The 5 Different Types Of Pre-Meds You Will Meet

Have you ever wondered what every other Grey’s Anatomy character was like before he/she started accidentally killing patients by ordering take-out and having gossip sessions instead of, you know, actually doing their job at the operating table? Consider the modern pre-med student. In today’s collegiate world, being “pre-med” can mean several things to the dazed and confused undergraduate. I might be 90% wrong because I like to make radical, offensive generalizations — but here are a few ideas.
Flickr / Riley L. Davis
Flickr / Riley L. Davis

1. The “I’m Different” Pre-Med

These are the pre-meds who major in things like professional baking or being a tennis celebrity. They complete their required science courses and then get out as fast as possible so they can take courses like “Bad Boyz and Bad Gurlz in Contemporary Half-Asian Culture” and create independent studies for things like “Comparative Knitting.” They write their theses on topics like “The Post-Marxist Construction of the Bisexual Transvestite,” and, “The Imaginary Art of Giving Organic Surrealist Manicures.” These people are totally random but they get into every single medical school you applied to and more. Love them, hate them, fear them.

Go-To Conversation Topics: NGOs/ Street Style/ Alpalca Socks/ Anything, Really

Future Specialization: Being Heidi Montag’s Replacement Plastic Surgeon because they forgot to RSVP “yes pls” to their invitation to be US Surgeon General while they were out rock climbing/ being astronaut/ feeding kale to disabled porpoises.

2. The Excessively Self-Absorbed Pre-Med

These are the pre-meds who love talking about how they are pre-med more than actually being pre-med. Never mind that the person convulsing on the floor next to them is choking to death, let’s just talk about whether this stethoscope makes me look fat or not instead! And yes, we all get it: Jockeying for a seat at medical school is just really competitive or something. But you know what else is competitive? Being a contestant on Top Chef. Being a contestant on Top Chef is very competitive.

It’s like these people wake up every morning with one thought on their minds. “Must be the center of attention at all times, must complain constantly and make everyone else feel as stressed out as I pretend to be.” On one hand, I can kind of understand the craziness of it all. I can kind of see how taking really hard lab courses might justify living in a state of being constantly Le Tired and then feeling the need to corner all of your terrified friends and bitch to them about it. I can kind of see how studying for the MCAT for three months straight might force someone to share public itunes playlists in the library with titles like “so sad orgo,” “fuck me softly physics,” and “~*H8 PrE-mEd LyFe*~.” On the other hand, it sort of just seems like an excuse to have a pre-God Complex. ZZZ.

Being this type of pre-med also requires a particular eye for fashion. These pre-meds want to look the part so they go all out. This can be done by making a concerted effort to look perpetually cracked out on Red Bull and Kombucha or to just look totally and completely out of it at all times. If too many other pre-meds are working this look, the spotlight can be stolen back simply by not showering for a few weeks and wearing sweatpants every day instead.

Go-To Conversation Topics: Just Me, Myself and My Stress Blackouts/ Panicking A Lot But Not Really/ 2 BUSY 2 FUNCTION

Future Specialization: The one that got Octomom pregnant. Medical license: Revoked.

3. The Self-Loathing Pre-Med

This is a melting pot category for all kinds of crazies who come together in their simple hatred of the “pre-med” label and lifestyle. There are many reasons aspiring doctors hate being “pre-med.” Example # 1: The Excessively Self-Absorbed Pre-med.

I mean, I guess it’s not really a secret that everyone sort of hates pre-meds. Professors hate pre-meds, humanities majors hate pre-meds, other pre-meds don’t even like pre-meds. Clearly, this is logically expected given that pre-meds love grade grubbing and knowing only how to emote either petulance or hyper-caffeinated competitiveness. And yes, obviously not everyone who wants to be a doctor is like this, but shit happens.

I think that pre-med self-loathing can also come from being in a constant state of sleep deprived fear: Fear of setting yourself on fire in lab or getting cancer, fear of eventually becoming hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt before you ever get the chance to tell someone “you have gonorrhea” in a professional environment (which makes it socially acceptable), and fear of not having enough time to date like a normal person. How can you possibly find your happy place with all that going on up there?

One of my personal favorites behind the silent song of pre-med self-hate is based on having an aversion to being stereotyped. Occasionally, I avoided telling people I was pre-med in college because I didn’t like the getting the “ohh, of course you are” look in response — because in this progressive day and age, sometimes being Asian and wanting to be a doctor just doesn’t cut it. Not even if you’re genuinely interested in studying things like sperm washing and wanting to help people. Like, I’m sorry that my life is too Crouching Tiger Mother, Hidden Cliché for you to handle. I’m sorry that I’m not Asian and interested in becoming a professional transvestite pole dancer instead. I’M SORRY FOR NOT BEING SHOCKING/CRAZY ENOUGH FOR YOU!

