Being a Medical School Student: fresher preparation
No one knows what medical school is like until you’ve experienced it. There are so many clichés about the workload, the difficulty and the hours, but one fact rarely touched upon is actually how fun being a medical school student can be.
Sure, the work is hard and copious, but at the same time it’s enjoyable and interesting. There is such a mix of people at medical school, ranging from those fresh out of 6th form, to those with multiple degrees already under their belt.
At first, I found it daunting to be the youngest and most inexperienced. Especially seeing as there were experts on topics I had never even heard of. But, luckily the knowledge gained from A levels is a good base to build on.
You must remember to never compare yourself to other medical students, as you’ll only get depressed. It can be really hard going from one of the top performing students in your school (which you are if you’re applying to medicine) to just about average. Try to focus on your own performance and progression. Saying that, because everyone knows how hard the work is, medical students are nearly always willing to help each other out in whatever way they can. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help if you are stuck.
Medicine is extremely challenging and overwhelming at times. There’s no way you can make it through without the help and support of others going through it with you. You very quickly realise that to just scrape a pass in exams, you have to keep abreast of your work right from the beginning. Leaving all the work till the end of the unit, let alone the end of the year, is a sure fire way to fail the January assessments. Doing this would make it even harder to pass in June – and believe me, being a medical student, passing is all you’ll be concerned about.
However, medical school is not all work. Another well known cliché is that being a medical student means that you work hard and play hard. This is absolutely true. Having fun and making friends is really important. The people who don’t go out or join societies burn out very quickly. University is meant to be enjoyable. So don’t spend it cooped up in your room with your head stuck in an anatomy book. At the end of the day, no doctor can survive purely by eating, sleeping and breathing medicine. A work-life balance is just as important as learning about the physiology of the heart.
Being a Medical School Student – Top Tips
So, I’ve come up with four top tips to prepare you for the first few weeks of being a medical school student after the hopeful success of your interviews:
Learn how to cook some basic dishes. They don’t have to be anything fancy. Simple meals will not only keep your morale high but will also earn you points with your new halls mates.
Don’t buy any medical books (unless otherwise told to) until you get to university. There are hundreds of different books with many different styles of which different people prefer. Plus they are expensive even if you’re not a poor student.
Try to get as much sleep as possible. Believe me this can be just as hard as the workload! With your new social life, lectures and practicals, the number of hours you spend asleep quickly start to dwindle. Take every opportunity you can to get some extra sleep. Being tired makes it especially hard to concentrate during lectures…particularly those on physiology.
Some pre-uni advice would be to try not to worry about moving away and living on your own with new people. Once you’re there, everything is fine. I stressed so much about coming to med school, but now I can’t see what I was fussing was about. You’ll have plenty of other stresses once you get there, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the preparation period.
Most importantly, if you do get to be a medical school student, remember how incredibly lucky you are. Let the excitement of this prospect show in your interviews. You need to prove that you want that place at your chosen med school. Think about how you could someday have the privilege to save someone’s life. In the end, that’s what makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Try our online video mock interviews. Once inside our virtual interview room, you'll be posed real interview questions by the Dean Emeritus of the Royal Society of Medicine and other qualified doctors.