“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”..Albert Einstein
The most difficult section on the MCAT ( medical college admission test) for pre meds is the verbal section. The verbal section tests reading comprehension of non science material. Reading comprehension of non science material requires a certain intelligence that most medical students lack.
Medical school requires 2 types of intelligence and 1 type of character trait. It requires the intelligence to memorize vast amounts of information, the ability to integrate the material just memorized, and the character trait of obedience to authority. You have to be unquestioning. You can not go against convention and question the status qou. The people that do not want to change the world will be able to adapt to the medical school environment the best (unless you are research MD/Phd). Most medical students have no clue of world history, revolution or current events. Understanding current events is academically deleterious. If they did, it would distract from the overwhelming amount of time needed to memorize vast amounts of medical facts. The personality types attract to medicine are not the type of people that are politically active. They are matter of fact and invest little time in wondering how society came to exist and how they can improve it.
The people most miserable in medical school have a certain type of intelligence and posses a particular behavioral trait. The type of intelligence these people have is not detail oriented. It is the intelligence of big picture thinking. They can identify over arching themes in society, politics and economics. These people possess the behavioral trait of questioning authority. They are often idealist and are politically aware. They would rather debate the merits of socialism vs capitalism than debate the merits of thiazides vs loop diuretics. Analyzing complex social phenomena is their forte. They will enjoy talking to you about the details of universal healthcare policy but would not enjoy talking about the cardiac cycle. Somehow these people slipped through the admission cracks and ended up in medical school.
It is a rare event to meet a big picture thinking type of person in medical school. When I do it is like meeting a reflection of myself. Most of the time we are miserable. Big picture people are miserable in medical school because we feel caged. With so much going on in world we long to be in the action and help change the course of history. We would rather be at a protest than be at bedside. Both places are noble places to be, but we just prefer the protest. I am glad that most people in medical school are not like Che Guevara (i don’t necessarily agree with Che’s actions but he is an example of a former medical student). It its best that they are not very revolutionary. You would not be able to study so much if you wanted to change the world. You would feel ineffectual. We need people that have the intelligence to memorize vast amounts of information and the docility to go with the flow. Our society depends on it. But society also needs big picture thinkers. The worst place for big picture thinkers is in medical school.
Both types of people are intelligent. They are just intelligent in different ways. If you put them out of their element they will not thrive. It would be torture to place a science medical school gunner type in a creative writing session. It would also be torture to place a creative writer guy in a lecture about glycolysis.