Whether you have recently graduated from high school , your first or fifth degree or are returning to the world of the mundane from an exciting gap year , this post is for you. First year medical students. I have graciously compiled tips that I wish someone would have given me at the beginning of my first year.
Take off those rose-coloured glasses from Orientation Week and face the music. O-Week fools you into thinking that medical school is all fun and games but alas, the team bonding sessions come to an abrupt end.
- Acquaint yourself with rules for promotions (what you need to pass or fail a class). Immediately.
- Stay organised. Make use of diaries, planners ( weekly, monthly and yearly) to stay organised. Write down mundane pieces of information such as due dates for assignments and projects, group meetings and assessments dates. You will realise how selective your mind becomes – unless something part of a test or exam , you will not remember it.
- Study purposefully. Know what material you are expected to cover and to what depth you need to know your work.
- Ditch the all nighters. All nighters are counter-productive because they result in you not being able to concentrate in lectures the following day. This has a domino effect on your academic performance. Your chances of snoring and mumbling incoherently in class are much higher if you have all nighters.
- Adapt . Start revision earlier. Incorporate other study methods into your regular routine. Your work load will quadruple every single day. “Reading over” your work the day before will not be enough to pass even the seemingly “easy” classes.
- Be consistent. Make an effort to study every day ( even if it’s only for one hour). It’s impossible to be completely up to date all the time but do try your best to not lag too far behind . Remember that the rate at which you fall behind is exponential. Missing a lecture of one hour will set you behind by at least 2.5 hours.
- Most of your weekends will look like the GIF below but what makes it ok is that everyone else’s weekend will look like that too.
- Attend lectures in first semester ! Semester 1 is a conglomerate of activities, fun and general giddiness because “Oh my gosh, you actually got into medical school !” . I can guarantee you that the time you spend outside your lectures will not be time well spent. DO remember that you are paying for these lectures so truancy is to your lecturer’s benefit ( They still get paid regardless of whether they lecture to five people or five hundred people)
Going to medical school does not grant you immunity from illness and disease. Staying healthy is of paramount importance. Medical school is made up of germaphobes and hypochondriacs and you will find yourself banished from all lecture halls should you choose to not adhere to these rules.
- Eat well and exercise regularly. If not, you are likely to suffer from first year spread .
- Hand sanitiser is a must. Microbiology lectures will force you to look at every surface you contact with disgust and disdain.
- Get immunised. Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B are mandatory for all individuals that are clinically exposed. You will need to go for “boosters” at different monthly stages. If you have an anti-vaccine complex then kindly step aside, pick up a sledge-hammer and proceed to destroy your dream of becoming a health practitioner. Vaccines are incredibly important and do not cause autism ! Don’t listen to the hipsters.
- Go to the doctor. If you feel terribly ill, please consult a doctor who can prescribe proper medication and treatment to you. Avoid spreading germs to other students.
- Never ever make use of narcotics to stay ahead. Drugs have detrimental effects and expulsion is often the consequence of abuse.
REPEAT AFTER ME: MONEY THAT I DO NOT HAVE IS NOT MONEY THAT I CAN SPEND (repeat as many times as is necessary)
You pay for everything in university! From accommodation, to parking, printing, photocopying and even the internet ( If you don’t , these fees are somehow incorporated into your tuition fees).
- If they ask you for your student number , you are paying for it. Nothing is free unless it actually says “FREE”.
- Textbooks in university are incredibly expensive. Consult your student mentor regarding which ones are useful. Hunt for second hand copies from seniors who are willing to sell their books to you.
- Notes. Decide whether or not you will make use of printed or digital notes. Printing and photocopying notes is often levied and can become an incredible cost to you.
- Extra-curricular activities. These are also levied onto your student account and your excitement to become involved can end up costing you dearly.
- Cafeteria. The cafeteria is a valley of temptation. Spend money that you have. Making your own food is a less expensive alternative.
Some people attend university to get a degree. Others go to make memories that will last a lifetime. Attempt to strike a balance between these two extremes. You do not want to have no funny stories to tell at awkward dinner parties but you also do not want to leave university without any proof that you were actually there.
- Make new friends.Fret not if your are of the introverted nature.Things shall happen naturally.
“Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.” – Socrates
- Relationships. Medical incest (Medcest) shall be committed. Classmates will hook up and break up faster than you can count to ten Mississippi and you will be subjected to far more public displays of affection than is necessary . Steer clear of the back of the lecture halls – they are hotspots for such.
- Seniors can be your greatest allies or your worst enemies.For every horrible and sleep derived senior you encounter, there are fifty other completely awesome seniors who radiate sunshine and happiness and will treat you like a human being .
- Some of your weekends will look like the GIF below and that’s ok because it’s probably the first time in a long time.
- Relax. There will never be enough hours in a day.
And finally :
Lots Of Lily Love ❤ (LOLL)