As a Howard University College of Medicine student I regularly attend the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. Recently Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III gave a sermon on “keeping your ship afloat” with one of the most important tenants being: “know your crew.”
As a graduate student this tip was by far the most important and the one I knew I had to share with the Tour for Diversity family. Each year thousands of minorities apply to medical school and a smaller portion actually make it into medical school. As someone who has gone through the entire process I must say knowing my “crew” was as important as knowing myself. You may ask how this may be important, but allow me to explain.
While studying for the MCAT there were several times I wanted to break down and give up. Each time the thought even crossed my mind one of my friends quickly stepped in, reminded me of why I was doing it, and helped me adjust my study techniques accordingly. After the MCAT my crew provided me with housing while on the interview trail, tips and tricks, and even financial assistance. While in medical school my crew served as a constant crutch and an ever faithful source and reminder of the real world. They were my eyes and ears and at times, even my heart.
While all of this is great for me I wanted to leave everyone reading this blog with a few simple tips of how to identify a stellar crew for themselves. First and foremost, you should always abide by the age old standard, steel sharpens steel. As mostly young adults it is essential to make sure those you surround yourself with have similar dreams as you. It isn’t necessary that everybody around you wants to go to medical school, but it is necessary to make sure everyone around you has a dream. Without a dream to strive for a person is left with plenty of idle time and that idle time WILL translate into distraction time for you.
My second tip is to make sure that your crew holds the same standards and morals as you do. Having a dream is great, but if ones morals aren’t in line with their friends, that leaves the opportunity for conflict. There are few things more awkward than having to challenge a friend on moral or ethical topics while studying for a test. This decision will also dictate the advice your friends will give you and as a future physician illegal advice is never beneficial.
Finally, sticking with the analogy of the crew on a ship, the most important reason you have a crew on a ship is to make sure everyone gets to their destination. You should always surround yourself with a crew that you would be willing to pray for, uplift, and support at every instant. You would never want to see an empty ship in port without a crew…that says a lot about the captain.