Classes I Wish I Took Before Starting Medical School

Courtesy of Reddit, u/sweaner

Hey everyone, I hope you are all relaxing and hanging out with your family and friends during this month! My first day back to school is exactly a month away from today so I am freaking out but also a little bit excited. Speaking of school…I learned alot after my first year of medical school which of the classes I felt underprepared in. Some of my classmates who were prepared…actually took the classes in undergrad. Man, had I known about some of the classes that one has to take as a first year med student and taken them before, it would have been over for everyone lol. So, if you are still in undergrad and trying to plan your schedule, here are some classes I wish I took and some classes that helped me when I started medical school:

Classes I Did Not Take But Wish I Did:

1. Anatomy

Anatomy, the bane of my existence. I cannot emphasize enough taking this class in undergrad. Anatomy in medical school is brutal. BRUTAL! You learn about the body in 4 weeks and everything that is associated with it. There were many tears associated with this class and I found that my classmates who had previously taken it were more successful than me. Well, granted there were some who did extremely well without taking it but we call those the exceptions.

I really wanted to take anatomy in undergrad but I never had space for it (struggles of the biochem major). I even wanted to take it in highschool but my school would not allow me to take more than 2 science courses at once. So, it was meant to be, but if I could go back, I would have tried to take it in the summer.

Wish me luck because I have to take part 2 of my anatomy course this upcoming year 😦

2. Physiology

Physiology is heavy in medical school and I definitely struggled a lot in it. It’s not as terrible as anatomy and it is more easily self taught but still, it was rough. This is also a class I wanted to take but I never had the space to in undergrad. Again, my classmates who took this course seemed to be doing better than I was. It is the basis of many courses in medical school so I highly recommend it and it meshes a lot with anatomy.

3. Microbiology

Learning microbiology in medical school is challenging. Thankfully, Sketchy, these cartoon videos that help you memorize difficult concepts, was provided to us by our school to help us out. Nonetheless, I still struggled in this course. Everything in medical school is like everything you learn in undergrad but 2.5x volume and speed, so it definitely would have been nice to have this under my belt before.

4. Histology

Apparently my undergraduate insititution actually had a histology course and I figured that out become some of my classmates took it. But histology is a difficult concept in medical school. You are pretty much looking at slides and trying to come with an answer based on what you see. If you ask me, everything looks the same, but a pathologist would tell you otherwise. Definitely recommend this course if you have time but if not, you should be fine.

5. Statistics

I did not even realize how relevant stats would be in medical school. I always thought of it as an irrelevant course in undergrad but I got proven wrong. There are some graphs to interpret and equations to understand which is where having taken the class before helps. Also, it was pretty relevant in research, which is something most, if not all medical students are involved with. So if I had the time, I would have definitely taken this course.

6. Public Health Course

I do not know which public health course I would have taken since I am unfamiliar with the ones available but I would have liked to taken a general one. Public health is important in medicine and they are intertwined. In fact, a lot of medical doctors have their Masters in Public Health for the reason that it gives one a broad perspective in the field. Of course, I could have to opportunity to get an MPH in the future, but I do wish I had some knowledge of Public Health before I started.

7. Pharmacology

Again, I am unfamiliar with the pharmacy courses at my undergrad institution, but it would have been nice to have taken a class about drugs beforehand. Granted, pharmacology is one of my strongest subjects in medical school, but memorizing and regurgitating drugs is such a pain :(. If you have the opportunity to take a pharmacology course then please do!

Ok, that’s all I have for classes I wish I have taken. Now onto to classes I took that were really helpful to me.

Helpful Classes I Took:

1. Biochemistry

Man, I sure am glad I took all those biochem courses in undergrad. There were definitely at lot of obstacles I faced when taking it, but it proved helpful in the end. I had to take 6 biochemistry courses and the 2nd one, in which I got a B- in and struggled the most in, was actually the most crucial to me in medical school. I would not say that I was super duper prepared in biochemistry, I still have a lot to learn. But I was pretty confident during the first semester because of the biochemical knowledge I had under my belt. There is a biochemistry teacher we have in medical school who is notorious for having the hardest exams ever and I managed to get above average on his exam, thank the Lord most High! You do not have to take as much biochem as I did but make sure you have a good foundation on it because it will show up a lot in the first portion of medical school.

2. Molecular Genetics

I am pretty glad I took this course because genetics is pretty common in medical school. We touched on it a bit in the first year of medical school and we are going to go further into it during second year. I suprisingly enjoyed MolGen in undergrad and did pretty well in it so I am hopeful that it will help me in the following years.

And that’s pretty much it. A lot of the prereqs for medical school like gen chem, ochem, physics are helpful as well but not as much as the ones I have listed. They are called pre reqs for a reason, you have to learn them to understand the other stuff but that doesn’t mean it’s really prevalent throughout your time in medical school and beyond. I actually did not like ochem so I am glad it is that way tbh. Let me know if you enjoyed this and if you have anything else you want me to talk about!

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