Adjusting to medical school

March 24, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

See current opportunities

medical school studying

Attending medical school has probably been your dream for a long time; something you’ve been working towards for many years. But, now that you’re there, it may be more stressful than you imagined.

It’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed when you first arrive at university (regardless of your subject). It’s very likely you will not know anyone, and are living somewhere new. Combine those 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 get accustomed to med school. During your first few months, 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.

Prioritise information

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’s helpful to determine what is clinically relevant and focus on that information.

Define your study schedule

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.

Get 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.

Make friends

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 individuals who are in the same situation.

Take care of yourself

It is easy to start skipping meals or eating junk food when you’re 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 bit 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 for a reason.


Chat with us on Facebook or Twitter, or email

Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.