Dr. Alddo Molinar on How to Thrive in Medical School and Residency

The path to becoming a doctor has a reputation for being, well, hard. While that reputation is a recognition of the very real challenges one encounters while pursuing the career, it doesn’t mean you can’t thrive while undertaking this journey. As with most things in life, one of the best ways to gain insights on walking this path is to look for information from those who have been there before. To this end, we’ve gathered tips from Dr. Alddo Molinar, a respected anesthesiologist practicing medicine in Ohio. Read on for a helpful overview on how to increase your chances to thrive in medical school, residency, and beyond.

Find your motivation

The first thing you’ll probably want to answer for yourself when pursuing a career as a doctor is why exactly you want to do so. If you don’t have a strong answer for this question, you may find it difficult to overcome the obstacles you’ll find along the way. In contrast, a strong motivation can be a point of focus that will help guide you when the going gets tough. Use that motivation as a touchstone to come back to when you have the inevitable doubts along the way. Once you get through them, you’ll be that much stronger and more focused on your ultimate goal.

For Dr. Alddo Molinar, his motivation has come from his experiences as a child witnessing illness crop up in his own family. Seeing his grandmother go through the tragic effects of cancer had a profound effect on him and illustrated how an illness not only affects the patient but also their family. From that experience, he vowed to dedicate himself to a career helping to alleviate suffering in others. That vow eventually led him to shadow health professionals at the Rio Grande Health Clinic in El Paso, Texas. The two experiences together cemented his desire to become a doctor and helped to keep him motivated throughout medical school and residency.

Treat school like a job

While there’s plenty of structure in medical school that comes in the form of lectures, labs, and other formal educational activities, there’s plenty left up to the student in terms of how they want to study. This can be dangerous territory for individuals who haven’t yet mastered how to manage their own time. It’s an all too common story that many medical students fall behind simply because they aren’t able to make their studies a top priority. Instead, these students dig themselves into a hole that eventually becomes too deep to climb out of.

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For this reason, the doctor advocates that medical students think of their studies in the same way as they would a job. Blocking out specific blocks of time for study and other school-related activities. By making sure that these educational pursuits are their top priority, students can give themselves the best chance of thriving in their activities and achieving high grades. This can in turn translate to preferred placement in residency programs and can ultimately help to guide the trajectory of one’s career. Having this understanding from the start can go a long way towards building up one’s chances of success.

Don’t compare yourself to others

The career trajectory outlined above is a great goal to shoot for and keeping it in mind can help to guide you down a path of success, but it can also be damaging if you start to focus on the trajectories of others. The simple fact of the matter is that we are all endowed with different skillsets and talents. Comparing your skills to those of a classmate is an easy way to develop a sense of inferiority. Rather than making yourself feel bad about areas in which you might not be performing as well as you’d like, it can pay to focus on your own talents and to build your self-esteem through celebrating your strengths.

This has been a guiding principle in the doctor’s life as well and one that has helped contribute to his own high degree of success. Throughout medical school and beyond, he has made it a point to not waste energy comparing himself to others but rather to invest his attention in his own efforts. This has, in turn, made him more able to complete those efforts and has helped him land a coveted residency at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. This goes to show that by avoiding comparison, you can actually make yourself better off in the process.

Balance your professional life

It’s important to find a specialty and work to attain a high level of proficiency in that area. Not only will this qualify you for a particular subset of medicine when it comes time to practice, it will also help you achieve a high level of expertise. However, it also pays to engage in additional training in subspecialties to help round out your set of skills. This will give you a more complete picture of the field of medicine and it can also help guide your choices both inside and outside of your specialty.

Again, the work of Dr. Alddo Molinar helps to illustrate this point. While undertaking training at the Cleveland Clinic, he made sure to seek additional education in areas beyond his main concentration of anesthesiology. This included training in neurological and cardiovascular intensive care as well as a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine. By expanding his medical knowledge in this way, he’s equipped himself to be a more effective doctor that can cater to a wider range of patients. In essence, it’s helped him thrive in his career by building a solid foundation of expertise during his formal education.

While the path to becoming a doctor can, of course, be challenging, there are plenty of habits you can adopt to ensure your chances for success. These include finding your motivation, treating your education as a profession, resisting the temptation to compare yourself to others, and finding balance in life. The example set by Dr. Alddo Molinar in each of these areas can help to illustrate how they can be so influential for those seeking a career in the field of medicine. Keep these examples in mind as you navigate your own path in order to improve your chances for a professional life that is both satisfying and fulfilling.