Some things to know before starting with first year of medical school
When I started med school, I was clueless about what I was getting myself into. Nobody in my family is a doctor so no one could give me any advice as to how to tackle my first year here. I still remember my first day of medical school, my first lecture was anatomy. The professor entered the classroom with her assistant who was carrying bones in her hand- carpals, femur, tibia, humerus. She went ahead and sent the bones across the class so that we all could take a look at it, along with that she also sent printouts of the first lecture because obviously, we didn’t know we were supposed to print the lecture. I was clueless and lost throughout the lecture. I got back home that day and tried to study and still remember feeling that it was impossible to remember all the names of the bones and the names of the structures that each bone had. Little did I know that my brain had the capacity to absorb 100 times more information than that.
What did I wish I knew?
1. Studying in Medical school is not like high school:
I wish I knew that the studying technique that I’ve been using all my life is not the same technique that’s going to work for me in medical school. Med school is hard, not only because of the amount of information that you have to learn but also because now you have to learn how to study. It took me my entire first year to understand what studying technique works for me. I failed exams and did badly in my tests but I was always ready to learn from my failures and that’s what made me a better student over the years.
2. It’s not all about saving lives:
in the first year, no one can save lives. The only life you can save is yours by trying to fix a good study routine for yourself, learn how to balance your studies and things you like doing outside of studying, and getting enough sleep.
3. Sleep is the most important thing:
get enough sleep. I learned it the hard way but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get a good night’s sleep for you to be able to be productive for the next day. If you think that you can study till late, sacrifice your sleep and get more work done then you’re wrong. Getting a good night’s sleep will increase your productivity, you won’t feel tired the next day when you’re trying to get as much work done as possible.
4. Life is not going to be like the medical dramas we watch:
Nobody goes to the hospital in the first year. In the first year, all you will be doing is studying Biophysics, Anatomy, Histology and preparing for tests every single day. And just because you’ve watched these medical dramas doesn’t mean you know what you are signing in for. Med school is nothing like the Grey’s Anatomy series that we watch.
5. Oral finals:
most European medical schools have oral final exams. We are given a set of questions for each subject, for example in anatomy we had 188 questions to study, and when we go in for the final who choose three questions and those are your questions for your exam. I know it sounds ridiculous because what if you end up getting questions that you’re not good at, or some concepts that you couldn’t go over before your final or can’t recall. But this is when studying consistently and discipline comes into play.
I feel that to get through this overwhelmingly hard year you just have to take one day at a time and never give up. Just keep working hard and doing your best every day. Good luck to all the newbies.
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