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M1 unsure of specialty
Hello! I am a current M1 wrapping up my second semester right now. I have shadowed some residents in both clinic and the OR but I still feel like i don’t really know enough about being a neurosurgeon to commit fully yet. I shadowed for almost 12 hours on my off days but maybe this wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to ask what are some things that I could do to get a better sense of pursuing neurosurgery and what worked for you in finding neurosurg as your fit.
I did not decide to pursue neurosurgery until midway through my third year. I would say trust the medical school process. If you are interested in neurosurgery, shadow and ideally do some research and get to know your home department. However, focus on doing well in your pre-clinical classes (you may not have time to shadow that much and that’s okay) and enjoying all clerkships and trying to picture yourself in every field. Try to do a rotation third year if possible. I don’t think you should be so focused on committing to one specialty so early on. Main things that helped me decide was missing the OR on other rotations, loving neuroanatomy and pathology, feeling as though I fit in on my rotation (as though I had found my people) and giving myself the chance to explore other fields and realizing none of them made me feel the way neurosurgery did. You don’t have to be a crazy person to match into neurosurgery. Enjoy the process and you will know-it just takes time!
It can help to try to shadow and talk with multiple of the subspecialties. The procedures, personalities, and daily lives of spine surgeons is pretty different from the functional guys, same with vascular, tumor, skull base, etc. See if any of those excites you more than the other. Try read some of the latest big papers in the field, get a feel for where the field is going.

I agree with the poster above in that it helps to go through other rotations to have something to compare neurosurgery with. Personally i shadowed other specialties in M1 and M2 so i think i got that comparison early. I will also say, while you don't have to commit at all, it would definitely help to get started on neurosurgery research now to try get papers published as early as possible. That way if you decide during 3rd year to do nsg you'll be set, and if you switch to anesthesia or something else you'll be overqualified.

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