No matter how much you might’ve researched or prepared before starting a medical school, the journey will be still unpredictable as there are a lot of things that you won’t see coming. Talking to seniors, reading blogs, and watching youtube videos of people sharing their Med School experience can be helpful, but every person’s journey is different from the other.
So we decided to conduct a quick survey asking people what they wished they knew about med school before joining one. While there were a lot of things on the list, we narrowed it to the most common 5 Things You Should Know Before Starting Medical School.
Medicine Is Not Everyone’s Cup Of Tea
Every person experiences this field from a different perspective.
When opting for Medicine, make sure you’re 100% sure about this career choice. Ask yourself about your purpose in pursuing this career. Because once you’re in there’s no turning back.
There’s a huge difference between studying and practicing medicine and you need to sacrifice a lot of your personal time. There’re a lot of things you might experience through your journey, like your first patient, night shifts, lack of sleep and the list goes on and on, and if you aren’t sure about the medicine you might scare off easily. But if you’re truly passionate about a career in medicine, you can overcome any hurdle on your way.
Speed Up, You’ve Got A Lot To Learn
It’s a common notion amongst the med students that the first 2 years are the hardest because there’s a lot you need to take in within a short period of time. Memorization will most certainly engulf a large portion of your time during your initial years at the med school.
You’ll have to sit through a lot of exams, so much that you won’t even remember the actual count of exams you appeared in. There’s nothing like a “last exam” in a medical school, every exam is followed by a series of exams creating an endless loop.
You also might want to update your learning strategies to match the pace of medical school. You won’t like to spend a lot of time on this, just the first few weeks would be enough to understand and establish study strategies that will work the best for you. Never refrain from reaching out to your classmates or professors for any help.
Patients Are The Most Valuable Teachers
When you’re in Med school there’s a lot going on and you need to keep up with everything, classes, exams, roundups, etc. It sometimes becomes difficult to cope up and students often end up neglecting one thing that plays a vital role in enhancing their knowledge - Yes! That’s interacting with the patients. It’s not only more engaging than attending lectures and books but will also make you a better doctor.
Sir William Osler wrote in an essay "Books and Men", "He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all."
Interacting and understanding patients can play a pivotal role in cementing your theoretical concepts. Meeting, questioning, examining and treating patients with the issues you learn about in the classroom can help you retain the concepts forever.
It can prove to be fruitful during exams too. When you are presented with a bunch of symptoms and lab findings, recall the similar patients. Take advantage of every opportunity to participate in patient care from your very first day at a medical school.
Medical Schools Are Cooperative
You might say, “I’m not a competitive person”, but it’s human nature to constantly compare himself with others. I mean, who doesn’t like to be the best?
Medical schools are more cooperative in nature than competitive. Because in the end, you all are working towards the same goal - Healthy Patients!
Everyone there has gone through a similar journey or maybe even more difficult than yours and thus everyone’s as deserving as you. If you keep the competitive bug inside you in silent mode, you will probably learn a lot from your classmates and colleagues. In fact, medical schools themselves recognize healthcare as a team sport and encourage collaboration among their students.
You will be surrounded by some of the smartest people so instead of competing with them, try to learn and adapt to the best of their habits, because, honestly, you aren’t the only goldfish in the pond.
Take Care Of Yourself
Taking care of yourself has different meanings. You need to be healthy both mentally and physically. Take enough rest and during your free time try to indulge yourself in extracurricular activities.
Getting adequate sleep, exercise, because you’ve got a long way to go and you’ll be unable to provide care for others if you aren’t healthy yourself. You don’t necessarily have to put yourself in the textbook loop. All you need to do is manage your time well so you get enough time for yourself too.
While it’s no secret that getting into medical schools and then surviving it can be difficult, with the right attitude and zeal you can conquer anything.