Tips on How to Survive Your First Year of Medical School

The first year of medical school can be frightening, but before we delve into some of the most common fears and how to handle them, congratulations! It takes a lot of hard work and determination to reach medical school, but you’ve done it. You are one step closer to becoming a doctor.

Now, the work ahead of you is grueling. You’ll feel overwhelmed – you probably already are. You will work hard and feel as though you have little time for anything else. But the following will help you to survive the difficult (yet completely worthwhile) years you spend in medical school.

Write A Letter to Yourself for Inspiration

During the next few years you will undoubtedly question whether your demanding work is worth it. That is why you need to write yourself this letter. In it, remind yourself why you wanted to become a doctor in the first place.

What is your drive or inspiration as a medical student? Where do you plan on going after medical school? What is it that makes everything worth it? Anytime you feel discouraged, pull that letter out and read it.

Find Some Time to Socialize

When you’re wrapped up in your studies it is easy to forgo socializing. Many people prefer to study alone. They study alone until they go to sleep, and when they wake up it’s time for classes. But this is very unhealthy and can actually have a negative impact on your schooling – as well as your mental health.

Make a little time for your friends and find new ones. Attend school socials and mixers. Even if you can only carve out an hour each week to socialize, do it. You owe it to yourself to have a little fun during these vital years.

Take Care of Yourself

Don’t lose sight of the most important person in your life: you. Go ahead and be selfish once in a while. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and pamper yourself when you have the chance. If you want that long shower, take it. If you feel you could nix your all-night studying this one time for a little fun or a full night’s rest, do it.

Speaking of rest, all-nighters aren’t healthy anyway. Aim for eight hours of sleep each night and skip the late-night studying. Oh, and remember to call your parents and siblings. As proud as they are of you, they miss you. A weekly phone call can help to keep you anchored and give you encouragement.

Practice Humility, Not Arrogance

It is a little-known fact that you will run into some very arrogant, narcissistic people in medical school. As inflated as your head might feel after acing that big test, pop it quick.

Pride in yourself is one thing. Feeling as though you are the be-all end-all is an entirely different thing. Not only will you be difficult to be around (and lose a lot of potential friends) but you’ll eventually dislike yourself, too.

Be Organized

In the first year of medical school alone you will be required to learn around thirteen THOUSAND unfamiliar terms. To handle all this information, you need to ensure you’re organized. Be efficient in your studies. Keep well-written notes. Have a system that works for the way you learn best. Test yourself often.



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