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Please share some wisdom as a nontrad to survive the rigors med school

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by LUCPM, Mar 26, 2012.

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  1. LUCPM

    LUCPM

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Could anyone share some wisdom as a nontrad to survive the rigors of med school? Any advice for an old fart would be much appreciated. TIA.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  2. Abider

    Abider

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    You'll have to get confident finding your own way. The sooner the better.

    These are just my ideas pertaining to M1 and M2:

    You're brain is past it's prime. Here's what you must to give it the juice it needs: Exercise everyday, eat clean whole fresh foods with lot's of vegetables that have all the micro-nutrients and minerals like chard etc., and get enough sleep. No less than 5-6 hours a night or so depending on your needs--some can do with less.

    To accomplish this. Cut out everything extraneous. Everything that wastes time. Forget watching TV. Just watch your some movies and shows when you have the time. But do not watch TV just out of habit. If you have kids. Give them to someone who will care for them. j/k but you get the idea, everything short of that.

    Do not do anything extra in medical school until your hitting your stride with the grades you want.

    With less extraneous activity and a healthy body and brain your study time will be there. And you'll be more focused and energetic while at it.

    I use nootropic supplements and vitamins as well.

    You might look into getting a good ergonomic home study set up. That enables cleaner longer sharper focus on studying. I save tons of time by never going to class except when required. If your self-motivated and a cunning organizer of the material. You can stroll through your day with more focus and less hassle and BS.

    Cunning: sdn is rife with the blatherings of the nerdiest aggressive little pricks out there. i used their posts to find the best resources for my time. And concentrated on those. There's the liberal arts medical student who dutifully goes wherever he's led and then there's those of us to whom such a notion is repulsive.

    Find your way. Look around some but find your own way.
  3. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Residency Sulfurer Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Study a little every day, even when you don't feel like it. Once you start getting behind, it's next to impossible to catch up again.
  4. Abider

    Abider

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    Oh I forgot.

    Curate the things you find most interesting outside of medicine and store them for your downtime. Modern technology has made this a cinch. For me it's comedy, anti-religious philosophy, and history.

    Get regular sex. Even if your solo. Work it out. Sorry if that's crass but managing stress and keeping yourself emotionally stable and healthy is the key to the inner sanctum. The room with a view. Where you sip deep reflections of warm equanimity while everyone else puts on 30 lbs and 30 million miles onto their bodies and souls.

    Stay golden pony boys. Stay golden.
  5. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion

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    Nurture a social life that doesn't depend on your 24 year old classmates, who still think getting drunk is the coolest thing ever. (Also they talk about Harry Potter and Twilight and you can't stop them.)

    Look for the kids who are acing the tests and find a way to study with them.

    Everybody in med school is an irredeemable narcissist. Your stories of things you did in your career will be met with "oh that's cool. I did X in high school." They don't care what you did over the last 20 years (unless they ask). Your story of how you met your wife/husband? "oh that's cool. My boyfriend and I met at X." Point: you're no more interesting to them than they are to you.

    While old exams (when you can get them) are by far the most effective exam prep, they are awful board prep. Everything you learn on the cheap for an exam, you have to relearn at great pain for boards after 2nd year.

    Find what works for you. Try everything and keep trying.

    Super important: nutrition & fitness. You need energy.

    Best of luck to you.
  6. Abider

    Abider

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    So true!
  7. montessori2md

