You may think that the start of medical school signals the start of a tough five-year slog: stuck in the library day after day, surrounded by a wall of textbooks, no social life. You’ll have heaps of work to do and no time to spend with your friends, right? Think again!
In reality, it may be more challenging to fit everything in, but you’ll still have plenty of time to have fun and pursue all your interests. It’s all about finding that all-important balance and, as a medical student, you’ll become an expert at maximising your time to do everything that matters to you.
You might have heard rumours of med students revising 24/7 to keep on top of work. This is by no means necessary (nor healthy!) to do. Although it is important to dedicate enough time revising, you can keep on top of things perfectly fine while still keeping hold of your sleep and sanity.
Working efficiently is key. Rather than focussing on the number of hours you put in, maximise each study period and be consistent. You’ll definitely thank your past-self for revising content throughout the year during the weeks leading up to your exams.
Competition to get into medical school is tough but, once you’re in, you can put that behind you. Of course, everyone is working hard to do well and be the best they can be. However, nobody is really trying to outdo anyone else.
From my experience, there’s more a feeling of camaraderie knowing that you’re all in the same boat striving for a common goal. Medics are usually very supportive of one another and working together is always very helpful!
The thought of starting university with a cohort of intelligent, well-rounded, enthusiastic people can be daunting. You might hear people talking about all the extra reading they’ve done over summer, crazy bits of work experience they’ve done, and so on.
But don’t worry, it’s not always as it seems, and you don’t need to compare yourself to others. Everyone has the ‘am I good enough to be here?’ thoughts at some point. Just remember, you didn’t make your way into med school by accident, you were picked for a reason!
The transition from big fish, small pond to small fish, big pond can take some adjusting to, but it is more often a good thing than not. You’ll be surrounded passionate, like-minded people every day, which is a great environment to learn new things and broaden your horizons.
People sometimes say this because marks from first year don’t usually ‘count’ towards your final result. However, it’s always good to start off on the right foot. First year is an important learning curve and the perfect time to set yourself on the right path for that all-important ‘lifelong learning’.
Med school is a perfect case of getting out what you put in. You could do minimal work and scrape through exams, but is that really what you want? No, of course not! It’s such an exciting time to kickstart the rest of your life, so why not learn as much important content as possible? Your future patients will definitely thank you!
Being a doctor requires dedication and commitment to your patients, so it’s great to adopt the same attitude towards learning.
Words: Louisa Lee
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