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5 New Year’s Resolutions to Jump-Start Your Medical School Journey

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With new year just around the year, winter break is a great time to reflect on the past year and jot down our new year’s resolutions to keep ourselves motivated and strive for betterment and improvement. Here are 5 resolutions that all medical students should make to motivate themselves for the months ahead: Let’s seize the chance to start fresh this year!

Resolution # 1: I Will Eat Healthier and Get More Sleep

If you want to make it through the rigors, demands and challenges of medical school, it is important to look after your mental and physical health. Given the intense academic and clinical workload, not to mention, extracurricular activities, family, and social life, medical students can become quite overwhelmed. As a medical school student, you often find yourself pulling all-nighters, stuffing a hurried lunch consisting of peanut butter crackers or a big bag of chips for lunch between classes, before heading off to complete this assignment or that.

Remember that you can only meet the demands of your Caribbean medical school when you’re physically fit and mentally healthy. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet keeps you energized throughout the day, while catching up on sleep will enable you to stay on top of your assignments, tests, exams, clinical rotations, and lab work. Health experts recommend 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night for adults to help you succeed at school and work. Not to mention, try to sleep at normal hours so that you are ready for next day’s study marathon. After all, who are we kidding! Burning the midnight oil isn’t really that productive anyway.

Resolution # 2: I Will Do More Things outside of School

Yes, we know that medical school leaves little time for anything else; but you probably already knew that before you chose to don a white coat. However, it does not mean that you cannot do other things outside of school. Things that do not contribute to your career, but work wonders in improving your mental health and rejuvenating you from inside out. If you enjoy cooking, you should cook more often. If binge watching your favorite Netflix show perks you up, you should put aside a night each weekend. If any particular hobby or creative pursuit catches your fancy, go for it. Pursuing such endeavors will prevent burnout and help you de-stress and unwind. If you are creating a schedule for the upcoming semester, be sure to deliberately schedule in self-care “appointments,” which can range from daily meditation for just a few minutes to hitting the beach over the weekends, to enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee with a friend. In short, strive to live each day happier than the last.

Resolution # 3: I Will Get to Know the community
Most international medical students studying at Caribbean medical schools hardly come to know the island, its vibrant culture, or the local communities, since they spend a better part of their years at med school either studying or at the hospital. However, this year, make a pledge to get more in touch with the communities you serve in a non-medical way. You can go about this by volunteering at local shelters, kitchens, or churches or even, becoming friends with the locals, exploring the island’s historic landmarks and learning more about the history of the island you are living in. While you may be accustomed to a far different palette depending on where you came from, but try to experience the local flavors and eat at more traditional places. You may not recognize it now, but there is great value in really knowing and appreciating the nuances of where you live.

Resolution # 4: I Will Exercise More

While no one is asking you to run a half marathon every weekend, it pays to stay active and set aside a few minutes for exercise each day. Even if you feel like you have too much on your plate, you can multitask during exercise. It is perfectly possible to review a study guide or flip through flashcards while walking on a treadmill or spinning on an exercise bike. Doing so will also wake up your brain to keep you studying efficiently after you finish. In addition to hitting the gym, or practicing yoga or Pilates in your dorm, you should make lifestyle changes to incorporate activity even during the day. For instance, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, use a standing desk during study time, or perhaps take the longer route within the medical school premises when you have the time.

Resolution # 5: I Will Do more Networking This Year

As a medical student, you must be well aware that Networking is crucial in the medical field. This year, resolve to build professional relationships with peers, professors, mentors, and healthcare professionals. You can attend conferences, join medical associations or clubs, and participate in community service or outreach programs to broaden your network and gain valuable insights.

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