What to Expect
How to Prepare
Attending medical school is a big commitment. During the first and second
year, most weekdays you can expect to be in lectures and labs ranging from
anatomy, pathology to microbiology.
You will also have research projects and you'll spend most evenings with
your nose in the books. Expect four to six hours of study each night.
In addition to learning information that traditional medical students need
to learn, osteopathic students are also required to master osteopathic manipulative
treatment (OMT). In the third and fourth years, you may get more hands-on
experience working in hospitals.
Michelle Mora is a second-year student at Touro University's College of
Osteopathic Medicine. She is still trying to narrow down her options about
what she will do when she graduates. "I do know that I would like the opportunity
to work in a county clinic or [with] other under-served populations," says
Information overload is a common complaint of medical students. "I think
probably the hardest part has been having to deal with the sheer volume of
information and retaining as much as you can," says Mora. When she needs a
break, she plays a video game. "There is a lot to learn and not a lot of time
to do it in. The stress can really get to you."
Andrew Wiley agrees. He is also a second-year student at Touro University's
College of Osteopathic Medicine. "What worked for me is just keeping in mind
that all the work is worth it; in the end you will be a doctor, and whether
you get all As doesn't really matter," says Wiley.
Medical school can be very expensive, so students are always looking for
ways to save. "Picking a school in an area with lower living costs will reduce
the living expenses," suggests Jennie Shen. She's a second-year osteopathic
medical student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
Wiley goes to school in California. He says the expenses really add up
as the cost of living is quite high.
"As far as tips for saving money, a few things that I have
found are carpooling, not eating out, and sharing textbooks," Mora recommends.
She is originally from Colorado, so she spends a lot of money on plane tickets
flying home from California.
"Overall, you just have to look at medical school as an investment and
try not to get too caught up in the costs and the amount of debt you are taking
on," says Wiley, adding that it isn't unusual to have $200,000 worth of debt
by the time you graduate.
"Any courses or volunteer opportunities that allow you to be exposed to
the health care field will be beneficial," recommends Shen. "I took a sports
medicine option in high school and found that extremely helpful in terms of
introducing me to muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments of the body. Any exposure
to anatomy will be very helpful. Osteopathic medical schools place great emphasis
on the study of musculoskeletal system."