3 Tips To Help You Survive Medical School

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Medical school is tough and that is something no one can or will deny. The course work is extensive, the hours you are expected to put in are endless and you will find yourself constantly pushing yourself to the limit as you strive to meet your goals. There’s no doubt that it can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding and the work of your workload will often seem overwhelming. However, even with this rigorous schedule, students graduate from medical schools every year and if they can do it so can you. The trick to surviving and succeeding in medical school is to learn how to pace yourself, ask for help when you need it, make time to relax and last but not least, maintain a sense of perspective. 

Laura assisting her mentor in the obstetrics and gynaecology department in Tanzania Tip#1: Pace yourself

Medical students typically fall in either one of two categories based on the way they study – those who study for at least a few hours every day and those who put off all their daily studying and then study for 20 hours a day just before the test. Following the latter schedule can put you under tremendous pressure and leave you too stressed to perform well at the exams. You will find that you will be far better prepared if you pace yourself through the year and keep up with your course work by studying regularly. You will feel less stressed and remember the material better if you have a steady study schedule right through the academic year.   

Tip #2: Ask for help when you need it

Med school coursework is extensive and challenging and the teaching staff knows it. If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed by the stress or you are concerned about your performance, discuss the situation with your advisor or the dean. They will give you sound advice as to the best course of action for you. It could be that just the individual attention and support of a tutor is what you need to get back on track. If you are really struggling to keep up, perhaps your advisor will suggest a way that you can lighten your work load or arrange an alternate schedule that is more conducive for you.

Tip #3: Take a break

We often get caught in a vicious cycle of the more work we have to do, the less time off we take to just relax and catch our breath. However, instead of helping us get caught up with everything, this only serves to make things worse as it is impossible to work at peak efficiency when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Make it a point to set aside a few hours every week to relax and just chill out. It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is only that you enjoy this time that you’ve reserved for yourself. Meet up with friends, catch a movie in the theatre, grab your bike and go for a long ride anywhere that will make you feel refreshed and invigorated. Taking just a short little break from your med school schedule will improve your focus when it’s time to get back to work.

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