Tips for Surviving the First Year of Medical School

Being accepted into medical school is a great accomplishment, and you’ll be happy to start on your path toward your dream. However, medical school is different than your undergraduate years in many ways. What do you need to survive and thrive during that first year of medical school?

Limit Other Obligations

Having an array of jobs, activities and other obligations might have worked when you were still a senior in college. However, you need to cut back on as many of these other obligations as possible. Medical school is going to take up a lot of your time, and you are going to need to maintain high grades. Having other distractions really threatens your chances of being successful. If you must have a job, try to find a school sponsored one related to your field of study.

Having Support

This American Medical Association’s article emphasizes the importance of having a support system. This system could come in many different forms. For example, you might study with a group of dedicated individuals before a big exam, or you might establish a network of professors with whom you can consult for advice. Essentially, you do not want to feel as though you’re alone.

A Specific Field

Hamilton also suggests choosing a specific field that you would like to study. When you are working in a field you love, you’re more likely to enjoy the work and feel a great deal of satisfaction with your accomplishments. Furthermore, you’ll be starting to build your future life for yourself and will be able to envision it. For example, when you are picking your specialty, you will want to consider what you like and do not like but also what you want your family life to be like and what you envision your schedule to be.

Intertwining Your Social Life and Studies

When entering into a new school, young adults are often very concerned about making friends. Forming strong social bonds can be a major part of making it through medical school successfully; however, the social component cannot take over the studying aspect. Instead, you need to find ways to weave them together. For example, becoming close with a lab partner helps to make the projects easier. Meeting people in a couple of your classes can lead to study sessions before the big exam. Yes, in some ways, these fields must stay separate, but you should try to at least partially blend them together.

The Basic Classes

Another component that Hamilton discusses are the basic classes you will have to take. She notes that most medical schools require you to take the same courses at the very beginning, and you do not have a choice in the matter. Therefore, before you even enter into your first year of medical school, you can start learning some background information in these courses. Naturally, different professors and schools may very well have varying ways of providing the information, but you will have some of the building blocks you need to have higher levels of success in the courses. If you know you have a particular weakness with one of the subjects, focus on learning more about that area.

Medical school can seem scary and overwhelming before you start and even while you’re in the middle of it. Follow these steps to help make that first year a bit easier and certainly more successful.

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