May 16, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
There’s no denying that medical school can be physically and emotionally draining. The long hours, complex courses and hectic schedule leave most medical students feeling tired and drained at some point during the program. You’ve heard about how tough it can be and thought you were prepared for it, but now you’re not so sure. All you can think about is giving it all up and living a ‘normal life’. Should you go ahead and do just that?
The truth is, most medical students go through this stage at least once at some point or another during the course of medical school. Thankfully there is evidence all around us that not everyone gives in to his or her temporary desire to quit medicine. If you are at that stage where you are feeling overwhelmed with it all, take a deep breath and follow these few tips for hanging in there.
Time management from day one is crucial. If you spread your coursework smartly over the course of the semester, you will feel more in control instead of going into a complete meltdown during the various assessments and exams. Start working on your projects as soon as they are assigned so you can pace yourself and work on them for a little while everyday in between your other studies and homework. It’s so much better doing it this way rather than getting stressed trying to complete the entire project in one day.
Reading over every paragraph ten times and closing your eyes and repeating every line is not the best way to get through any professional course. You will be faced with huge reference books and you need to learn how to get through all of them without memorising the contents. The key lies in understanding the content, not in just memorising it. Attempting practice tests and strengthening your concepts will help you remember it all and will also help you when it comes to practical application of the theory.
Give yourself a break sometimes. You don’t always have to be the best at everything you do. Don’t get angry just because you didn’t ace one test or because you failed a course. Instead, be practical and study for the next one. The truth is you don’t have to be the best in your class to become a great doctor. A little healthy competition is good but you should ensure that you don’t go overboard and you know where to draw the line.
Take care of your mind and body. Do not skip meals. Eat healthy and keep a regular check on your weight, eyes, cholesterol and blood sugar. Keep aside an hour to exercise everyday or at least every other day. Even if you have an exam the next day, close those books and go get some fresh air. Go out for a walk, jog, go cycling or swimming- whatever relaxes you. It will give your mind a well-deserved break and leave you feeling fresher and more alert.
If you feel you’ve reached a low point, speak to someone who will offer encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Always remember, with every day that passes you are one day closer to the finish line. Keep a positive attitude and you will power your way through medical school and have a great career after that. It’s just a matter of time, so hang in there!