Lessons Learned from 1/8th of a Doctor
As I sit here and reflect on successfully completing my first semester of medical school and becoming 1/8th of a doctor, I think about all I have learned during the course of the semester. We began classes in July and finished just in time to enjoy a two week Christmas break we all wish would have been slightly longer. In a very short period of five months, we learned human anatomy, biochemistry, biostatistics, and genetics as well as participating in interprofessional educational classes and precepting with physicians in the community. To say we were busy is an understatement. Along with my educational growth, I experienced a lot of physical and mental growth and learned a few lessons along the way.
#1: Medical school is not as daunting as everyone leads you to believe.
During orientation week, I repeatedly had thoughts of “Why am I here?”, “I am going to fail out of medical school”, and “What have I gotten myself into?”. However, I quickly learned to block out those thoughts and the outside sources telling me how difficult medical school is. Medical school is certainly fast-paced and difficult at times, but you can do it. The key is to take your classes in stride, one day at a time, and remember you have reached this point for a reason.
#2: It’s okay to ask for help.
Prior to entering medical school, I had a mentality of doing everything on my own and not using my available sources for assistance. People at Quillen want you to succeed, and there are so many available sources to upkeep not only your grades but also your mental and physical health. Don’t be afraid to attend as many tutoring sessions as possible or make an appointment to better your study habits. You will thank yourself later.
#3: Balance is key.
It is incredibly easy to lose yourself when you are spending hours studying countless handouts and PowerPoints daily. Maintaining balance in medical school is key to preventing burnout. While it is important to put your education first, it is also vital to spend time on yourself doing activities you truly enjoy every day whether that’s watching an episode of Netflix, hanging out with friends, or walking your dogs. It is easy to let yourself become a medical student and nothing else, but you have to maintain your own identity as a person. Failing to do this can cause many aspects of your life to suffer such as your mental hygiene. Don’t forget who you are and what you enjoy in your pursuit of your M.D.
#4: Rest is vital.
When I began school, I got into a habit of sleeping 5-6 hours a night and struggling to keep my eyes open by the time 5 PM rolled around. I realized my studying and retention of information was suffering due to my constant exhaustion. Love your body and try to sleep at least 8 hours a night. You will be a better and more productive student because of it, I promise.
#5: Don’t forget to have fun.
If you are like me, this has been a dream for as long as you can remember. It is easy to forget the joy you felt when you found out you had been accepted to medical school when you are studying for a four-hour long anatomy exam on Monday. You will be here for four years of your life so you might as well enjoy the ride. Bond with your class. Learn a new hobby. Study with friends. You don’t want to look back and think to yourself, I wish I would have done those four years differently. Enjoy yourself and hold onto the reason you are pursuing a career in medicine.
[if gte vml 1]><o:wrapblock><v:shapetype id="_x0000_t75" coordsize="21600,21600" o:spt="75" o:preferrelative="t" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke> <v:formulas> <v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f> </v:formulas> <v:path o:extrusionok="f" gradientshapeok="t" o:connecttype="rect"></v:path> <o:lock v:ext="edit" aspectratio="t"></o:lock> </v:shapetype><v:shape id="officeArt_x0020_object" o:spid="_x0000_s1026" type="#_x0000_t75" style='position:absolute;margin-left:177.55pt; margin-top:31.1pt;width:239.5pt;height:179.6pt;z-index:251659264; visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square;mso-wrap-distance-left:12pt; mso-wrap-distance-top:12pt;mso-wrap-distance-right:12pt; mso-wrap-distance-bottom:12pt;mso-position-horizontal:absolute; mso-position-horizontal-relative:page;mso-position-vertical:absolute; mso-position-vertical-relative:page' strokeweight="1pt"> <v:stroke miterlimit="4"></v:stroke> <v:imagedata src="file://localhost/Users/morganlevenhagen/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/msoclip/0clip_image001.jpg" o:title=""></v:imagedata> <w:wrap type="topAndBottom" anchorx="page" anchory="page"></w:wrap> </v:shape><![endif][if !vml]