med school = high school?

Do you think that you’ve put those awkward high school days behind you now that you’ve graduated from college and you’re starting med school, making high school but a distant unpleasant memory? WRONG! For some reason, when you put 100 or so people together all day everyday for four years (well, not exactly four years since we end up scattered during our third and fourth years, but that doesn’t stop the gossip from flying), they end up regressing back to high school mentality. This phenomenon knows no boundaries as it affects even the oldest and married-with-kids med students. All of a sudden, it’s all about who’s hooking up with who, who’s breaking up with who, who drank too much last night, who’s a gunner, who’s cool, who’s smart, who’s not all over again. Just like high school, the cliques form pretty much on day one when we choose anatomy lab groups based on nothing but the cursory information we’ve gathered about our classmates through a few awkward conversations. And just like high school, it’s next to impossible to change cliques once you’ve been placed voluntarily or not into one. There are even med school proms!!! So if you’re just a little awkward and think that you can start over in med school where you think no one can smell the dork on you, you’re in for a surprise. But this regression may not necessarily be a bad thing (well, unless you were really dying to finally be part of the cool clique) as it helps a group of previously complete strangers come together and support each other through an extremely difficult part of their lives. Just as in high school, when we took our first awkward and often embarrassing steps into adulthood, med school serves as a transition where we take our first awkward and embarrassing (to put it mildly) steps into physician-hood. And as in high school, this transition from crazy premed to med student and eventually physician is full of stress, pressures, and challenges that test our limits, all of which is eased somewhat by having each other to lean on (even if we end up in the geek clique).