Ok so this will be a post about what med school is actually like, and how you can prepare for it and what to expect, and general tips! Hope at least someone finds it useful.
FIrstly, the general stuff:
1. First year is for fun! Don’t be one of those people who just straight away works all the time - you need to go out and meet people, make friends! And the people on your course you’ll be with for at least 5 years, so make a good first impression!
2. But don’t go TOO crazy. I probably didn’t work hard enough especially in my first term. All med schools do exams differently in first year, but make sure you do some work for them, even if they don’t count for much.
3. You will be overwhelmed at times, and that’s ok. Especially if your med school is integrated, you may be faced with upsetting patients at just 18 years old, as I was. It’s ok if you don’t deal with it well at first - it’s part of the learning process.
4. Make sure you don’t become one of ‘those’ medics. You know who I mean. It’s fine to be proud to be a medical student, but that doesn’t mean you’re better than other courses. And when you’re on placement, remember that that nurse, that porter, is just as important and necessary as the doctor.
5. Be outgoing - especially on placement, it is what you make of it. Meaning, you’ll learn a lot more if you go out of your way to see patients and go on the wards. Ask questions, ask the doctors (if they’re not too busy) if they could watch you do a history or examination, ask them if there’s any bloods that need doing, etc. You’ll learn a lot more that way! AND DON’T SKIP ANYTHING EVEN IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU HATE BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU MIGHT LEARN!
Ok, so now more work-related things!
6. There is a LOT of work. You will have to learn far more information in small amounts of time than you have ever done before, and the way to get around this is BE ORGANISED. Even if you’re having fun in your first term, make sure you still go to lectures, make sure you cover at least the bare minimum. Buy notebooks, folders for different subjects. An important thing is to know WHAT you need to know. Your uni should have some sort of learning outcomes or specification (hopefully). Keep a note of that and tick things off.
7. MAKE NOTES AS YOU GO ALONG. YOU WILL THANK YOURSELF LATER WHEN YOU HAVE YEARS OF MATERIAL TO REVISE! It doesn’t matter how pretty they are, just try to keep them organised and with the key material you need to know
8. DON’T IGNORE ANATOMY. Ok yeah it’s long and it’s boring, but try and keep up with it or you’ll fall in your exams.
9. In practical exams it’s all about how you present yourself. Be confident, smile (but not when the actor/patient is telling you they’re terminally ill) and act like you know it, even if you’re not sure. And practice makes perfect! Practice with your friends and help each other perfect your technique.
10. And also, especially for British students, I’d recommend getting the Oxford Clinical handbook because it’s such a dinky little book with pretty much the basics of everything you need to know. I always have it in my handbag! (When I’m at placement and stuff. Not on a night out, that would be weird.)
If anyone else has questions about this, let me know and I’ll answer and update this! Love you all and good luck xxx