Did anyone else think med school would be like this?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Medicus, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Medicus

    Medicus Junior Member
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    I'm just curious. I knew med school was going to be demanding. However, I never knew I'd actually be worried about an upcoming anatomy exam as if it were the plague (thank goodness anatomy is over though, now it's all biochem and other sciences). I never knew I had so little "free" time to waste time. It's almost as if everything else seems so preciosus now, like taking the time to cook, reading, etc. I never knew I'd have such self-doubt and feel like I'm not smart enough. I never knew that even if I study every day, all day, I could still barely pass (sometimes not). I never knew that my emotions could change like the direction of the wind (I'll be happy one hour, and then worrying another hour).
    Sorry, perhaps I'm being pessimistic. I do enjoy many aspects of med schoool. I've met great people, and did fun things here and there (clubbing, sky diving, etc..)
    I'm just wondering do any of you feel the same way? What are some other statements that you could add to "I never knew that......"
     
  2. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    Sorry dont' mean to sound condescending. But you are doing something wrong here. Yea med school is definetly tough, but you should be able to have somewhat of a normal life and pass courses without too much trouble. You should rethink your study strategy or try to hook up with some succesful students and see how they are doing it. I dont' know if you figured it out yet or not, but although anatomy is pretty voluminous, they don't ask everything they teach and you can cut out a lot of fat, plus you can rationalize a lot of things out. You should look to change your strategy and pronto.

    Good luck.
     
  3. rockdoc

    rockdoc MSIV
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    Yup, it definitely took a long time to get used to. It felt like everyone else was smarter than me, too. But don't give up. You'll adjust in time (it took me a few months to get a new study habit down). Then watch your grades go high =) *pep talk of the day*.

    My revelation when I entered medical school is: "I never knew that I could stay functional with 2-3 hours of sleep a day... the human body's actually more resilient than I thought." [this is a joke, in case you took it too seriously] ;)
     
  4. Soleil9

    Soleil9 Senior Member
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    I feel pretty much the same way. It's not a pleasant way to live, and I'm trying to organize myself better to improve my standard of living. But med school is easy for some and hard for everybody else. Just wanted you to know that you're not alone.
     
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  5. txguy

    txguy ...
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    Hang in there Medicus, I'm right there with ya......I've never studied this much in my life!

    -tx
     
  6. erin682

    erin682 Senior Member
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    First year is a huge adjustment. It will get better. Just hang in there. Try adjusting your study habits to find out what works best. What worked for you in college will not always work for you in med school.
     
  7. theprizefighter

    theprizefighter Senior Member
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    Hi, All

    For me life in med school started when I stopped going to class. I still do well on my tests and actually have free time to live. Who would have thought?
     
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  8. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    1st yr was easier than I expected. 2nd is exactly what I immagined it would be :(
     
  9. erin682

    erin682 Senior Member
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    I've been doing better in 2nd year until we hit hematology. All these leukemias and lymphoma's are killing me. I don't know how to memorize them all by my test friday.
     
  10. Psycho Doctor

    Psycho Doctor *** Angel
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    actually i took it seriously b/c i know i can exist on 2-3 hrs of sleep and i do it often :oops:
     
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  11. Rendar5

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    If you dont' have enough time to study, stop going to class (unless u absorb more than 25% of the lectures. overall, people absorb 5% of lectures).

    If u're studying from rise to sleep every day, then u're doing something wrong with your studying. streamline it and ifgure out better ways to associate and organize all the info. (association is generally one of thebest memorization mechanisms). If you don't mentally or physically classify and organize all the information you get, you're just going to have an insanely hard time of abosrbing enough to pass. If you do that, then u'll suddenly find it easier to learn enough w/o killing urself. well, except before test times.

    Of course, it's easy to say all that :laugh: Figuring out how to do that is what's hard. everyone goes about doing that differently (usually unconsciously), and as has been said, what works for one person won't work for another.
     
