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You’re More Than Your Step 1 Score

As rising third-year Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine students prepare to begin clerkship rotations, fourth-year tasks and residencies may not be top of mind. That’s why Anita Pokorny, assistant dean of students, gently reminds everyone at the beginning of their third year to “begin with the end in mind.”

During the two weeks leading up to the beginning of clerkships, rising third-year medicine students attend NEOMED’s Boot Camp, which teaches them practical, hands-on skills such as inserting laryngeal tubes, performing chest compressions or sewing sutures — all skills they will need soon in clinical settings with real patients. At Pokorny’s “Habits of Successfully Matched Students” presentation, she offers advice to help students keep their eye on the future as they progress through clerkship rotations.

Pokorny encourages students to reflect on each clerkship experience in the context of the bigger picture: what they’d like their next step in medicine to be. Pokorny also reassures the students that whatever choice they make, it doesn’t have to define the rest of their lives.

And when it comes to academic performance, Pokorny eases anxieties by telling students, “I promise, you are more than your Step 1 score.”

Below are a few additional pieces of advice she offers each class:

  • Don’t make a specialty decision purely based on lifestyle. Make sure it’s satisfying, too.
  • Follow your curiosity. Not everyone will have a eureka moment when their future becomes clear.
  • Trust your instincts. There are a handful of grads every year who change their specialty.
  • Network, network, network. The best way to break the ice? Ask for advice.