In her article entitled “There is more to life than your MCAT score”, Vivian Cheng writes of her male friend whom justifies what can only be described as martyrdom by his performance on the MCAT.
Vivian does a satisfactory job outlining why this is a detriment for her friend. What Vivian does not mention, and what her friend does not realize, is that this attitude creates harmful survivor bias for younger medical school hopefuls.
Students may see that Vivian’s friend and others like him have obtained acceptance to medical school via long study hours with little relationship building or self therapy, like having a romantic partner or watching Netflix to relieve stress. In order to achieve their goals, they emulate this behaviour, and so this attitude is passed on from generation to generation.
Furthermore, one could argue that this attitude has an impact on clinical collaboration and the ability to empathize with patients (see “Doctors lack empathy, med school to blame” Gazette 2011, or ask medical science students for stories of ripping out textbook pages or pretending not to speak English in order to get out of answering a clarifying question posed by a classmate. Both stories come from very close friends of mine).
Students should realize that balance between studying and self therapy is crucial not only for their short term success, but also for their long-term success and the success of future medical students.
—Demetri Pananos, biostatistics and epidemiology Ph.D candidate