What’s It Like to be a Harvard Medical School Student?

People from all over the world have dreamed about going to Harvard Medical School since they were small children, but they rarely take the time to fully understand what it’s like. Here, you can discover some of the best parts of a day in the life of a Harvard student, which will allow you to make better decisions about your own medical education.

A Sense of Accomplishment

Before diving into busy days and incredible expectations, it’s important to first look at the best part of being a Harvard Med student – and that’s the sense of accomplishment. Only about 5% of Harvard applicants are accepted, and when it comes to the prestigious school’s medical program, that number drops to roughly 3% – a very small number, indeed. If you ever doubt your ability to make it through your education as tough as it is, remember that you are one of those 3%. You made it this far based on your sheer determination, your work ethic, and your intelligence, and you can continue to use those things to your advantage to succeed into the future.

Life On Campus

Life on campus isn’t much different from life at any other college according to students who attend Harvard Med. It’s very much a small community where you will eat, sleep, visit your friends, shop, and access pretty much anything you need. There are coffee shops, restaurants, shopping plazas and more within walking distance, and there’s also public transportation to help you get to destinations too far away for a stroll. You will travel to classes by foot, however, and you will need to traverse crowded sidewalks crammed with students and lots of tourists. If you have classes further away from where you live, you can take a shuttle to get you there.

More on Harvard Time

If you’ve ever had a friend or family member who’s attended Harvard, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of “Harvard Time.” For years, classes started exactly seven minutes after their scheduled start times, thus coining the term. However, in the last couple years, faculty voted to end this tradition – and even beforehand, several professors required students to arrive on time despite the tradition. Classes last about 75 minutes and you’ll have 15 minutes to pass between them.

Social Events

Harvard Medical School is no stranger to pride, and because of that, you’ll find numerous social clubs and activities in which to participate. Some of these are designed to help you hone your talents or enjoy your hobbies, but others exist solely to enhance the likelihood that you will succeed. The Student Affairs Committee, for example, exists to promote individual and professional growth of students during their journeys at Harvard Medical School and beyond.

Coursework, Studying, Exams, and Clinicals

There’s no denying that Harvard Medical School is one of the most difficult medical schools in the world. Courses are difficult, even for the brightest students, and studying seems endless as a result. Exams are also among some of the most challenging anywhere on the planet, which means students often feel a great deal of stress in the weeks and days leading up to them. Later in your education, once clinicals get thrown into the mix, you may feel as if sleep has become a luxury rather than a necessity. Nonetheless, it will all be worth it in the end.

Live at Harvard Medical School is not easy, but at the same time, it isn’t as terrifying as you might imagine, either. The sense of pride you will feel each day as you make your way to classes will make up for the difficult exams and nonstop studying, and to top it all off, the landscape is stunningly beautiful. There’s little doubt that your time at Harvard Med will be unforgettable.

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