It’s funny how hard you work to get into medical school, thinking once you arrive it’ll be a little easier. I definitely thought I’d have lots of support from the school and could just focus on learning. Many students fixated so completely on seeking advice to get INTO medical school that I didn’t ask for any on what to do when I got there. I assumed there’d be so much more explanations than there was. And I didn’t know about the “hidden curriculum.”
TL;DR I don’t have physician parents, and there was so MUCH I didn’t know or expect when I arrived as a medical student.
Who Needs Mentoring?
Lots of first generation medical students find this out the same way – on arrival. But you know what? We’re the lucky ones. Many of us succeeded in spite of poor advising from our own universities, or after using the website that shall go unnamed. Enter a group of medical students who wanted to make the application process better for those who come later. They founded Prescribe It Forward specifically to mentor “pre-medical students… of all backgrounds, especially underrepresented minorities (URM), first-generation, LGBTQIA+, non-traditional, or otherwise disadvantaged applicants.”
Mentoring as a Leadership Role?
Traditionally the only way to have a leadership role in medical school is to find time on top of your studying to run for an “office” in campus club, or national roles with organizations like AAFP. I really enjoyed my time leading MSFC in my second year of school. But the focus of leadership roles on ERAS isn’t to prove you won a popularity contest (or had no one opposing you for the job). It’s intent (for family medicine) is to give you an opportunity to write a short blip that will make Program Director’s think “That sounds interesting, I’d love to know more.” And in your interview you get to talk about the skills you used or gained in the role, which either helped prepare you for residency or will be an asset to the program.
Healthcare is all about teaching. We teach each other (attendings teach residents, who teach medical students), but we also teach our patients. So mentoring roles provide another way to show you have the leadership skills expected in a physician. Unfortunately, some students perceive this wonderful opportunity as a way to show off for their future MBA, and use their “n=1” to sell “mentoring” or “pre-med advice” on Instagram. I’ve even seen it been done by people who had never even been accepted to medical school, but played a strong Insta game. Prescribe it Forward counters this, providing entirely free mentoring by verified current medical students to pre-meds.
Mentoring Sounds Like My Cup of Tea!
Teaching, mentoring and healthcare should be about sharing information and empowering others. Clearly here at FM Student we have the same goals – free advice, resources, encouragement for all. So, if mentoring pre-meds sounds fun and fulfilling for you consider applying to be a Prescribe It Forward Mentor.
This is not an advertisement, or paid endorsement, etc. Pixie follows the @PrescribeItFwd team on Twitter and loves how they actively reach out to let folks know there’s options for pre-meds and other medical students to get mentoring for free.