Congratulations! You’ve made it. You are finally in medical school! Feels exhilarating, doesn’t it?
Getting into med school is a huge achievement. It is a testament of your hard work and dedication, and you totally deserve a big celebration. But while you are living it up, don’t forget that the real challenge is not just securing an admission, but actually surviving medical school.
Too many aspiring doctors almost give up at this point in their journey because they are unable to keep up with what med school demands of them. To make sure you are not one of them, we interviewed students enrolled at medical schools in Aruba and asked them what they did to succeed in med school. Here is their advice that will not only help you survive but thrive in these four crucial years.
Start on your first day of medical school!
The number one mistake new medical students make is putting off studying until it’s too late. When you are in med school, it doesn’t take a lot of time for the syllabus to become overwhelming. In this situation, you are forced to resort to cramming information instead of making core concepts.
The very first day of your first semester is when you should start working on a study routine. Always be on top of your assignments so you never have to struggle to catch up with them. Make a study schedule and set aside time to learn everything you covered in class in the day. Get your hands on previous years’ exam questions and solve a few daily to revise your knowledge and test yourself.
Consistency is the key to success
While making a study schedule keeps you organized, it is following it religiously that guarantees good grades. From the very start, train yourself to stick to the study routine instead of allowing yourself amendments in it. If you keep changing up your plans, you can never keep yourself disciplined.
Don’t try to conquer medical school all alone
If you have studied on your own all through college, it is time to change that. Med school is best conquered together, so you better find yourself a dedicated study partner. Pair up with somebody who keeps you motivated, driven, and does not let you get sidetracked all through your journey.
While it is good to work with one or two study partners, you should always avoid big study groups. Groups bigger than three tend to become distracted quite easily, and can take you down with them. At Ausoma, we encourage students to pick one person who has the same goals as you and help each other reach those goals until you graduate or even after.
Choose the right resources
Nowadays, there is an overabundance of resources for medical education. Everybody you meet in medical school will tell you about this one website or app or book that saved their grade. The problem here? Not all of these will work for you.
Everyone you meet does not learn the same way as you do. They might swear by a particular textbook, but maybe you are a visual learner and videos and animations help you more. Someone might sing praises of a local short book, but you might retain information better in the long form. It is important to find the resources that work best for you early on, and then stick to them.
Learn from real patients
No matter how many books and notes you devour, your medical knowledge is incomplete until you see real cases. Many students tend to stick to textbooks during their initial years. It is only until after they are done studying basic sciences that they begin to study real cases.
If you want to stand out amongst your peers, we recommend that you start interacting with the patients from the very first year. To make this possible, students at Ausoma are advised to volunteer at clinics, hospitals, and old homes to see what problems these people might be facing. Study the patients in detail and ask your seniors about the things you do not understand. This builds concepts that you will never forget all your life.
Don’t make medical school all about studying
Finally, do not exert yourself so much that you start to burn yourself out. While studying – and lots of it – is crucial to get a good grade in med school, it is equally important to make time for your other interests. Whether it is watching movies or playing a sport, do not stop indulging in what you used to enjoy.
Stepping back and taking a breath when your studies have you overwhelmed is necessary to maintain your sanity. Remember, this is a long journey and you are just getting started!