    montessori2md Member

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    1) Think of med school as your job. A very demanding job.
    2) TAKE BREAKS when you study. Get up and move for 10 min of every hour.
    3) Agree w/ above: never let yourself get behind (and if you do, seek help right away -I came down with pneumonia, and my course director gave me the quick and dirty to help me catch up) and med students are narcissists, but then so are most people. Also, always keeping boards in the back of your mind is important. You will be so glad later if you go to the bother to really "get it" the first time. Not just for boards, but for your confidence in yourself as a physician. I made myself review sets for exams, I still refer back to them, and will use them as a resident for reference and teaching.
    4) Schedule yourself rewards/time off when you meet specific goals. This gets easier as you gain experience and form realistic goals.
    5) Don't let med student class paranoia infiltrate you, but do use it as a barometer for level of difficulty for coursework. The general "oh crap" sensation that filled the lecture hall for certain courses saved me a couple of times when I thought a course was no big deal, and then realized my interpretation of what was need to know vs nice to know was off target. Or vice versa, I was freaking out over the volume of material, only to discover that a load of stuff I thought needed to be memorized was actually just supplemental.
    6) Always be ready to change your study habits to improve efficiency. If you feel stuck/bogged down, it's probably because your approach to the material is inefficient. Take a break, take a breath, and look at what you need to know, and find a better way to learn it. Classmates and instructors can be amazing for that, or they can be worthless. The human mind responds to novelty.
    7) Remember, you earned that acceptance. You belong there.
    8) Don't let med school become an excuse for neglecting your relationships. You need friends and family. It takes a village to make a doctor. Or at least, to make a sane, happy doctor. Use the time right after an exam to give back to those who are helping you stay sane.
  8. EdLongshanks

    EdLongshanks

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    The volume of information is not infinite, it just seems that way. I did not learn this in anatomy, but discovered it the following semester in neuroanatomy. As soon as possible, get this revelation, "Oh, there are only 500 body structures for me to learn in 3 weeks. I can do that. There are only 48 muscles. I just need to know insertion, attachment, innervation, blood supply and action. That's not bad."

    Find a way to put bounds on the set of information to learn, and then find a way to test yourself. For me, this is anki flashcards. I go through the powerpoints and create a set of questions for every meaningful slide, the slide is the answer. This tells me that I have 29 facts to memorize from my physiology today, 12 bacterial diseases from microbiology this morning, and 62 counterstrain tenderpoints from OMM this midterm. I have 100 old facts from Neuro to review today.

    This seems like a lot, and it is, but it is not INFINITE.
  9. help2

    help2

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    :laugh: I think this is my new favorite thread.
  10. nextgendoc

    nextgendoc Junior Member

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    Abider, thanks for your wisdom. You are cool as hell. Only age creates such a balance.

    PCOM -GA 2016
  11. kristofer

    kristofer

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    If you go to a pass/fail school, which you should, focus only on USMLE step 1 from day 1. Buy First Aid day 1 along with the longest subscription to uworld qbank you can.

    Review first aid and do the practice questions from uworld for each section as your primary method of study. Cram everything else you need for the exams a couple days prior, but every other day you should be studying out of First Aid, UWORLD, and Goljan's path book.

    Don't do what I did and listen to the school's advice to just study for the classes and think that the month they give you to study for step 1 will be enough time unless you want a score in the low 200s. The first two years are a total waste of time and you will forget most of what you learn because it's not clinically relevant. Step 1 is relevant. Focus on it from day 1. Trust me on this.
  12. dbizzy

    dbizzy

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    Great thread. Keep it coming.
  13. help2

    help2

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    Can anyone comment if they feel the same is true for the COMLEX?
  14. cabinbuilder

    cabinbuilder

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    1. You will not be #1 in the class but probably not last either
    2. You will probably fail an exam and it's not the end of the world
    3. Don't try to be the one to nit pick every test question - others have the energy for that
    4. Get your hands on old tests if you can, they will help you to pass
    5. If you have a family, make time for them.
    6. Have a study group to make you get through everything and get another perspective
    7. Anatomy may feel like it runs your life but this too shall pass
    8. Some class you will not understand, just get through and pass, no one will care 10 years from now what your grade in neuro was and no one will ever ask you.
    8. Try to study every day. It is impossible to catch up if you get behind.
    9. Get enough sleep every night. It will not help you to pull all nighters.
    10. Be realistic about residency goals. You prob won't be a neurosurgeon if you graduate med school at 40.
  15. Lots2offer

    Lots2offer

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    Great thread. Thanks PO

    Sent from my Vodafone 858 using SDN Mobile
  16. cabinbuilder

    cabinbuilder

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    You use the same review materials for COMLEX as USMLE plus use Savarese for the OMM review. Try to do board study as you go but it is very difficult.
  17. chidoman

    chidoman

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    .
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  18. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee. Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    Be very careful about "don't go to class". Some schools have mandatory attendance, and for some folks going to class works. Do what works for you, and choose your school wisely.

