ID #13608

Name: Aimee

Age: 24

Country: USA

My name is Aimee and I am from California. I am a grad student who is studying Information Systems. I’m really into video games - mainly PS4 and anything Nintendo. I also enjoy watching anime series, drawing, reading, watching Netflix, baking, working out, hiking, and listening to music.

Preferences:  I would preferably like to write to girls who are 17 and older. Just because I don’t know if I can really relate to similar things to younger writers.

First year's tough love.

As I’ve promised, I’ve summed up my feelings from the whole first year, so you can get an idea about what to expect. Despite being European student and having majority of audience from overseas, I believe that medical schools are almost the same, no matter where you study.  

We all come to this school with sort of religious fear and zero idea about what to expect. I was really stressed and sometimes anxious during my first semester before I learned how to cope with things. The second semester was more relaxed, because I somehow figured how things work out. I started liking the pace and couldn’t imagine studying anything else. Maybe I am just being overly enthusiastic - and I am certain I didn’t feel this way about it in the course of my first year - but the first time in autopsy room, first time holding someone’s heart or just seeing someone who died recently, first time seeing cancer cells under the microscope… ok I am being nostalgic here. But it was all first time. It just gets slightly downhill from there, because you get used to all these things and it’s not special anymore.

First thing you should do (and seriously, do it!) is to print the syllabus for every subject (or at least every major subject). 

The major subjects of first year may vary from university to university. Usually it’s anatomy, histology and embryologybiochemistry, biophysics, biology (molecular, genetics) and some basic ethics and communication with patient. Syllabus is a list of topics you will go through in lectures and labs (and with whom) and it will help you get ready for labs and just keep up in with where you are. It also doesn’t hurt to learn to operate the student/university information system, find out how to sign for exams and just know where to find what.

For the more variable part - each subject usually consists of lectures, seminars and labs. Lectures are usually voluntary, seminars might and might not be voluntary and labs tend to be obligatory. Now the fun thing is that at least in my school you have to attend every class, you usually cannot miss one and if you do (for an important reason) then you have to take an extra class out of the schedule. And to be honest, most of us wouldn’t even want to miss one, particularly in the first year. But I will tell you about that later, when I talk about anatomy.. 

 Lectures tend to divide people into 2 groups. First ones will tell you that lectures are useless and they usually don’t attend any and second one wouldn't miss any. There is not one way out of this. You will have to see for yourself if it has any asses for you or if you just go there to take a nap (and not very comfortable one). I myself found that some lectures, or rather lecturers are just worth waking up for, because they give useful tips on exam questions, they pinpoint interesting things about the topic and just make it fun. Then there are unfortunately also those who just read the powerpoint presentation and that is just a waste of time. So I am a pro-lecture person, but if I know that the lecturer who is about to have the lecture sucks .. I rather stay in bed longer! 

Seminars as I’ve said tend to be obligatory. Seminars are usually more important than lectures. They focus on the most important things from each topic and they tend to be held before labs, so you can revise (or learn :P) the things that you should know for the practical part.   

Labs are gonna be the most fun part. I was really scared at the beginning, because the real science happens there. That’s the part where you learn to use the microscope, scalpel, do blood tests and experiment. It’s essential to study for the labs. Not only because (at least here) it is a rule that every lab starts with oral examination or test to find out if the students know theoretically what are they gonna do, but because you won’t gain anything from the lab if you learn it while doing it. There is always a way to cheat on the tests, and I am not saying I’ve never done this, because sometimes you just have to set your priorities.. and sometimes you just really need to relax to keep yourself sane. ;D 

First year is difficult and it may feel more challenging than the following years (even though the amount of information is gonna double, triple..) and it goes really fast. It’s difficult, because you have to master time-management, you have to learn to set the priorities, to be systematic and (and that’s the most important part) to study. You may think you know how to study, I used to think that too.. but I had no idea :D. You won’t go far with learning by heart, because it just doesn’t fit in the head. You won’t go far with the typical high school studying either, because you need to know things in detail and keep them in your head. You will have to be smart in picking studying materials and methods, distinguishing important information from unimportant ones and connecting it all together. That’s probably the biggest challenge of the first year. Not that you have to be actively thinking about doing all this though, it will just come to you naturally! :D

 Next time I will start going through the main subjects I’ve mentioned. So this is all for now, I hope you like it! <3