  12. 0T6

    0T6 Member
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    I'm in 1st year and here we go by systems.. hem/neoplasia now and exam on Friday too.

    I hear ya on all of that, the symptoms are so similar with tiny differentials, and then histology with ALL/AML and looking for freakin Auer rods. [/rant]

    So far it's been what I've expected and better. Maybe my undergrad institution (Toronto) was killer so I'm used to working my ass off but it seems like the workload's less now.
     
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  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    While the above statement is probably true for the average med student, it's not likely true for everyone. There are definitely people in med school who, although they will eventually master the material, take a lot longer to get it. For them, while study habits can always be improved, they will never have the free time that others seem to have. Similarly there are folks (usually the photographic memory types) who can know a lecture cold in a single pass through the material. Different minds require different handling. The key is to figure out what kind of student you are, and plug and chug appropriately.
     
  14. rockdoc

    rockdoc MSIV
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    I agree and disagree. I used to have some kind of life in my first year, but only ended up with above average scores. Now I've opted to study most of the time and have less breaks which have helped me to do really well this year. It depends on your goals. If your goal is to just pass, then perhaps you don't need to study from sunrise to midnight. If your goal, however, is to stay in the top 10, then the 24/7 study habit might be needed (of course these don't apply to students with photographic memory that just sail through school).
     
  15. Iwy Em Hotep

    Iwy Em Hotep The Welcomer
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    I probably should caution people reading these threads that sometimes you have to go to class, either because:

    a) Your school takes attendance (and for that, I am very, very sorry).
    b) Your school does not provide (good) syllabi for certain classes.
    c) Your professor includes a lot of irrelevant detail only heard in lecture on the exam. Our school, for example, does not use shelf exams at all, preclinical or clinical. So a lot of tests are purely out of the professor's current whimsy. I don't know yet, but hear this is especially brutal during the clinical years because you don't know what to study.
     
  16. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    Photographic memory doesn't exist, but yea some have better memory than others. But I absolutely agree with you, passing or making ok scores, is not too tough, but top scores for sure require much more exensive study schedule. Also I find that if you are good at strategizing you have good intelligence on how tests are, you can score real good on say 2 tests like 98-100 and 2 tests you can pull mid 80's which can help you honor for most courses. So instead of killing yourself on every test you can honor with good strategy. I also find it doesn't matter much how tough you study like 3 weeks prior to test. What you do in the last week prior to exam is gonna make you or break you.
     
  17. Rendar5

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    that is true, but I think the OP is studying from sunrise to sunset to pass, not to get in top 10. And I dunno, I think there are always ways to expedite studying if u try different strategies and try to breakdown how ur own methods of memorization and understanding work. Course, that might take so much time to figure out that u'll be working from sunrise to sunset anyway :laugh: oh well, luckily my school is completely pass/fail until rotations.
     
  18. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    I think that for some folks they "might" have to study to pass...yes, there are better strategies out there but for some folks it does not work and these guys have to study a LOT just to "pass" which IMHO is NOT that easy. I guess a lot can depend on where you go to school, how the exams are, etc...there are just a lot of variables that cannot be applied to all.
     
  19. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    Put the high yeild info into one short sentence (word games/rhymes help) then go from there. Find old practice Q's and do the 55 or so in the Robins Q-book. That should get you pretty close. I learned them all in the course of two days (pretty worried about it though in the begining).
     
  20. Paws

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    Aww ... tupac, you are being too harsh!

    I agree with the original poster that yes! this stuff is way, way overwhleming and hard. I am in second year now and have finally stopped going to class. My grades seem to be much better, and more importantly, I understand the material better in a clinical way. I also feel better emotionally. :)

    I decided that I was going to go through med school doing what felt right for me, and I feel better for that, too. I am also not 22 and just out of college and so I feel ok just following my own instincts instead of maybe feeling like I should be doing what a crowd of peers might be doing.

    So, yes, agreed that the material and the time crunch and feeling way behind even tho you just started school an hour ago - yes, agreed, crazy mad stuff!

