Published on 1st January 2019 by Maria Correa

Happy new year

For most aspiring medics, 2019 will probably be a bit of a roller-coaster! By December, you could be at medical school or at your dream university for an interview! How crazy is that?

It is normal to enter this period of your life feeling anxious, uncertain and scared of the potential changes. A lot can happen in a year, so here are a few resolutions to help you on your way!

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1. Have Self-Confidence

New Year’s Resolution: Believe that you are capable. You ARE going to make it!

“Whether you believe you can, or you believe you cannot – you are right.”

The medicine application process requires a certain amount of resilience, confidence and drive. For any future or current medical applicants, these three characteristics are ones you should aspire to have.

I whole-heartedly believe that the difference between success and failure is the self-belief that you ARE going to make it, taking this belief and putting it into everything you do.

How do you build this self-confidence? Little steps every day, gaining experiences, knowledge and staying positive.

See Top 6 Medical TV Shows To Watch Over Christmas

2. Work Experience: Get Comfortable With Discomfort

New Year’s Resolution: Gain as much work experience as possible until the uncomfortable feels comfortable!

As a medic, you will face situations that will feel out of your depth and uncomfortable. Work experience is the perfect way to learn how to face these situations with confidence!

Although scary, it is hugely beneficial to put yourself into positions that are new and make you feel a little nervous.  

This does not have to be dramatic! If you have never worked before, you could volunteer at a charity shop. If you are not used to leadership, you could apply for a position on a school committee. Before you know it, the confidence and skills you gain from one experience will drive you to apply for something even bigger! (The characteristics you gain from this process will also shine through at interview.)   

Read Our Guide To Medical Work Experience

3. Stay Interested and Engaged! 

New Year’s Resolution: Stay enthused about medicine, keeping up-to-date with medical news!

It’s easy to get into a tick-box frame of mind when it comes to medicine applications. Ensure you do things that remind you of your enthusiasm for this field. Whether that be reading, volunteering/working in healthcare or maybe just watching your guilty-pleasure med TV show. Do not let medicine become a chore!

Keeping up to date with recent medical news and breakthroughs is a way of preparing for your application/interview whilst also finding out about exciting new advances!

Taking a revision break? Read 5 Favourite Fictional Medics

4. Make a Realistic Academic Plan

New Year’s Resolution: Make a realistic plan for revision, exam prep and admissions tests. Try to stick to it!

January is a great time to harness that ‘new year, new me’ energy and get a realistic plan together.  The aim is to do your absolute best in these upcoming exams and admissions tests! However, the key word is realistic. Do not schedule yourself to revise 15 hours a day.

You know how you work – if you are a night person do not schedule in a 7am revision session (ew). Make sure to also schedule in days off and time for socialising and relaxing!

Identify areas for improvement and make sure to ask for necessary support. It is also useful to have mini-goals and rewards to keep motivated!

Want holiday revision tips? Read What Every Aspiring Medic Should Do Over the Christmas Break

5. Work Experience: Grab Every Opportunity

New Year’s Resolution: Be brave enough to say yes to new experiences and actively seek opportunities!

Opportunities rarely present to people who are not actively seeking experience. Say yes to the atypical experiences and be enthusiastic about them! Through knowing a new set of people and being in a new environment, you can effortlessly encounter new opportunities.

A whole wealth of experiences are available to you, you just have to get your foot in the door!

The key is to be brave enough to say yes. The initial position you take may be something that you would not typically want to do. However, the experiences that stem from it can be endless!

As a personal example – I joined a youth council, which in all honesty isn’t my cup of tea. As a result, I got myself into a group at the hospital that shaped youth services, which in turn allowed me to speak at a big NHS conference in London. Go for the opportunities that you find: you never know where they will lead!

See also: How Much Work Experience Do You Need for a Competitive Application?

6. Look After Yourself!

New Year’s Resolution: Look after mental and physical health, asking for help if you need it.

Balancing academics, work experience, extra-curricular activities, UCAS, admissions tests, family, friends and your health is one enormous task! It can feel overwhelming and sometimes impossible to keep all of those plates spinning at once.

Above all, your own mental and physical health is more important than any grade or application.

There are many strategies and sources of help that mean you can achieve your dreams whilst also keeping healthy and well. A good support system will always help, whether that be from school, friends or home!

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings you success and happiness!

Words: Katie Burrell

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