Achieving Your Goals in Medical School & Beyond
There are a number of goals that most medical students have in common: helping the wider community and succeeding in school being chiefly among them. Offering her insights on how to achieve both of these worthy goals is fourth-year osteopathic student, Crystel Harb. Check out Crystel’s blog post below where she offers her insights on how to achieve your goals in medical school and beyond.
We all know there is no perfect path into or through medical school. As graduation day draws near, these words have never been truer.
My name is Crystel Harb and I am currently a fourth-year osteopathic medical student in Texas recently matched into a Family Medicine residency program. I’m also a Professor of Public Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas and recently published my first academic textbook on Public Health Epidemiology.
These last few years have been an incredible journey and I would like to share some of the learnings I picked up along the way so you, too, can achieve your goals.
Know your motivation
Throughout my studies, I was taught that medical education exists to ensure the health of the community and my medical school journey has been based on this idea. My ultimate goal is to equip people with the proper skills and tools necessary for combating disease and promoting public and global health. This is why, after moving to the US with my family, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s Degree in Public Health Epidemiology with a concentration in Global Health. At this point, I knew my ultimate goal was medicine and my passion was teaching. Medicine is all about life-long learning and to teach is to learn!
Whether your goal is to serve a particular community, to further research in a specific field, or something else entirely, having clear motivation is the best way to ensure success.
Tips for the writers out there
During the pandemic, I was able to combine my two great areas of interest: public health and medicine. This resulted in the publication of my first academic textbook. Whether you have goals to publish clinical research or work on medical studies, here’s what I learned that will help you on your journey:
Devote 1-2 hours a week to the writing process and reviewing the current literature
Determine the best type of paper you are capable of writing within your time constraints
Select a topic you are passionate about and research everything you need to know about this
Ask a mentor or faculty member to review your work and select an appropriate journal to submit for publication
Be prepared to revise your work, edit, and re-edit endlessly until your manuscript is ready
Find your support network
For many people, it's family that keeps them grounded and reminds them how far they have come. Friends or mentors can help support you in exactly the same way. This was certainly the case for me. I sought out support from my family who reminded me that I have faced several obstacles in life so far and have overcome them, leading me to where I am today.
Create specific goals
Setting goals is the key to success. Once your goals are firmly established, look for opportunities and experiences that will help you reach them.
For me, participating in research internships and practicing health promotion and education are the experiences that drive me to achieve my long-term goal: to incorporate the fields of Public Health and Medicine into my daily clinical practice and provide a higher quality of life for all patients that is all-encompassing and extends into their daily life.
A final word of advice
My advice: Create your own opportunity rather than wait for it. You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times and to endure failure. But nevertheless, persist!
About the Author: Crystel is a fourth-year medical student at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine and currently matched into her #1 Family Medicine Residency. She is passionate about medical education, mentorship, and increasing public health awareness globally! For more tips and tricks, follow her on Instagram @HealthByHarb.