the dos and don’ts of first year med.
got a question from @party-shaker about being a first-year meddie and
Let me tell you about my first-year self. I failed my first exam. Not ‘failed’ as in ‘I only got eighty percent’, I ‘failed’ as in ‘bottom of my class, warning letter from the faculty’ failed. First year med is tough. The content is new, you constantly feel like you’re not good enough and you have no idea what you’re doing, and everyone seems smarter than you.
But I got my act together, and got some really good grades by the end of the semester. Mind you, I made a lot of mistakes in the process. Here’s my dos and don’ts of first year med.
DO get adequate sleep.
DON’T trade sleep for studying. Early in my med school career, I had an anatomy tutor who petrified me. In order to learn everything, I would sleep at 10pm, wake at midnight, study until 4am, and sleep until 6am. I was able to answer some questions in the tutes, but I recall none of that anatomy now.
DO find out how you learn. Mind maps, flash cards, bright colours, lists. Do what works for you and don’t listen to anyone else.
DON’T skip class. Yes, the lecturer may be boring and you may be tired. But you’ll have a head start on your learning by going, and the lecturers write the exams.
DO ask questions.
DON’T assume everyone else knows the answers. They don’t.
DO spend time every day revising. Even ten minutes pays off in the long run.
DON’T cram. In fact, you can’t cram medicine. I tried cramming for my six years in med school – I can guarantee that it doesn’t work.
DO have breaks. Run, walk, see your friends, get some Vitamin D. Being stuck in your study or library all day will inevitably drive you crazy.
DO make a study group. You’ll learn more and make friends. It’s win win.
DON’T be competitive. Don’t tear other meddies down or humiliate them. Be nice to other students, help them, but don’t put them down. Not only is it mean, but medicine’s a small world. The kid you were mean to in med school will not refer you patients when they’re a consultant.
Even if you do everything on this list, you will still be tired most days. You will still have moments where you feel like you can’t make it. But this will hopefully stave off burnout and keep you loving what you do for longer.