If your idea of med school is limited to popular television shows, then you are in for the reality check of a lifetime, mate. It is nothing like they show on those television series apart from one thing: med school cafeteria food is simply inedible (in most cases).
However, there is so much more to being a medical student than coming up with wondrous diagnosis for patients who have left renowned MDs scratching their heads. As far as getting into a whirlwind romance with one of the fellow students goes, we cannot guarantee that it will never happen, although the chances are pretty slim since both of you will be busy memorizing flash cards over the weekend rather than having a movie night.
12 things every med school student should know
But do not be intimidated just yet. Med school offers plenty of fun times with your fellow medical students, and you will have a roaring time inspecting diseased organs in anatomy class. No, seriously, it is going to be fun. Here are 12 things that you must know if you are a medical student aspiring to become a doctor.
Lectures will have pretty long hours
Med school lectures and practical sessions go on for longer than regular grad school classes. So while your high school friends might be chilling in the quads of their colleges, you will have to slog away in class. Learning the names of diseases (mostly having Greek and Latin etymology) and reviewing your lectures are going to take up most of your time when in med school.
You will find ALL lessons super-helpful
Unlike other courses where you will learn loads and end up applying only a few lessons as per your specialisation, med school lessons will stay with you for a lifetime. All courses in med school such as pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and the likes will come in handy in real-life situations when you diagnose and treat patients as a doctor. You will find each course to be super-helpful, so make sure that you pay attention during lessons!
You will have an all-new idea of fun
While your non-med school buddies chill at pubs over the weekend, you will be stuck in your dorm going over mnemonics and flashcards for the upcoming physiology quiz. Sure, this sounds quite dull right now, but when you are in the midst of fellow like-minded bussing docs, the passion for learning and knowing more about the mysteries of medicine will turn out to be infectious (pun intended) indeed!
Med school is hard work
Managing night shifts, lectures, practical classes, rewriting and memorizing lecture notes, and taking countless exams is going to be quite hard work. So if you are not built for pulling all-nighters and keeping up with coursework, then med school might not be for you. Even the hardest ones sometimes crack under pressure in med school. Additionally, the tough coursework makes the students acquire nerves of steel at the end of the entire course.
You will stay updated on the coolest research all the time
People who say med school is about mugging up textbooks have probably never heard of gene therapy or stem cell research. Closely connected to studying medicine, staying up to date with the latest research will not only be a part of your coursework when in med school, but it will also help in shaping many of your interest areas as a medical student. You will thus get an insider view on the latest happenings of medical research first-hand when you are a medical student.
You will never seem to have enough sleep
Let’s face it, folks. Caffeine is going to be your new best friend when you are in med school. How else are you going to survive weeks of sleepless nights when shadowing residents or checking patients’ vitals on night shifts? You will also acquire the strange-but-useful skill of being able to fall asleep in the oddest of places – supplies locker rooms, cars, sitting at your desk, in the middle of lectures, hospital hallways, spare stretchers and the likes.
Holidays? What are those?
While ordinary people switch to their holiday mode and go vacaying to exotic places, you will be working those extra hours to pay med school bills. Or worse, you will need to stay at home to go over the lectures and notes that help you prep for the term that’s ahead. However, the holidays are a splendid time to pick up on some hands-on experience prepping patients for surgeries and watching residents do their jobs like pros.
Same goes for your social life
Your social life will go for a toss too. But that is alright. You can always sneak in a trip or two with your med school buddies every once in a while. Learning about the maladies that plague humankind and the many ways to treat them does require a certain level of dedication. So if you wish to become a doctor, you will have to ready to make some small sacrifices for the greater good.
You will pick up some amazing organizational skills
You will finally learn to value organizational skills as an essential part of your life as a medical student. Continually juggling lectures and practical classes along with MedSoc activities, you can hone your time management and organizational skills to perfection when in med school. A week into med school is enough to learn how to manage and tidy up your calendar (and dorm room) like a pro.
Medicine’s a very competitive field of study
You should pride yourself on being a part of the most intelligent youngsters of your generation to have cracked the entrance to get into med school. What you should keep in mind, however, is that your batch mates are likely to be super-intelligent as well. Keeping pace with them will thus result in a stiffly competitive atmosphere that is inherent to any medical school.
Sometimes you will wonder, “Why?”
In the midst of too many lectures and excruciatingly long night shifts, you will have moments of doubts and uncertainty over what the future holds for you. At times, you will feel like quitting it all and going for some easier course (or taking up a hermit’s life). Be prepared to face moments of severe crisis and self-doubt since coping with pressure at med school is not everyone’s cup of tea.
But it is going to be totally worth it (and more!)
However, it is going to be alright in the end. Just remember to persevere through the hard times and med school will give you some of the greatest gifts of life. Along with the expertise necessary to become a doctor, you will also form strong bonds with your fellow medical students, some of whom will turn out to be your friends in need of a lifetime. All the sweat, frustration, tears, and toil are finally going to worth it and more when you finish med school and become a doctor.
In between sticking with your buddies through never-ending anatomy lectures and learning to love the discipline, you will make memories that last forever. Make the most of this time by striking the right balance between work and play and you will be good to go. Good luck with surviving med school!
Ava Smith provides stellar assignment help through MyAssignmenthelp.com. A retired professor based in Perth, I enjoy helping students with their studies and offers expert career counselling as well. An ardent fan of the classics, I like to unwind with a good book to read on long weekends.