Starting your medical school journey is no easy feat. The schedule is very challenging; the curriculum is fast-paced and more demanding. Along with lab work, assignments, quizzes, presentations, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities, most students will have to adjust themselves to a new environment. Many first-year medical students find it hard to stay on top of their demanding course load, spend long hours in the lab, and participate in different academic activities.
The first year is focused on learning basic physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, and histology. They are also expected to hone their clinical skills by working in outpatient clinics, shadowing a physician, or working in a lab. Between demanding course load, clinical learning, and exams, first-year medical students have to take very good care of themselves to stay physically and mentally fit.
If you want to successfully meet the demands of medical school and improve your academic and clinical knowledge, here are a few mistakes first-year medical students should avoid.
- Involve in Too Many Activities
Although it can be tempting to join clubs, activities, and groups. Overcommitting yourself is a big mistake many first-year students make. It is advised to choose one or two activities that you can manage along with your rigorous course load, exam preparation, and adjusting to the new area. Doing a job or participating in any other activity that requires extra time commitment during medical school is not recommended for first-year medical students. However, focusing on your basic sciences program and extracurricular activities that hone your clinical skills is a great idea.
- Put Your Focus on Only One Subject
Well, it’s perfectly fine to have an interest in a subject you like most but overcommitting yourself to one medical specialty is not a good idea. Doing so will miss out on opportunities to discover other areas of medicine that can be beneficial for your career. Instead, take some time to explore other medical specialties and the opportunities to improve your medical knowledge and clinical skills.
- Ignore Your Mental and Physical Health
Medical school is very challenging, and there is no denying the fact. Being a medical student, you have to learn anatomy, absorb complex concepts of pharmacology, get exposed to different fields of medicine, meet patients, work in hospitals, and a lot more. Investing your time, energy, and efforts to learn different areas of medicine is a great idea, but you should make time for yourself.
Get adequate sleep, eat a healthy, balanced diet, make time for exercise, and other personal activities that you love most. Trust me, sometimes reading a nonmedical fictional book or 15 minutes of yoga and mindful meditation can relax your mind and help you feel less stressed. Whether you are studying the preclinical program or clinical science program, being a medical student, you have to create a routine that prioritizes your physical and mental health.
- Unprepared for Exams
It is one of the biggest mistakes many first-year medical students usually commit. Students should always be ready for surprise tests, quizzes, and viva. Obviously, it is impossible to absorb the massive amount of information the day before the exam. The most successful students are always ready for an upcoming medical exam and quizzes. They revise their lectures just after it is presented to them and review the course material from time to time to avoid medical exam stress.
- Study Alone
Many medical students don’t like the idea of group study as they can’t focus on their studies and end up partying instead of studying. Studying with others allows students to learn complex topics and get an opportunity to understand the material in detail. It gives you new and innovative ways to learn and absorb information. Your fellow students might have some new learning techniques that help you remember a lot of material.
In addition, regularly schedule group study sessions can help you understand the information faster and learn the topic more thoroughly. Besides finding new study techniques, you will also improve your study skills, develop effective communication skills, and hone your critical thinking skills. So, go and join a study group to enhance your medical knowledge and get a good GPA.
- Skip Lectures
With the advent of the latest study tools and devices, it has now become easier to record lectures and take notes from home. Some medical students find it really convenient to watch recordings of their professors and learn the course content from the comfort of their home. Attending lectures is highly important, especially when you are starting your medical school journey and are bombarded with different names of viruses, anatomical terms, and mechanisms of action. These lectures are taught by experienced doctors and professors for those who want to become doctors and serve humanity.
If you are a first-year medical student and you are making any of these mistakes, it is advised to stop making these mistakes. You can maximize your time and gain in-depth information in medical school by following the simple strategies mentioned in this post.