If you are in medical school you are probably bleary-eyed, exhausted and isolated from the outside world. You don’t know what the latest movies are, who that musician is on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine or that they are actually bringing back The Gong Show. You are oblivious to everything except your next exam, the next rotation and the next 200 pages that need to be read. You aren’t alone. In fact, you have thousands of fellow medical students who feel the very same way. It’s no joke being in medical school but a laugh can help to alleviate the pressure once in awhile. Here are some of the things your fellow medical students have said on student forums to express their thoughts on:

“You know you’re a medical student when….”

…Your speech patterns change

Medical school changes how you look at the world, and your speech patterns.

  • “You start seeing what looks exactly like liquefactive necrosis lesions in the sidewalk AND your classmate doesn’t blink an eye when you mention it out loud.” gilleon
  • “You have eliminated the suffix LOGY from your lexicon: Histo, Physio, Micro, etc.” monchiormeno
  • “The first time you hear about a movie it is already out on video.” jhug
  • “You know how to calculate specificity, positive predictive value, and anion gap.” group_theory

…You look at people and yourself with a different lens.

Being a medical student completely changes the way you look at your fellow human beings, and your own body. 

  • “When you’re lifting at the gym and are staring at your muscles, not because of their size, but because you’re trying to see their attachments and origins through the skin.” SanDiegoSOD
  • “You see an attractive girl in a bikini but the first thought that comes to your mind is palpating her liver border.” Critical Mass
  • “You start to look at people’s arms and only notice where the “good veins” are to start peripheral IVs, OR when someone is talking to you, you try to figure out their Mallampati score for intubation.” medic0129

…You have redefined the word ‘gross.’

As a medical resident, ‘gross has an entirely new definition and nothing ruins your appetite.

  • “You can discuss cadaver dissection while eating dinner.” Medical123
  • “Anatomy makes you hungry.” group_theory
  • “You can go to the anatomy lab, and go out to eat without changing your clothes.”
  • “You talk about where you want to go eat after you are done “running the bowel” drchris33

…Your dating life is significantly different.

um no

Being in medical school can change your dating patterns too.

  • “When things that used to seem awesome (e.g. “adventurous”) are now scary and repulsive because you know all too well the consequences while things that used to be scary and repulsive (germs, the internal structures of a human being, bacteria, viruses….etc) are the most interesting things on the planet….because you know all too well the consequences!”  Skills of House
  • “When the line to learn how to give a cadaver a digital pelvic/rectal exam is longer than the line for the bars on a weekend night.”  medic0129
  • “3rd year…on a good day, your wife remembers your name.”
  • “4th year…your wife says it’s ‘…just like when we first started dating.’” Tired

…Your attitude toward everything has changed.


In medical school, your attitude evolves, partly from sheer exhaustion, partly because it has to if you are to survive.  

3rd year

  • You’re no better than and you know it.
  • You hate everything you do and pretend that you love it.
  • Residents and attendings scare you.

4th year

  • You’re no better, but you stopped caring a long time ago.
  • You stop hating everything you do, and start remembering why you went into this business.
  • Residents and attendings can go pound sand.  Tired

Finally, medical school changes what you ask Santa to put under the tree:

bad gift

Under the Christmas tree are packages labeled the following:

  1. Anatomy
  2. Netter
  3. Welch Allyn Instruments
  4. H&P Week
  5. Notes Genetics
  6. Micro
  7. Pharm
  8. Embryo
  9. Path

The Christmas List for Santa:

  1. Sunshine
  2. A in anatomy
  3. Sleep
  4. A in Pathology
  5. Spring Break
  6. A in Microbiology
  7. Warm Weather
  8. Coffee Machines
  9. A in Pharmacology

As a medical student you pay to work unthinkable hours. Sleep is a distant memory and you may actually have found yourself wondering if it is necessary at all. Night and day blend together and sometimes you’re not entirely sure what day of the week it is. Saying medical school is difficult is an understatement. Those of us on the outside need you and respect you, so hang in there. Pretty soon you will remember why you wanted to go to medical school in the first place!