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DO Students Share What They Wish They Knew When Entering Osteopathic Medical School

Starting osteopathic medical school has often been described as “drinking water from a fire hose.” That can sound daunting, but we’ve asked members of our Student Experience Panel to share their thoughts on what they wish they knew when starting osteopathic medical school, and their advice for embarking on the Road to DO Licensure. For even more tips and advice, be sure to read some of our Stories from the Road.

Devanshi Patel, OMS-IV – MUCOM

Medicine is just one path to a career in the healthcare field. I do wish I would have gotten exposed to other healthcare careers (through things like shadowing and participating in more clinical experiences in undergrad) to allow me to appreciate those professionals more when interacting with them in the future.

I also would recommend taking the time to have hobbies and develop skills that are fun before and throughout medical school. It allows us to become well-rounded and it can be used as a way to relax and de-stress.

One thing I see a lot of—don’t compare with others. Everyone has a different path in life and it is important to be confident in our own abilities and skills and not follow what others are doing.

Julia Wursta, OMS-IV – NSU-KPCOM (Tampa Bay)

Networking is an extremely important resource.  Every connection, every professor, and every physician or healthcare worker is an opportunity to utilize throughout your education, training, and career. Take advantage of those interactions.

Time management and organizational skills will get you very far. Creating an effective study strategy specific to you that includes time for your non-academic priorities is crucial to success. Don’t compare your study strategies to others.

Make friends and utilize your peers as resources. Medical school offers a chance to meet a large group of diverse individuals and your peers can often reflect various patient populations in belief systems, cultures, and values. Acknowledging those differences while in pre-clinical years can help you develop your interpersonal skills that you carry with you through clinical years.

Kimberly Fasciglione, DO, PGY-1

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Medical school is a marathon, and what matters most is the sum of your efforts, not so much the day-to-day. Take good care of your mental and physical health and your relationships, and never be afraid to ask for help when you need it! You’re never alone.

I advise all incoming DO students to learn the basics–so much of medicine is based in the principles that you learn in your very first semester of medical school, and they will stay with you for the rest of your careers. There will be many tests of your skills and knowledge along the way. Treat them as learning experiences.

As DO students, we have a unique perspective when treating our patients– be DO proud, and use that perspective to your advantage! Don’t ever stop looking back on your progress, and take time to recognize how proud “past you” would be of you!

Grace Young, DO, PGY-1

Remember to make time for yourself. Prioritize your mental and emotional wellness. We cannot take care of our patients if we are not well ourselves

Evan Bischoff, OMS-IV – VCOM-Virginia

Address mental health issues prior to the start of medical school. . Anxiety, depression, and burnout can all be exacerbated during medical school. If you come into school having developed coping strategies, ways to effectively process how you are feeling, or a treatment plan, you will be better off. Offer only kindness and support to your fellow colleagues if they are dealing with these issues.


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