25 Fun Facts About the Transition from Undergrad to Med School

1. Being a medical student is twice the work of being an undergrad and only half of the fun. No, I’m just kidding — it’s none of the fun.

2. I hope you like reading. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha! Excuse me while I jump out of a high window with the five weighty text books I’ve been assigned this semester strapped to my torso.

3. You have no idea where the hell anything on your campus is except the two or three buildings you have class in and the hospital.

4. Despite what you may have learned as an undergrad, Thursday night is a weeknight. You’re expected to wake up early and get stuff done the next day and everything. Crazy, right?

5. You’re also expected to refrain from drinking Sunday through Wednesday unless you just finished a set of exams—including day drinking. Seriously.

6. There’s a good chance that you’re a commuter student. Enjoy lugging 60 lbs of text books with you every day and dealing with gas prices/parking/public transportation. Remember that you are paying exorbitant amounts of money for these privileges.

7. Believe it or not, you actually have high expectations for the rigor and quality of your classes. Having a half-witted, drooling simpleton for a teacher has lost a bit of its luster, even if they are an easy grader. You find yourself wondering, “What did I get from this class? Was it really worth my time?”


8. You have absolutely no school spirit. You’re pretty sure your school’s colors are a light color and a dark color, but you can’t remember which ones. You also think your school’s mascot is a half-man, half-goat with black eyes that tells you to burn things, but, then again, you haven’t slept for days because you have five finals next week. Maybe you should go take a nap or something.

9. You also have no knowledge of campus events. When you see people gathering joyously in the school plaza, you’re not sure if they are celebrating a national football title/tuition decrease/campaign victory, recreating the end of an 80s comedy, or just overturning a pharmaceutical delivery truck filled with Adderall.

10. Speaking of which, you got any Adderall? It’s, uh, for a friend… Ned. Ned Pillow.

11. There’s that one student that everyone in your class hates and loves to gossip about. Since med school means taking all of your classes with the same people, this is a nice way to give everyone something to talk about. You hear things like: “God, did you see that skirt she wore yesterday? This is med school, not a frat party!” and “If she raises her hand one more time, I’m gonna throw my desk at her. Like, the entire desk.”

12. If you don’t think the above is true, you are that person.

tumblr / sherry bam

tumblr / sherry bam

13. If you’re not in a serious relationship, you’ve started to feel really, really self-conscious about the percentage of your classmates that are in serious relationships.

14. You periodically return to where you did undergrad for a fun-filled weekend with your old friends. You leave completely amazed that you were able to live like that for four years.

15. You’ve gotten to know your professors/mentors a little too well, including a lot of unnecessary details about their personal lives. They might even invite you over to their house for dinner with their family one day. You may think this is a little odd at first, but you’ll justify it as a good opportunity to further a relationship that could be beneficial to you. But you shouldn’t, because they’re probably planning to kill you. Try and remember: did they say “I’d love for you to come over and have dinner with my family” or “My family and I would love to have you for dinner”? Think hard, because this is the difference between Mr. Feeny and Hannibal Lecter.

16. Your daily planner looks less like the responsibilities of one person and more like the projected plans of a small government or Fortune 500 company.

17. You drink coffee. Large, large cups of dark, dark coffee. “Thank god for caffeine!” you shout nervously at confused strangers, attempting to conceal your involuntary facial twitches as you take enormous strides down crowded hallways.


18. Your professors and advisors continually make cryptic remarks about the importance of a resume/research/clinical experience/etc. You spend a great deal of time fretting over what is essentially the corporate version of a Facebook profile.

19. You’ve done some truly inspired doodling, including that sketch of an urbane giraffe wearing a three-piece suit that you swear was a work of art but you’re pretty sure you accidentally threw out.

20. You’ve developed incredible esoteric knowledge and random knowledge that is only useful in a medical/academic capacity. You overhear people at social gatherings talking about “last night’s game” or The Avengers, and you interject with comments about how the dim lighting in the room is really activating your parasympathetic response or a play-by-play of the colonoscopy you performed. People look at you funny and slowly slink away, avoiding eye contact.

21. You fondly remember the time when it seemed acceptable to wear sweatpants and a t-shirt to class.

22. Due to your overwhelming schedule, you’ve had to sacrifice old habits like healthy eating, recreational sports, and working out. Somewhere around February, you looked down and realized that you are the size of a mid-level commercial airliner. But don’t fret, that IKEA bean bag chair you call a stomach makes a nice paperweight for holding your text books open while you read.

23. You’ve made a few really good friends. But, you’ve also met a lot of people that are really more acquaintances than friends. I mean, they’re cool and all, but they’re not going on your MySpace Top 8 or anything.

24. You realize that you squandered a lot of opportunities as an undergrad.

25. You’re probably excessively worried about that research paper/final project/shelf exam your program requires for graduating, but you shouldn’t be — you’ll be dead long before then.


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Ted Pillow

Ted Pillow is a regular contributor to Thought Catalog, and has written for The Awl, PopMatters, and Slacktory. His collected writing can be found at Fanny Pack Spectacular! He tweets @TedPillow.