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Advice for incoming MS1's

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by kundun, Mar 18, 1999.

  1. kundun

    kundun Senior Member

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    I am very excited about starting med school this fall. However, I also feel a bit nervous and apprehensive. Are there any med students out there that could offer advice on how to make a smooth transition into your first year? In addition, how did you adjust to the drastic increase in coursework? I am a capable student. However, I feel that med school can make even the most competant student feel overwhelmed at times.
     
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  3. Henry

    Henry Senior Member

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    Disicipline is the key word for me. You really need to withdraw from many activities and concentrate on your study. Be very selective to any social events. I am not saying you stop from going to movies or eat out. However. you have to select what you can and can not do because of time.

    I am married, so every friday I will go out with my wife either a movie or restaurant, but not both.

    Second, you need to find a way you can fit your study habit. I like to get into group study. It is not for everyone but if you like it, it will benefit you only , if your group focus on studying. If the group get together and chat too much, quit it.

    Go to anatomy lab often and really look at every cadavor body. Your lab test will tag on all or most of the body. Make sure you read the material that were taught during the day. Craming before exam is almost impossible especially for anatomy, micro and physio.

    The very first semester is the hardest to get through because you need to adapt a new life style. The second semester is better. because once anatomy is out of the way, you have more time for the lecture staff.

    Try not to compete with classmates because you will be too stressful. Doing your best is more important because different people have different strong and weak point. There are students that will do very well in the first 2 years but not as well during the rotation, while other preform better in rotation. Grades are important but competing won't do you any good. It will just give you more stress, at least this is my personal opinion.

    ID your study problem early is crucial for you to get help. If you wait until testing time and finally realize you have problem in disicipling yourself, it will be too late.

    Good luck

    [This message has been edited by Henry (edited 03-19-99).]

    [This message has been edited by Henry (edited 03-19-99).]
     
  4. jwpelley

    jwpelley Member

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    Hi kundun,

    First, congratulations on your admission to medical school. I visit the premed/med forums regularly because the student side of medical education has become my specialty in recent years. I'm the course director for medical biochemistry at Texas Tech and since I see students first, I've worked with lots of different problems. I've also seen a lot more successes. I think you should know that Henry's advice is about as good as you can get. He sounds like those students that I have known who are more successful.

    Success has a lot more to do with discipline, character, and maturity than brains. The part about time with a loved one or a significant other once a week is just as important as knowing a study technique. It will keep you sane...and together. Med school only breaks up already weak relationships, it strengthens strong ones.

    While your private email was available, I felt my reply publicly was more appropriate at this time because many students who have gotten their notification of admission are wondering what to do between now and the first day of classes. I would like to offer this advice from the (student-oriented) teacher's point of view.

    Above all, don't study ahead. It's ineffective because you don't know just what to study and it's inefficient because you will already be on your way to burn out when classes start and the additional fatigue just before finals will cause you to get less out of your study time.

    You can make good use of the time available now by getting to know yourself better. There are numerous books available on medical education that would help you reflect on the med school environment and your own responses to it. Read up on stress management and think about your own coping behaviors. Develop your 'self' and leave the details of what you need to learn up to us (the faculty). I know that faculty vary in quality and the debate over the overloaded, irrelevant content of the basic sciences will go on forever. But, in the end, the faculty generally know what's on the licensure exams and they will prepare you for that.

    I have established a website that is an academic project in medical education for me. I think it can be of some help to you and others and it can continue to serve you throughout your medical education. The url is http://www.ttuhsc.edu/success/ . There are some commercial links at this site, but they are clearly labeled. The forum is especially useful since it is oriented primarily toward learning and studying issues and has already accumulated much good advice.

    my best,

    jwpelley


    [This message has been edited by jwpelley (edited 03-21-99).]
     
  5. Henry

    Henry Senior Member

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    Hi Jwpelley,

    Thanks for the reponse. Your posting is very nice and also help me too.
     
  6. DOPhD student

    DOPhD student Senior Member

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    I don't know if you will go the same thing I had gone through or not but here's my experience. Med school starts out pretty slow at first for the first few weeks, but don't be fooled. You will quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of material thrown at you, and basically during the first semester, you will try to get yourself adapted to the quickened pace. When second semester rolls around, you will pretty much do the same thing. Then it gets easier from there as your sense of discipline and your study habits improve. However, third and fourth semesters are tough and require you to study more than previously, but by that time, hopefully you'll have already got used to the punishment, and you can handle whatever is dished out at you. You will make it. Everyone eventally does if he has half a good brain and half a decent attitude. PS. You'll always have to play the catch up game, but take comfort, most of your classmates are in the same boat.
     
  7. DO 2 be

    DO 2 be Member

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    This is what my anatomy professor said in the school's newspaper, "The first year anatomy and neuroanatomy serve as a wake-up call for first-year students who thought they were working hard at undergraduate schools. By and large, they were working hard, but we take that to a more mature level". That sums it all. Work hard and you'll be fine. Put your undergrad GPA and MCAT scores behind. They are in no way a prediction of how you will perform in med school. They don't mean a thing once you're in med school. Attitude is everything. If you want to excel, work hard and you will. Good luck.
     

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