Many people acknowledge the importance of mentors in med school, but I have not seen as much discussion around BEING a mentor. I was reflecting on this with some second-year medical students today and realized how helpful it is to have the advice of upperclassmen when it comes to test-taking strategies, rotations, how to survive in medical school in general, scheduling dilemmas, etc. I have made it a point to reach out to my younger med student friends and offer them advice on things based on my experiences, which not only helps them significantly but also allows you to see what you’ve taken away from your experiences – the good and the bad. I think it would behoove everyone to be a mentor to at least one younger medical student. Medical school can be very overwhelming, daunting, and challenging, especially if you do not know what to expect. When offering advice, I believe it is important to emphasize that this is your perspective and based on your experience, as everyone’s experiences are different; thus, you are not dictating to the mentee what to do, but merely offering insight. As relatively seasoned students with significantly more knowledge and experience now than we did coming into med school, we should offer a helping hand to those who are in the shoes that we once were in. I know I greatly appreciated talking to older med students as a first and second year, and I am more than happy to pay it forward.
Alex is in her first year of residency in Internal Medicine at University of Michigan. While she is unsure what she would like to subspecialize in yet, Alex is considering allergy, rheumatology, and primary care. Her interest in medicine largely stems from her volunteer work in free clinics in underserved communities and experiences growing up with a brother with autism.
Before attending medical school, Alex completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2014 and her Master of Public Health (concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology) at Yale University in 2016.
When she is not working in the hospital or studying, you can find Alex running by the lake, doing circuit workouts outdoors in the fields, drawing and/or writing, or at home spending time with her family in the suburbs of Chicago.