

Kindness goes a very, very long way.

Your patients will really appreciate it, as will the staff, and honestly, kindness just makes the world a better place. You can’t ever truly know what someone else is going through and what kinds of battles they might be fighting. Be nice.


Being a great listener + observer is key.

It’ll enable you to provide better care to your patients.

You will need to learn how to politely extract yourself from super-chatty patients.

…I can’t say more about this one because I still haven’t developed a tactic for it. But learn how to do this at some point!

Stay out of any/all drama.

It is not worth your time. Do not participate in any of the gossip. Word travels fast, and it can really only hurt you.

Subjective evaluations can be horribly unfair…but you can’t have everything in life.

Just take it in stride, learn to pick your battles, and move on. Know that there are times where some just grade harder than others. You win some, you lose some.

There’s only so much you can do.

One of my preceptors was yelled at by the mother of a pregnant lady for telling her that smoking while pregnant was detrimental to the baby. (…) The lady chose not to listen to this and smoked all throughout her pregnancy.
There are some things you can’t force, and if someone is unwilling to listen or to change, do what you can, but realize that you can’t help people who are unwilling to help themselves.

If your preceptor gives you the day off, it is not a trick.

(Or at least, it shouldn’t be.) Thank them and enjoy your day. Go catch up on some studying.
I have major issues adhering to this one because I always feel like I’m being a slacker if I do that. When this happened at the beginning of the year, I picked up extra shifts elsewhere while my preceptor was on vacation. (It was Family Medicine though, so you know I loved it! <3)

You will never know everything.

And that’s okay (even though it’ll never feel like it’s okay). I think as medical students, we’re somewhat trained to be extremely hard on ourselves, but realize that you can’t possibly know everything. Read up on the things you don’t know and study consistently throughout the year.

Focus on doing your best, and learn from your mistakes!

  • What lessons have you learned so far?



Farrah has a background in exercise biology and music. Her passions include food, sports medicine, working with the under-served, blogging, food and cats. She’s a good cook, too.

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