    I have to agree with much of what has been said above.
    -Study every day.
    -Use your time wisely. I used to download ppts to my pda and review it while waiting in line at grocery stores, waiting in restaurants, on hold on the phone, anywhere and everywhere.
    -if you have audio recordings of your classes, review them regularly if you are an auditory learner. You can listen to them at 2-3x speed and get through them quicker listening for the important bullets. And it's good for a laugh as your professors will sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
    -Make flashcards. I never used to use them before, but in school they were irreplacable. And there are lots of pda/phone/computer programs that will help you create and review them.
    -start studying for boards early. Like day 1. Get FA (and Savarese for COMLEX), go through qbanks. Many qbanks will break their questions out by class so you can do questions relating to each class you are in. You will likely go through several qbanks if you start in year 1 by the time you are ready for boards after year 2. Save UWorld for last and read all the explanations, even if you get the question right.
    -eat right. don't skimp on this. Learn how to cook if you are a ramen or restaurant eater.
    -exercise regularly. don't skimp on this either.
    -keep your hobbies. They will keep you sane.
    -make time for your family. That will also keep you sane.
    -Don't be afraid to get hold of your professors or upperclassmen for help. If you are in trouble, get help EARLY.
    -remember your anatomy and physiology. you'll get pimped on it later in 3rd year.
    -get a good study group going.

    And finally, remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. You may have places you slow down, bog down, stumble even. Pick yourself back up and keep going.
  19. cabinbuilder

    cabinbuilder

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    I have to agree with this completely. As the mom I NEVER had time to myself at home and I am not a good home studier. I looked at going to class as a replacement for going to work fulltime. It was my time to learn and not be mommy/wife. Class was my social time too and it worked for me. Plus LECOM does have mandatory attendance and they do keep track. So if you are one of those who skips out and then are struggling in a course, there really isn't much sympathy since the student didn't do their part.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  20. Summa637

    Summa637 I'm here for comic relief

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    This, I believe, is what I feel is an advantage for non trads who have been in the real world in the working professional life. If/when I someday get to medical school, I will officially retire from the street and my new fulltime job will be school. That seems like a dream to me...:xf:
  21. EdLongshanks

    EdLongshanks

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    In the first semester, I was going to do what I did in undergrad and make flashcards as I listened to the lecture. Epic fail. The lecture was way to fast. Strangely enough, I am now able to make flashcards during the lecture. This saves me 3 to 4 hours a day. I don't know when I got so fast. If I fall behind, I make a flashcard that says - "make flashcards for slides 35-41 minute 29." I will then go back and watch the video recording for that time and make those cards.

    According to my flashcard program, I have spent over 60 hours reviewing flashcards this semester, but since I am making the cards in class, this is really not bad.
  22. LUCPM

    LUCPM

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    Thank you all for sharing your wisdom and experience.

    On a related topic, I see some of you recommended starting board prep from day one. Sorry for being a gunner, but how do you actually study wthout learning anything yet?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  23. EdLongshanks

    EdLongshanks

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    There are 3 ways to pass classes in medical school. 1)You can "Unit Objective" and "old test" your way through, 2)try to study very hard at what you believe a doctor should know, or 3) Get board review books and study them side by side with the material as you learn it. Method 1 will get you the best grades for the effort. Method 2 seems reasonable, but method 3 is the one suggested by all residents and attendings. In the board prep forums the number one author suggested for Method 3 is Goljan.

    I would be worried more worried about it, but it turns out that my teacher for next year is...... wait for it.... Dr. Goljan.... hahahahahahahahaha. He retires after next year, so my class is the last one to get the benefit of his teaching. I am praying very hard for his health to continue.

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