(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Backstabbing and Board Scores

According to the Wilson Phillips song (or Ecclesiastes, depending on your cultural background) there is "A time to love, a time to hate." This was definitely a time to hate. One of my good friends at Vandy had been humiliated and it infuriated me. The details aren’t important (if you are at Vandy, I’m sure you have already heard), but what was most surprising about the whole ordeal was how shocking it was that it happened at all. One hundred and four type-A overachievers used to being number one in everything: by all rights our class should be one giant ring of continual backstabbing. One would expect this undercurrent of undercutting to be med school status quo, but sometimes expectations and reality are two very different entities.

At Vanderbilt there is a community among the students. I have never felt a spirit of competition from my fellow classmates but rather one of mutual goals and purposes. We might have different backgrounds but we are all trying to tackle the same overwhelming amount of medical knowledge and this common cause unites us. I guess this idealization of our academic interaction was what made the aforementioned offense so egregious. Even if it was provoked (which I doubt) there was no justification for the action.

I guess it is some consolation that the rumor mill is already in full force and the offender will be identified and routinely vilified by our class. However, it’s hard to think that this is the action of a future MD. No doubt this person will have excellent board scores and most likely match highly, but if those are the qualities that ultimately define an excellent physician, I’m in the wrong business.


Blogger Jeremy said...

I've found at MUSC in Charleston that 146 people can get along quite nicely...usually. Sort of. Well...okay not all the time.

You get the point.

7:02 PM

Blogger bill said...

If you have only seen one instance of this in an evvironment that's usually an intensely competitive one, I'm impressed as all get out.

12:34 PM

Blogger Katie said...

Boards to me are still an intangible entity I will worry about in June of next year. Honestly, all I know is 220 minimum for surgery. Guess that is kind of like 29 was the minimum MCAT for med school.
We have competition in Charleston...I guess. I guess it's what made one person try to hide notecards behind a toilet to peruse at their leisure on a bathroom trip and what made another study to the point of insanity whereby he couldn't even take the final exam.
Maybe I should be more competitive, but I just want everyone to succeed...

4:39 PM

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