By Mary Agapides
A great way to explore your medical interests is by joining student groups and societies. Every university will have slightly different groups available, but hopefully, there will be something that suits you!
Potential groups may include emergency Medicine, rural practice, surgery or paediatrics. These groups typically run meetings, information sessions, social events and, advertise special opportunities. They’re a great way to meet other medical students with similar interests to you!
There may be other interests or hobbies you would like to involve yourself in while studying Medicine. Many universities offer great co-curricular activities and student societies. Look out for sporting, special interest, religious or cultural groups. They can be a great way to relax and unwind from studying.
Medical School does involve a lot of studying, especially in the early years. You will need to tackle large volumes of content and learn lots of new skills. Solo studying is important, but don’t forget or overlook the benefits of studying in groups. It will help you engage with content, concentrate on the right areas and enable you to share knowledge with your peers.
It is particularly important to study together in preparation for clinical exams. Practising your patient history taking and examination skills is much easier when you’ve got a buddy to work with. It also helps you and your peers to fine-tune your skills and give feedback to each other.
Taking on leadership roles is a great way to get involved in Medical School. They teach and equip you with skills, such as advocacy, teamwork and organisation. Leadership positions are also a great way to boost your CV.
There are many different areas that leadership roles will be available in. Look out for positions in student interest groups, as a year/course representative or at the hospital where you have a placement. It is a great opportunity to choose a leadership role that aligns with your career interests!
Remember that these roles can involve a lot of work and take up extra time. Consider your studies and other commitments before deciding to take on a leadership role.
Having lots of responsibilities may require extra organisation and time management skills. It can all be juggled, but make sure it’s the right choice for you before taking on the leadership role.
As a Medical Student, you may be offered opportunities outside of your compulsory course. These can include formal opportunities requiring an application or informal offers from a connection you have made.
Things to look out for include additional medical placements, scholarships or training courses. You may be asked to assist in surgery, visit a Doctor’s practice or attend a special education session. It could be a special interest conference, social event or opportunity to express your opinion on a panel.
Opportunities will be advertised through student groups, the university, your hospital placements and via your peers. If it’s something you’re interested in and have time for, give it a go!
Be conscious that your compulsory course requirements still need to be completed along with any of your extra opportunities.
Medical School brings lots of exciting, new experiences but it is also a lot of hard work! It is important to strike the balance between getting involved and focusing on your studies. Take time to complete your assessment tasks, learn content and prepare for exams.
Many students often have other commitments to balance as well. Be mindful of what is important to you alongside your studies and give yourself the time you need. It may be family, work, hobbies, friends or other commitments you need to focus on.
Make sure you also make time to rest, relax and do things you enjoy outside of Medical School. This may include exercise, leisure activities or treating yourself. Getting involved and making the most of your studies is important but looking after yourself comes first!
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