    But, in somewhere in there try and figure out what your instincts are telling you to do. Study more? study differently? I found that what my instincts kept saying was: go to bed really early and then get up really early. And I mean, like, 4:00 am. Well, I started to do that and I felt a ton better. It felt weird at first, but so what. It was right for me! You will find your pace and what feels right for you. In the meantime, just hold on and do your very best.
     
  21. Ypo.

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    I second that motion.
     
  22. Simonster

    Simonster Member
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    Hah, I used to LOVE gourmet cooking. Now Ramen doesn't seem to boil fast enough.

    I DO feel the same way now and then. Emotions going this way and that. Especially with anatomy. Weeks ago, anatomy was amazing. I couldn't describe how awesome it felt to hold a human heart in my hand. Today, I held a severed penis in my hand. Somehow I was not filled with awe.

    We are experiening a lot of Firsts. First time not easily acing that exam, first time holding a severed penis, etc. Self-doubt is normal. At least it is for me. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will say at least one completely stupid thing a day. Like my daily vitamin.
     
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  23. Simonster

    Simonster Member
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    Hah, I used to LOVE gourmet cooking. Now Ramen doesn't seem to boil fast enough.

    I DO feel the same way now and then. Emotions going this way and that. Especially with anatomy. Weeks ago, anatomy was amazing. I couldn't describe how awesome it felt to hold a human heart in my hand. Today, I held a severed penis in my hand. Somehow I was not filled with awe.

    We are experiencing a lot of Firsts. First time not easily acing that exam, first time holding a severed penis, etc. Self-doubt is normal. At least it is for me. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will say at least one completely stupid thing a day. Like my daily vitamin.
     
  24. Simonster

    Simonster Member
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    whoa don't know how that happened. sorry abt the dbl post! like i said, one stupid thing a day...
     
  25. rockdoc

    rockdoc MSIV
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    Ahh ramen... my staple food... and it's probably taking 5 years out of my lifespan...
     
  26. ucsb101

    ucsb101 Senior Member
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    I think that the first quarter is like that and then it gets easier....just cuz u can better handle it...and u learn not to worry anymore
     
  27. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    You probably weren't filled with awe, cuz the penis wasn't big enough :laugh:
     
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  28. Medicus

    Medicus Junior Member
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    Thank you all for the advice and the responses. Lately I've been trying to study really hard for a upcoming another knowingly difficult Block exam that includes the disciplines of cell bio, histo, genetics, biochem, etc. I definitely agree with the comments that my study strategies need a change. It's hard though, atleast for me, to try to figure out how to study (as far as what would work for me personally) while trying to master the material at the same time. It's like a hit or miss I guess. I'll guess I'll find out soon enough. I like the idea of a post that mentioned putting high yield info into a sentence or word game. I may just try that in the meantime.
    I may also start analyzing whether the lecturers have been beneficial, and from there decide whether or not to continue going to class.

    Also, while I've been studying I've been reflecting on life and school in general. I'm going to try to stick it through hopefully without losing my sense of self. After reflecting on everything, and talking with a few other students, I've realized that no matter what, you have to nuture your mind, body, and spirit. The hard part is, I guess is actually doing it without regreting it (i.e. taking the time out to do activities without worrying about studying). Hopefully everything goes well for myself and others who been through the same feelings and situations. I for one, know that I'm still searching for that balance, and hopefully, it's on it's way.
     
  29. libbyruth

    libbyruth Junior Member
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    Don't give up. A lot of the time I feel like med school hit me like a truck. I had been going about studying completely wrong (trying to remember everything) and spending way too much time trying to write notes for myself that I never had time too look at. I also have had a hard time letting myself take breaks without thinking about school and all the studying that is waiting for me after the break. I completely exhausted myself.

