As I reflect back on my first year of medical school, I can’t believe how fast it flew by. From various experiences, opportunities, knowledge gained, and individuals I’ve met, this was by far the most transforming year of my life. Every moment is still so vivid, clear in my mind, yet such a blur because all year it felt as if I was riding a high-speed train that has now suddenly come to a halt—until M2 year that is! BSOM provides its students with so many unique opportunities and I’m so glad I had the chance to experience many of these things to enrich my medical school experience during year one.
Below are some things I learned during my first year of medical school:
- Take it one day at a time. Immersion in each moment will allow focus on one thing at a time and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. Be present in the moment no matter what you are doing and don’t think about what is coming next/what you have to do after until it’s time to do so.
- Don’t be afraid to change study habits from one class to another or even during a class because each class is different and requires a unique approach.
- You can and will do it even when you think you can’t. Other people know you can do it when you think you can’t. Believe in yourself. You will amaze and surprise yourself each and everyday.
- Every minute is precious—use time wisely. Seize every free minute, hour, day, weekend, to visit or call family and friends, do something fun, go to the gym, watch a movie, relax, sleep, etc. Sense of time changes in medical school. The days are long but the weeks are fast. Time never stops. Use each moment to your advantage.
- Just go for it. Studying comes first, but that doesn’t mean life has to stop. Go to events, conferences, and meetings…anything that interests you because these are the things you will remember.
- Inquire! You won’t know if you don’t ask! Talk to older students to get advice and tips for each new class and medical school in general because that will give you some direction into what to expect and new ways to approach learning.
- Stay on top of the material and don’t get behind, because playing catch up is hard to do. It’s possible to get through the material. Try to learn the material well the first time and when reviewing, because in the end we’ll be using this information for life. Don’t give up when something doesn’t make sense and make sure you spend time on what confuses you—don’t ignore it.
- Build relationships for now and for later.
- Ask for help and don’t be afraid to do so, especially when facing problems, or trying to make decisions. Talk to family, friends, and advisors for advice and second opinions. Find at least one mentor you can rely on. You don’t get through medical school alone. People want you to succeed—don’t be afraid to seek advice and share your emotions and feelings when it’s sometimes easier to just ignore the problem and bottle it in.
- Just breathe and medical on.