No matter which medical school you attend, you will always have at least one gunner in your class who everyone gets irritated with. I am sure many people are familiar with pre-medical gunners, which I think are far worse than gunners in med school. However, there will be overzealous medical students aiming to score the highest in the class to maintain a high-class rank so they can get into that neurosurgery or orthopedics residency. While sometimes it may seem like a good idea to keep any helpful tips you’ve received from outside sources to yourself and to keep to yourself in hopes of staying focused and on top of other people, it really will not benefit you in the long run. No one likes the gunners in their class, and everyone is aware of gunner tendencies. If you are particularly inclined to be more of a “gunner” and don’t want to become that person in med school, I have some tips for you:
- Share any helpful advice, resources, or study tips you may have – People who keep to themselves may be seen as secretive or not supportive of their peers’ successes. My class has a shared Google drive to which we upload helpful notes and textbooks that work well for us so that everyone can use them. I have found this to be extremely helpful and creates a positive learning environment.
- Be less serious – Yes, you are in med school and it is a serious part of your life, but that doesn’t mean that everything you say/do has to be with stoicism. Make sure to laugh, smile, crack jokes, and be kind/sweet to people you encounter. A lot of people have negative views of medical students because they think we are zombies who study all the time, and there is no reason to contribute to this stereotype.
- Talk about topics other than med school – It is so easy to center all your conversations around school when you are with your peers. This is natural, right? Since basically our lives ARE school, and we have little time for other hobbies/activities. However, when you are conversing with others, try to maintain a broad scope and talk about other interesting things besides all the studying you have to do. That’s already well-founded knowledge, and to help make med school easier, make sure you remain a sane human being who has other things they’re interested in besides studying.
- Ask questions appropriately in class – You don’t want to become the dominating student in lecture by asking all the questions all the time, or taking up a professor’s time so that other students do not have the opportunity to ask questions. If you have many questions, professors have office hours and are responsive on email to answer them personally. It is important to keep in mind that while professors are there to serve you, their time is precious as well (as many of them are physicians), and they want to be able to help ALL students, not just a select few.
- Don’t flaunt how ahead you are in your studies, and keep an appropriate presence on social media in regards to school – I’ve begun to notice a few students who post frequently on social media when they’re studying ahead or pictures of their notes. There definitely is nothing wrong with that and people should be as expressive as they like, but there comes a certain point where it becomes boasting and unnecessary.
- Competition isn’t everything – You’re already in med school, and everyone knows how smart and competent you are already. There is no reason to feel the need to be ahead of your classmates or to sabotage anyone in any way. Even if you are aiming for the same specialty, every applicant is going to be well-qualified and what will set you apart is how well you can communicate with others in the field, and how well-rounded you are as an individual. A little competition is healthy, but don’t let it possess you in how you conduct yourself in school.