    Now I am trying to identify and focus more on high-yield information and make sure to learn that really well. It has actually reduced the time I feel like I have to spend studying and I feel like I know the material much better. I find it's much more manageable if I can reduce a lecture to one page of stuff I really need to study. I have also realized that taking breaks is absolutely essential for my well being :) It is still hard, and I feel so burnt out from studying wrong for so long, but I just keep telling myself that I just need to hang on until Christmas and I can have a long rest from school. (Wow! I never thought I would say a two week break for Christmas is long!!) They say it gets easier after this, and sometimes that's all that keeps me going.
     
  30. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    :scared: I'm having more trouble with this 2nd yr? I thought 1st yr was relatively easy.
     
  31. Frogmed

    Frogmed Member
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    I'm a first year. The thought of 2nd year being harder makes me want to jump infront of a semi! :scared: No way would I had believed it could be this hard! I'm sticking with it, but praying time moves fast.
     
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  32. Psycho Doctor

    Psycho Doctor *** Angel
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    i hear you and agree :eek:
     
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  33. rockdoc

    rockdoc MSIV
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    Don't get too discouraged. Second year indeed is harder, but by that time, you should have vastly improved your study habits. That is the plan, anyway... :oops:
     
  34. Iwy Em Hotep

    Iwy Em Hotep The Welcomer
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    Second year is also, in my opinion, vastly more interesting than first year. There's more motivation to learn.
     
  35. oompa loompa

    oompa loompa Senior Member
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    I'm not even in med school yet, and I'm worried that my "study skills" won't suffice for the amount of info we'll be cramming into our heads! I've always struggled with quantity. You know how some people can read a scientific paper thoroughly once and retain about 75% of the info? Well, I can read it *just as thoroughly* and retain only 10% :eek: . I'm starting to wonder if i have a smaller hippocampus or less synaptic connections that the average person!!! Seriously though, I am naturally a very passive learner...the kind who has enough "intuitive" understanding to do well on tests, esp. multiple choice, but when it comes time to explain concepts to another person, I realize how limited my knowledge actually is. How do you guys memorize all the crap that's needed in medical school? I mean, I was a molbio major in college, I waded my way thru biochem, neuroscience and all that, but I feel like I retained only about 5% of what I learned...how do I prevent this from happening in med school?!
     
  36. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    That's what I heard last yr...... so far I don't agree :thumbdown:
     
  37. THP

    THP Senior Member
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    I'm with you thackl, 2nd year is 10 times harder and about the same level of interest. It seems like all I am doing is memorizing lists (ie how many of the 7 criteria for "X" rheumatic disease must be met for a diagnosis). At the same time, I don't feel nearly as lost as I did last year and I feel like I know much more.

    A lot of it depends on how the material is presented.
     
  38. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    I knew more last yr...... but then again, 1st yr was more about understanding, visualization and spacial relationships (my strong points). I'm a good memorizer once I get motivated, but I don't seem to find the motivation until I'm pretty backed up.
     
  39. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Same here, there is TONS to memorize for second year. Although some classes do lend themselves to understanding the majority are puper memorization fests ahghghggh!
     
  40. Key to happiness and success in med school:

    Spend less time in the library and on the Internet, and more time at the beach. If no beach is available, then exercise more.
     
  41. nicko18

    nicko18 Membre
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    I think some people need to discover how to study. I hate seeing people put in so much time and effort yet consistently struggle with basic concepts.

    I think the key to learning is "understanding" rather than rote learning a lot of it, and then later move onto rote learning once you understand concepts, because the details WILL STICK if you understand the physiology. (Maybe thats why it's important to work hard in 1st year so you have the concepts ;))

    At any rate, i tutored a fellow student this year who turned up to every lecture but was struggling. It turns out he was recording the lectures, and listening to them again at night. He would also record tutes and my sessions with him and listen to them over to re-enforce.

    This is an example of an extremely inefficient way to study, and as you can see, it would take all day and then some to cover a couple of lectures. I think sourcing your information from at least 2 sources really rams home concepts, as each will approach it in a different way. I'll skim over a lecture, read Robbins, maybe skim through what Davidsons has to say on it and it will stick.
     

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