Recent fourth-year matcher Ben Monson of University of Nebraska Medical Center graces us with his wise words on finding success and happiness in medical school and beyond.
1. Tell us about yourself: Where are you from? What is your undergraduate degree and where did you receive it? Did you do anything between undergraduate and medical school?
Ben Monson: My name is Ben Monson and I’m from Papillion, Nebraska. I completed my undergraduate education at Iowa State University where I majored in kinesiology and exercise science. After graduating from college I worked at a golf course for one last summer and then started my first year at University of Nebraska Medical Center. After my second year of school, I married Shawna Maher who I met at Iowa State. She is a teacher in the Millard Public Schools system and we have been happily married for nearly two years.
2. What residency program will you be joining and where?
BM: I will start a three year internal medicine residency at UNMC this coming July.
3. What would you say to the young and naïve “first year you”?
BM: The first five weeks is absolutely hands down the hardest part of the whole four year experience. Once you get through those — and you will — the rest is progressively easier and the time flies by.
4. What things did you do that you believe were valuable to succeed the first two years in the classroom?
BM: Do as many practice questions as you can get your hands on. Definitely for Step 1 and Step 2 but really for any upcoming test.
5. What things did you do that you believe were valuable to succeed the second two years through clinical rotations?
BM: The third-year rotations are really the bread and butter of medical school. At that point you are already used to working your tail off so continue to do so. Be yourself in front of the residents and attendings and all will go smoothly.
6. What was your level of involvement in research and other extracurricular activities, and your opinion on how important that involvement is?
BM: I only had one research project prior to medical school and didn’t do any during my four years, although I did present a poster on the project I had done the summer prior to starting. On the other hand, I was very involved in many other extracurricular activities (Phi Rho president, social chair, AMA recruitment chair, SHARING clinic, community service projects, my church, etc). People want to know what you do with your time outside the classroom, so as long as you have something positive to say I think programs are happy to see that.
7. What attracted you to your chosen specialty?
span class=”ins cts-1″ title=”Inserted by Christopher Deans – 04/23/2014 5:37pm” data-cid=”61″ data-userid=”545″ data-username=”Christopher Deans” data-time=”1398292632899″>BM: I enjoy how internal medicine covers the whole spectrum of medicine, many diseases of several different body systems. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted to specialize and internal medicine allows me to put that decision off another 1.5 years. Finally, I looked at the lives of the residents and attending physicians and saw myself (and my wife) being very happy in their shoes.
8. What attracted you to your residency program?
BM: The people in it. I enjoyed all of my interactions with the people in the specialty and saw myself being very happy if given the opportunity to join them.
9. What things did you do to maintain your sanity in medical school?
BM: Work hard, play hard has gone a long way for me. Exercise is also a must; I always work out five times per week regardless of my schedule because it’s a great way to let yourself vent and also stay healthy. I always stopped doing anything related to medical school after 9 to 10 p.m. the first two years and 7 to 8 p.m. the third year (pretty much 2 p.m. most of the fourth year). Additionally, keep your friends and family close.