January 5, 2021

The Best of #premed on TikTok

Ryan Kelly

By: Ryan Kelly

Time is a precious commodity for pre-meds, which makes TikTok a pretty interesting choice for their energy and focus.

On one hand, the social media app’s video format is short, so TikTok might be conducive to a pre-med’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle.

But on the other hand, the app is literally named after the sound of a ticking clock, representing the passing time that’s potentially wasting away as you endlessly scroll.

So, should pre-meds be spending time on TikTok? And if so, what’s the content that’s worth watching? 

Full disclosure: traditionally, I have not been the biggest fan of TikTok. In my best moments, I have viewed it with skepticism. In my worst, I have viewed it with disdain. To me, it seemed like TikTok’s content always boiled down to three categories:

  1. Pretty narcissists who enjoy watching themselves dance
  2. Cringey humble brags disguised as motivational inspiration 
  3. Meme-like humor that falsely reduces complex issues into simplistic terms

After creating a TikTok account for research purposes and watching hundreds of videos with the #premed hashtag, I will admit that I somewhat misjudged TikTok.

Of course, I did see plenty of narcissists dancing, many humble brags from people with punchable faces, and several poor, frenetic attempts at humor, but I also found some surprisingly insightful, creative, and emotionally compelling content. 

So, if you don’t mind the occasional mind-numbing, demoralizing view into the techno-seduction of our current era, you’re bound to uncover some hidden gems on TikTok. But you’ll have to do some serious sifting to find the diamonds in the rough. 

Allow me to save you some precious time. Below, I’ve broken down the genres of TikTok videos that I feel are the most useful to pre-meds, along with some example videos from certain content creators.     

The Best of #premed on TikTok

Ethical Dilemmas and Case Studies

These TikTok videos will not only help prepare you for MMI interviews, but they will also expose you to some of the difficult realities you’ll face within the challenging career of medicine: 

Glimpses into Life as a Medical Student or Physician

Medicine can sometimes be glamorized in the media or idolized in the heads of lofty pre-meds, so it’s valuable to gain a clear glimpse into the daily routines, frustrations, struggles, and triumphs of people who are living out your dream career.

This is especially useful right now when in-person shadowing is restricted: 

Creative, Effective Studying Strategies

Sometimes I think that pre-meds spend too much time thinking about how to optimize their studying (as opposed to actually, you know... studying). However, I thought these videos were insightful and could potentially help you rethink your approach and become more efficient: 

Interviewing Tips

These videos certainly can’t substitute foractual practice and mock interviews, but they can provide a useful perspective from the faculty and physicians that will be on the other side of the interview desk or Zoom screen:

Uplifting Inspiration

As mentioned earlier, some of these videos can have the opposite effect if the content creators don’t have the right tone or attitude. However, I found some that should help cheer you up or give you a boost during the rough times:

A Dose of Humility and Humor

Pursuing medicine is something that must be taken seriously, but I think it’s important for pre-meds, medical students, and doctors to have a healthy dose of levity and self-deprecation:Well, there you have it - my brief foray into the world of #premed TikTok.

Well, there you have it - my brief foray into the world of #premed TikTok.

If nothing else, maybe these videos will give you a small moment or respite, diversion, or sanity - isn’t that the whole point, after all? 

Did I miss any of your favorite videos or content creators? Let me know in the comments below!


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