The first few weeks at medical school are bewildering. You can find yourself thinking that you are in the wrong place or that you don’t belong here, but the very first and the very important thing to learn about learning is that it doesn’t matter how everyone else is studying around you, find what works best for YOU. Some of your friends might prefer flashcards, some watching videos, some might read textbooks for hours without breaks, some people study at night and some in the morning. It depends. What works for your friend might not work for you. Try everything, define and find your most effective learning style and from there my friend you’ll be saved.
After defining your studying style, you have to find a balance between practical and clinical knowledge. The knowledge that you gained by reading is nothing if you can’t use it in the hospital and vice versa you can’t go to the hospital without learning anything.
Don’t hesitate to be picky about the literature that you use for studying and spend as much time as you need for finding the best studying sources. Medicine is changing every second, always update your knowledge, follow the latest articles and researches. Just don’t sit on your place doing the usual homework.
Don’t be shy to enter a hospital life and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’ll need it. It can be the hardest challenge of your life, but once you’re in there you’ll get used to the routine. Just do it. For the start ask some doctors for their permission, and follow them in hospital. After some time, your knowledge and interests will lead you by default. The knowledge and the practice that you’ll have from the hospital can’t be compared with hours of studying.
As in every profession, in medicine too, having a wide network is a huge benefit. Be friendly with your college friends, they are your future colleagues. Even if you don’t like someone or some company never burn bridges, you never know what door can be opened thanks to your random acquaintance.
In your way of gaining knowledge, don’t forget about the personal and professional skills. Your future patients are going to expect you to be a perfect human, who has the perfect knowledge and the perfect behavior in every situation. It’s really important to work on your leadership skills. Someone’s life is going to be in your hands someday, and you got to shape yourself as a solution-oriented person who does not stick to problems. Empower others, they are going to see you as a hero, and most of the time you’ll be, so try to have enough positive energy within yourself, so that your patients won’t feel lost at their most vulnerable times.
Medicine requires nothing less than our best, but in search of perfection, don’t forget that you’re human and your life is not only defined by being a medical student. Just blow off some steam with your friends, spend some quality time with your family and loved ones, have some hobbies and interests outside medicine, otherwise you’ll be burned out. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, sleep and eat well, exercise even a little. After all, if you’re not healthy you can’t help your patients as much as you would like to.
Everything said above, is so easy to recommend and so hard to follow, trust me I know, but if you’ll find your destination and the passion that sets your soul on fire, you’ll get there. Don’t forget that the top of the mountain is not the most important thing, the way which leads to it is what you should focus on.