Tips to Survive First Year of Medical School

It’s the first year of medical school! Everyone around is so excited!! From your parents, to your neighbors, to the distant relative you have never even heard of and of course you, yourself! Its good to be excited, no harm in it. Well you better be careful!

Having faced the first year of medical school myself, here are some tips about how to face the first year of medical school:Take a deep breath, here the rollercoaster of your medical career begins!

1. Be Mentally Prepared

It’s going be really tough! Until your first tests arrive, everything seems amazing, but never let the excitement distract you! Prepare from the very first day, research online, ask from your seniors and note down the details given by your teachers, consume the vast subjects, piece by piece. There are too many books from various writers for the same topics. Go to the library, read some pages from all the books in option, only buy the ones you actually understand and that covers most of the topics in your syllabus. But all the topics are not good in a single book. Your specific college may have specific set of books that it may recommend, great, that will just make your initial search easier. Know what your aim is, although it is going to change over the years, knowing where you want to see yourself after some years is a good motivation. Of course its all easier said than done, but at least you ought to try, you are going to be a doctor someday!

2. Try to Adapt

Medical schools are usually “away from home” as I like to call it. Even if its just some hours away, parents tend to find those hours precious and you end up in hostel, or living near by in rented apartments. You get homesick, miss home food, miss mom, dad, even your pet or even the feel of your own bed. Since we medical students usually have had a nerdy “into the books” type of adolescence, it’s going to be tough. Try to be yourself, but yes be optimistic about new people and new things. Try new things, new food, and you will ultimately find what you like and what you really want to avoid. Well, in all this chaos of your new life, the bonus is: FREEDOM!

3. Make memories

It’s not just books and cadavers and diagrams and practicals in medical school. You meet new people, it’s the starting of a very long friendship since everyone is going to become a doctor someday. Enjoy every second. Make time for family gatherings, involve in social works. Yes of course set your limitations, know when to enjoy yourself and when to shut everything out and study. Divide your 24 hrs with the perfect efficiency, slowly you will see everything coming into place. For the things that you love, you will have to make time.

4. Don’t Mug up, Learn

Learning in Medical School

Don’t force yourself to memorize anything on the first try. Learn it, understand the interlinks between subjects. Worry less about your grades, don’t go for shortcuts. Say no to guides at the starting of the year. Of course you will need them to understand the patterns of questions in the exams and what answers are expected of you. Believe in yourself and your desire to be what you have always wanted to be, a doctor. Keep reminding what you want out of these hard years, don’t panic. Study the books that you understand and make the habit of re-reading, even if there is very low chance of getting an opportunity of re-reading. Everyone has their one way of studying, stick to yours. You will slowly discover more efficient ways of studying than your previous methods. Learn to enjoy, learn to make friends, learn from your surroundings, but understand the right way.

5. Don’t prescribe

Whenever you reach home, your family and friends, will ask you advice about their own health issues. Don’t prescribe them anything as much as possible, you just know anatomy, and all that theory stuff. Be humble and honest, don’t try to act all smart, make them understand how you are just a medical student, advice them and help them understand their symptoms better if you have the capability to and tell them to visit the concerned doctor first when they can.

6. Don’t fall into bad habits

Last but not the least, the pressure from parents, peers and exams is too extreme, don’t break down, don’t make drinking or smoking a habit or even worse, don’t do drugs, but this is the time when it all happens, because I know. Know where you come from, never forget what you are and why you are here. Don’t let go of your studies, don’t ever go a full week without even looking at a book, even if its apocalypse!

Lastly, Enjoy your roller-coaster! There’s a reason you chose this path and I can assure you its going to be awesome. Happy journey, future doctor!