Medical school can be brutal, so it pays to know a few shortcuts along the way. Here are just five tips for building the foundation of your future career while also retaining your sanity in a tough, hyper-competitive atmosphere.
1. Figure Out Your Learning Style
Maybe you’re a visual learner who needs charts, graphs and lists to commit things to memory. Maybe you’re an audio learner who always retains verbal lectures better than written notes. Maybe you’re a kinesthetic learner who just likes putting your hands in a pile of guts! It doesn’t matter what your learning style is; just embrace it and utilize it as you work your way through med school. Don’t waste time trying to conform to study practices that are ineffective for your own method of learning. It’s the academic equivalent of forcing yourself to walk in a pair of ill-fitting shoes.
2. Minimize Distractions
Med school will be one of the most difficult periods of your life, so don’t go into orientation thinking that it’ll be just like undergrad. Even if you were able to party and study in equal measure while obtaining your bachelor’s degree, becoming a doctor will require a higher level of dedication. Tell your friends not to expect you at any keggers any time soon, and make it clear to your roommates that you mean it when you say “no noise after 10PM.” This is your future on the line.
3. Hold Onto Your Motivation
Why do you want to practice medicine? What dreams and desires get you out of bed in the morning? You’ll face a lot of challenges in med school, and it helps to have comforting thoughts to cling to during your bad days. Do you like envisioning your mother’s face when you come home with a medical license? Are you energized by the thought of giving back to your rural community once you’re an official doctor? Whatever your motivation, keep it at the forefront of your mind when times are tough.
4. Take A Minute to Recharge
No one can study 24/7, especially when the subjects are deep, heavy and full of medical terminology. It’s important to give your brain a rest every now and then. It doesn’t have to be a full weekend of leisure; it can be as simple as wrapping yourself in a blanket and turning off your phone for a two-hour nap. Just be sure to carve out some measure of time for yourself so that you can relieve the stress building up in your body.
5. Reach Out to Others
It’s not uncommon for med schools to have formal mentoring programs where young people are connected with older, more established professionals in their area of specialization. There are also a number of clubs, internships and student organizations that you can look into when beginning your network of acquaintances and contacts. There are all kinds of resources available when it comes to career advice for medical students, so don’t be afraid to grasp them with both hands.
These are just a few tips, habits and suggestions for succeeding in med school. Whether you’re nearing completion with your healthcare degree or just starting to look at potential med schools, use these guidelines as building blocks for your future career.