But in all seriousness, if you think I’m making it up, here’s a little gem to beat the dead horse just a little longer. A friend who I love dearly once asked me, “so was that, like, your choice or your parents’ choice?” Haha, wait. What? Her question wasn’t even a question really; it was more like a re-statement of some basic fact of life. “Sorry, but my parents actually wanted me to go to an art school that had no mandatory math classes and had athletics teams named after genitalia!” Crisis averted.

Go-To Conversation Topics: Avoidance/ You Think You Know, But You Have Know Idea/ Is This What Denial Tastes Like?

Future Specialization: Psychiatry — anything that screams Issues.

4. The Closeted Cut-Throat Pre-Med

To be honest, I’ve never actually met anyone like this. In college, my lab partners were always really friendly, supportive and funny. One of them would do things like accidentally throw away our mass spec results and be like, “Oh Matt, what shall we do now!” We would both laugh and secretly cry on the inside. But with many things in life we can’t see that definitely exist, like carbon monoxide, I am convinced that the Closeted Cut-Throat Pre-med is out there somewhere, somehow, doing something bad. I imagine that if I ever met one of these people in the present, they would tell me I had kind eyes, and then proceed to pour acid down my backpack while I thanked them. These elusive and potentially imaginary pre-meds are totally psychotic and love every second of it.

Go-To Conversation Topics: I Once Was Lost, But Now I Just Want To Kill You/ Study Drugz/ I Sold My Soul To AMCAS.

Future Specialization: Family Medicine or Pediatrics — because the crazy ones always look the most normal on the outside.

5. The Normal Pre-Med

These are the people that don’t let pre-professional labels define who they are. They’re down to earth, intelligent and truly inspired by what they study — whatever that is. These are the people who, when your departmental graduation speaker announces that so-and-so “will be attending medical school next fall at…,” you’re like “Excuse me?” You didn’t even know they were pre-med! They got by just doing their own original and fiercely independent thing without causing drama making a big deal about wanting to save lives and stuff. Thank god for people like this.

Go-To Conversation Topics: My Dog/ I’m Happy and Content with Life/ How to be Zen All the Time

Future Specialization: Neurosurgery — because they will still have enough brain cells left over from not being a hot pre-med freakshow mess like everyone else on this planet. TC mark

More From Thought Catalog

  • Mr Shankly

    My favourite part was the bit where you wrote this article with the Thought Catalog reader demographic in mind instead of just mindlessly aiming for a target audience of American med students and hoping that everyone else can totes relate to all the medical drama and vernacular. I hate it when people throw away my mass spec results, lol!

    • Lola

      so you learn something new everyday…….deal with it. 

    • Guest

      I’m a tc-reading med student, not everyone on here is a liberal arts school dropout..,

  • http://twitter.com/little_cup_cake Cupcake

    funny  stuff!

  • Nixter_doodle

    “Like, I’m sorry that my life is too Crouching Tiger Mother, Hidden Cliché for you to handle.” – This made me laugh SO HARD. Best line ever.

  • portman

    really refreshing to see an article on something other than the “english major attending a liberal arts college”. being a student at a tech university and studying science this gave me a good laugh. keep it up and gimme more

  • claudia

    a thought catalog writer who is actually doing something worth anything with their life? i’m shocked

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2df4ccp

  • Marge

    Oh mr shankly get with the program, obvi category one pre med kiddies read thought catalog too. Dont be such a hater :) and if youre going to hate at least do better than cliche sarcasm . . .you sound like a bitter old lady working at your city’s bmv. Not cute.

  • Jesus

    I once asked an Asian if they’re parents tried to force them into a major, but that’s not racist… Is it?

  • Jesus

    I once asked an Asian if they’re parents tried to force them into a major, but that’s not racist… Is it?

  • Aelya

    So which one are you?

  • Mba

    Strongly disliked your first article. This one even more.
    I find superficial categorization wrapped in seemingly autobiographical vengeance not good enough to qualify as a blog entry here.
    Think you could do better.

    • Author

      To be fair, I did include a disclaimer on level of seriousness of this piece in my intro. If this isn’t you’re cup of tea, you should read some of the TC essays by Daniel Coffeen – they’re well-written and insightful.

    • Hi

      This one must be #3.

    • cccccc

      loved the first article, love this one even more. i spent six years at an international school and he accurately summed up the vital experiences in one article. talk about precision.

  • guest

    I can’t tell if you’re the ‘different’ one or the self-absorbed one.  

  • xra

    is this kid 17

  • Anonymous

    ta.gg/4vh

  • Guy

    ” . . . feeding kale to disabled porpoises.”

    Where can I get his job?

  • http://twitter.com/yuramint stacy k

    love this

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    […] The other four types of pre-meds you will meet, as predicted by Matthew Lin. Brilliant. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on The Strug Life.

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