Your first month in Medical School – It’s not College!

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It may have been your dream for a long time to attend medical school. Now that you are there, it may be a little more stressful than you imagined. It is normal to feel a little overwhelmed when you first arrive at med school. It’s very likely you will not know anyone and are living somewhere new. Combine the changes with all the classes and assignments you have to complete, and it can be a bit of an adjustment.

It takes most students a little bit of time to adjust to med school. During your first few months of school, you may run the gambit of emotions from excited to homesick. Self-doubt may also creep into your mind. The good news is, there are several things you can do to help make the transition to med school easier.

Zero in on what you really need to know: There can be overwhelming amounts of information thrown at you during med school. It may seem impossible to learn everything. Although you should try to do your best to retain as much information as possible, it is helpful to determine what is clinically relevant and focus on that information.

Realize med school is not just like college: Classes can often be more rigorous than the ones you took during your undergrad years. Before you fall behind, it is helpful to understand you may need to put more time into studying. If you had good study habits in college, it might be an easy transition to med school.  

Become involved:  Although you will be busy during med school, try to get involved in campus life. Consider joining an intermural sports team or campus club. Getting involved in activities early may help you feel more at home.

Get to know your classmates: Your classmates may be various ages and come from different walks of life with varied life experiences. There is a lot you can learn from your fellow students. Getting to know people and making friends will make the transition to med school easier. Not only will you have study pals, but you also develop a support system of people who are in the same situation.

Take care of yourself from the start: It is easy to start skipping meals or eating junk food when you are busy getting adjusted to medical school. Exercise and sleep may also fall by the wayside. But you will be better prepared to handle the adjustment to medical school if you feel well. Right from the start, try to maintain healthy habits. Keep in mind, med school is a marathon, not a sprint. It will be a long four years if you feel unhealthy and exhausted. 

Relax a little: If you are a perfectionist, which many med students are, relaxing may be a little difficult. But worrying about everything will not make med school easier. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. Don’t stress over every test or assignment. Do your best and believe you were accepted to med school for a reason. 

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