These are some of the things that I have found super useful in helping me excel in medical school. I hope you find them helpful in whatever area of life or field you are in right now.
1. Understand that you are already a super star
If you are reading this article now it is either because you are currently in medical school, are in the process of applying, or thinking about pursuing medicine. In any case, you should remember that you are already among the ultra-successful. You have spent years working hard and countless hours researching medical school. Whether you graduated from high school, survived O-chem, have your diploma in hand, or are scrubbing in on your first knee replacement you have already accomplished a lot. It is important to come in knowing that you are winner. You are already a superstar! Believe it!
2. Schedule time to take care of yourself and stick to it
Since you are already a superstar, the rest of this post will be dedicated to tips on maintaining your stardom. The first is self care. Whether it is playing sports, art, traveling, or trying new foods, it is important to schedule time to have fun. I personally spend an hour a day either watching the newest anime series or trying to maintain my kill/death ratio on the latest call of duty installment.
3. Get feedback constantly in various forms
It is important to welcome feedback from various colleagues and classmates. This is the only way you can improve - to pause and take stock of yourself, and make actionable next steps to improve.
4. Reward yourself when you reach your goal
This is self-explanatory. No one likes to work hard and win nothing in the end. Treat yourself when you reach your goals (even if it is a pint of Ben and Jerry's!)
5. Seek advice from those who have done what you want to do
A mentor can save hours of headache and frustration and make things clearer. There is always another medical student or resident that can guide you through this journey. Sometimes you may have to look for people in other institutions.
6. Seek professional mental health services
Lebron James is arguably one of the most proficient athletes in his field. He spends millions on his physical well-being so he can operate on a high level. In medicine, it is important to maintain your mental well-being by actively and consistently seeing a phycologist or psychiatrist.
7. Stay laser focused
Aside for the few hours dedicated for self-care the remainder of your time should be spent focused on medicine. Going through medical school is like drinking water from a fire hydrant. It is extremely difficult when that is your sole focus and near to impossible if you are distracted by other endeavors.
8. Be prepared to make sacrifices as the need arises
The hard truth is that sometimes being laser focused means relationships may take a hit. There is often less time to see family, friends and significant others. There are often nights with little sleep. These are only a few of the sacrifices you may need to make. These sacrifices will be temporary but be prepared to make them.
9. Don’t wait until you are ready before you act
Opportunities are plentiful in medical school and they often come up unexpectedly. Sometimes it’s a cool research project or a trip to another country with a big name doctor. Say yes first and take the first step, then figure everything out as you go. There are so many opportunities I missed out on because I didn’t think I knew enough or wasn’t sure if it would work out. Don’t be like how I used to be! Just try! Go for it!
10. Stay generous and kind
If you are considering medicine or are in medicine right now there is an altruism that is intrinsic to who you are. Feed that! As you put out positive vibes into the universe, the universe will reward you. A closed hand cant receive. Open your hands in generosity and watch how things fall onto your lap. I maintain open hands by volunteering at my schools free clinic so it can be rewarding educationally too!
BONUS tip: Change what you can and leave what you can’t change.
Focus on what you can actively do right now. Plan and prepare for the future but let the future worry about itself.
Are you interested in talking to an MD/PhD like Jide on the process of applying to medical school?
Do you want to read more on the topic?
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