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Advice for Medical Students

As I venture further into my clerkship (and head off for my first elective in a week), I have been spending more time thinking about what I can do to make myself a more desirable candiate for residency.  Luckily, I stumbled upon this wonderful blogger, BoringEM.  Now, he’s an emergency medicine resident, and I’m not at all interested in emergency (sorry BEM), but he certainly has some amazing advice for us medical students.  I would certainly recommend checking out his blog and his posts under the mentoring category.  Today he posted a great post about Reference Letters:

The Reference Letter Triple Crown.

After reading what he had to say about getting good reference letters, I am feeling pretty good about it.  I have a wonderful mentor, KM, who has known me for quite a long time.  I am confident that she’ll be able to meet criteria #1.  I’ve had the opportunity to communicate with her via email for long enough to know that she is a competent writer and is able to express herself well.  So that meets criteria #2.  Since she is a younger physician, she might not be that well known except for at my school and maybe the place she did her training, so criteria #3 is a little touch-and-go.  But, two out of three ain’t bad!

I’ve also had the privilege of forming a great professional/mentorship type relationship with the head of the O&G department at my university.  I’ve known him since I did research in my first summer as a med student and I’ve stayed in touch with him since then.  When it’s time to ask for a letter, he’ll have known me for over two years… That should hopefully fulfill criteria #1.  As for #2, well, he wrote me a letter of recommendation for an award at a conference not too long ago, and it was a fantastic letter (both in form and content).  I have no worries about criteria #2.  And, he is the department head, after all, so he kind of meets requirements for criteria #3.  Could it be true?  I may have a Triple Crown reference letter?!?

I better not get too far ahead of myself, though.  References are only part of the equation.  I have to keep my chin up and keep up the hard work.  I have to make it through the rest of medical school giving it the best effort I can and let my reputation speak for itself.  Then, I also have to make it through the dreaded interviews!!!

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