Weekly Whine: Med School Comptetition

If you look around this blog, you’ll notice that I consider myself to be an average medical student (when it comes to academics, in anyway). Clearly, that wasn’t always the case. To gain entrance to this course, students must have exceptional academic and non-academic merit.

High School was competitive. Everybody knew that with the few tertiary institutions in South Africa, doing a little less than their best could very well cost them their future. But regardless, I went out of my way to help my classmates – I explained work to them whenever I could, and we supported each other well.

Recently I’ve become so aware of competition in my class. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of competition. But what I am seeing is students who will step on anyone to reach the top. And I don’t care how badly you want to specialise in a specific field, stepping on others is NEVER justifiable.

The Boy says I live in a dream world. I guess that’s true, and that I have realised more and more recently. People aren’t nice to other people anymore.

There are kids in my class who will look you in the eyes and say, “No, I don’t have any practice-exams” when, in fact, they do.

A while ago some group members and I were preparing for a group presentation. I couldn’t remember the latest PEP-guidelines and asked for a quick reminder. To cut a long story short, they told me that the prophylaxis is two protease-inhibitors. And when that question came up and I answered, they were so quick to jump in with a “No, actually it’s NRTIs”.

It was a group presentation, so they pretty much shot their own marks in the foot.

We have logbooks for clinical procedures to perform. Last year, instead of ensuring that everyone in a group gets equal opportunities to practise their skills, some people would push ahead and do, for example, a gazillion IV-cannulations, and then some poor people hardly had the opportunity to perform the mandatory three.

I get that we all have dreams and aspirations. But our classmates will one day be our colleagues in South African Medicine – where health resources are scarce and thinly distributed. There are way too few doctors (of any specialty) in our country. So surely one should want your  colleagues to be as well equipped as possible?

You can stand tall without standing on anybody.

You can be a victor without having victims.


  1. TrishaDM says:

    I find med school competition ridiculous too. It was rough enough to get there. I don’t get why people have to continue to be so cut throat. My class is fairly good. We help each other out for the most part and share procedures most of the time. Except for a few people. I guess the real world is like that too. I just wish everyone could play nicely and get along.

    1. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels let down when people don’t play nice…

  2. hurtorheal says:

    I completely 100% relate to this post. It was always fine for the other medics to put on me and expect help but if I ever wanted any back I could expect a big fat nothing. There’s something quite wrong with how medics work especially considering that the job is all about people. I find myself praying that certain individuals go into research!
    We all end up with the SAME job. I fought every step of the way to get into medical school, surely that should be the end of the battle?? xxx

    1. EXACTLY! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  3. nazirahidris says:

    I share these sentiments. I don’t get their mindset and I pray I never will.

    1. We’ll make a pact: If we become like that, we fly over to the other’s country and smack them upside the head 😛

      1. nazirahidris says:

        Haha. Yeah, I’ll say yes to that. Gunners are so uncivilised. Knowledge is best shared.

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