6 Brilliant Ideas for Making it Through Medical School With Your Sanity Still Intact
It may seem impossible to keep your sanity while trying to make your way through medical school. Med school is far more intense than the typical college experience and requires a lot from students. In an environment where you have to memorize thousands of terms, endure lengthy lab classes, and frequent all-night study sessions, is it possible for anyone to survive? It’s true that medical school is not for everyone, but for those who are serious about making it in the world of medicine, there is a chance for survival. Read ahead for a few ideas on how you can make it through the challenging years of medical school, and still live to tell the tale.
Have an Outlet
As you make your way through medical school, to say you will be busy is an understatement. A lot of your regular relaxation and recreational activities will be replaced with weekend study sessions, and nightly cramming for tests. You’ll be pressed for time, but it is important that you learn how to work your schedule so that you still have your own personal time. Whether you block out an hour on Sundays for a nap, take 30 minutes at lunch to read a fiction novel, or spend a few hours at the park, you need to block out time for yourself. Doing the things you like will allow you to have an outlet for the tension and stress that is likely building up inside of you. Take time for yourself, and your sanity will thank you.
It seems obvious, but not sleeping doesn’t solve anything. It will only make you groggy, ill-tempered and more likely to fall behind. If you’re struggling with a class or a professor, find a way to get the help you need without losing sleep. It can be difficult, but establishing a regular sleeping pattern will truly make all the difference. Some students get 4 hours of sleep every night and then just crash on the weekends to catch up on all the sleep they missed during the week. This type of pattern isn’t healthy, and eventually it will catch up with you.
Work With Friends
If you’re struggling with something, it’s likely that someone else in your class is too. Finding friends early on who are committed to their studies can be a great help to those trying to make it through medical school. Surround yourself with people who have strengths that are opposite yours so you can balance and support one another. Having group study sessions will give you that extra help you need for your tests, and you can even serve as moral support for one another. You’re all going through this experience together, so you can relate and support one another through the process.
Doctors have to be well-rounded and have balance because they’re constantly juggling things. The same is true in medical school. To achieve that balance, pace yourself by studying daily, sleeping a few hours every night and keeping your partying to a minimum on weekends. For a lot of health care careers, you will have to be in school for several years longer than peers who are following different career paths. If you try to keep up with other college friends, you will get burnt out early on. Learn how to schedule out your time, and get a good balance going between your school life and personal life.
Exercise reduces stress by releasing endorphins, which will improve your mood, and helping you process the day’s difficulties. When you get back to the stresses of the day, they’re more manageable after you’ve gotten the blood pumping a bit. Once again, it can be difficult to find time to devote to exercising when you’re on campus all day and studying all the time. Even just taking a walk around the outside of the library for 15 minutes will give you some fresh air and help you clear your head. Most campuses have an on-site gym, so consider taking a quick break in the gym to give you something to focus on besides your studies.
Make Your Smartphone Work For You
Memorization is a huge and often painful part of medical school. You need to know how drugs interact, have a firm grasp of human anatomy, understand different diseases and be able to communicate effectively with other doctors. Enter the smartphone. Apps like iProcrastinate can help you manage your time, while Drugs and Medications provides a reference several thousand approved drugs and Grays Anatomy – Student Edition is a free download of the classic medical text. These are ideal for referencing while studying or afterward, when you’re not quite sure what you missed on the exam.
The key to surviving medical school is balance. Deal with stresses as soon as possible so that they don’t overrun your life. In the meantime, embrace the old adage by working smarter, not harder by using your resources. Those who learn how to manage the workload early on in medical school will be able to get on a track to success as other pieces of their lives fall into place. Set up a smart schedule that includes sleep, exercise, and a little fun, and you’ll make it out of med school alive, and able to enjoy your career in healthcare. Information for this article was provided by the professionals of the Adventist University of Health Sciences, a university that offers an ADU bachelor of science in radiologic sciences.