Getting into medical school is a challenge in and of itself. Once you're in, how do you successfully stay afloat? Is there a wrong method of studying? How can you avoid burning yourself out? What are some of the best study practices? Will you ever have any free time? We've compiled a list of the top seven things that can either make or break any medical student.
The importance of sleep
It may seem like a no-brainier, but it's worth mentioning that, without the proper amount of sleep and rest, your body and brain are less capable of preforming at their best. Get as much sleep as possible; otherwise, you will burn out quickly, have less focus, and the consequences are two-fold. Your body will suffer, your memory won't be as sharp, and as a result, your grades will reflect the neglect. So rule number one, prioritize your time, and make sure you get enough sleep.
A lot of students wait until the last minute to prepare for tests. If you really focus on your time management skills, you won't have time to even think about "cramming." Here's the deal on why cramming is terrible. As a medical student, your goal is to become a trusted medical doctor. The classes you're taking in medical school focus on complex topics, from anatomy to pharmacology with a wide ranging variety of subject matter, which all connects these aspects together, in one way or another. Authentic learning means understanding the concepts and building upon each idea and theory you learn. Cramming, for the most part, may get you by with a brief stint of temporary memorization. Medicine is more than memorization. Waiting until the night before an important test tends to leave you with one option, cramming. Overall, this is not only a bad habit, but it will not get you to where you need to be, and that's at graduation and into a successful medical residency and then onward into your own professional practice.
Learn from the best in a small environment
At Trinity, our faculty and staff are leaders in medical education and well-versed in their respective fields of medicine. We realize the advantages of learning in smaller groups. Our student to faculty ratio remains low, because we only accept a small number of students into each term. Learning in a smaller environment has proven to be more successful when compared to larger ones. You will not find lecture halls with hundreds of students coupled with one professor at a time anywhere on Trinity's campuses. When you attend Trinity, you can expect professors and faculty alike to address you by your name, and offer individualized learning plans as needed. You'll also be attending a medical school with other like-minded individuals, who are there for the same reasons as you. There's no cut-throat competition among our students. Everyone is there to succeed and help one another along the way.
Make time to kick-back relax, and exercise
It's not all about having your nose in the books. That's a one-way ticket to "burn-out-ville." You should have plenty of time to get to all of your classes, with plenty of time left over. Make sure you balance your time appropriately between classes. Doing so will give you the time to "kick-back" and relax. Of course, relaxing for some may include catching their favorite streaming series, talking or video chatting on the phone with their best friend, or reading books that have nothing whatsoever to do with school. Whereas for some, getting to the gym and exercising may be their preferred way to unwind. There are hundreds of ways this category could be written. The main takeaway is that as a medical student, you must make sure you're making time to mix in relaxation, along with your studies (stay healthy too).
Keep in touch with family and friends back home
Staying connected with your family and friends is extremely important. Now that you're a medical student staying connected to your family and friends can help you stay balanced or grounded at times when you feel like you're homesick or need a familiar voice to call on. On the other hand, you're going to have exciting milestones that you'll want to share with your family and friends. Make sure you keep an open line of communication with them, not just in times of uncertainty. If you're thousands of miles apart, use your video messaging services often and surprise your friends and family back home with frequent "snail mail" letters, cards, or even postcards. Know your academic calendar and share it with your friends and family. You're going to have summer breaks, fall breaks, holiday breaks, spring breaks. Some breaks will be longer than others. Know which breaks offer you the most time, ahead of time, to make travel plans. The more advance notice you have to make those travel plans, the less expensive (generally speaking) airline tickets cost. You can also give your friends and family the option; perhaps, they'd like to travel to you at some point during your medical career.
Make new friends at school
Staying in touch with friends you've already made is important, so is making new friends. Remember, you are in a new environment, with others who are new and who are also in the same new environment. There's a good chance they don't know anyone and are looking to make some new friends, just like you. So, introduce yourself. Look at the school's student-run organizations, see if there's anything you'd like to join. Connecting with new people is critical. Medical school is hard enough, having a network of friends on campus will be a great way to have a built-in support system, and friendships for life will form. Trinity students enjoy an active lifestyle outside the classroom through student-led organizations and associations that are aligned with our diverse student body as well as academic associations and cause-oriented organizations.
Find a mentor; be a mentor
As you enter medical school as a freshman, you'll have a lot of questions regarding a variety of topics. Upper-class students are good people to seek out for advice. After all, they've been in your shoes and know what you're going through as you start your medical school career. Find out if the school has a peer mentorship program. Don't be afraid to ask anyone ahead of you for help or advice. Additionally, professors and attendings can be great mentors. If you're an upper-class student, offer guidance to your younger peers, if they ask you to be a mentor, say yes. If for whatever reason you are unable to, give them a few names of your friends who you know that would make great mentors.
More About Trinity School of Medicine
Trinity School of Medicine is a leader and top choice in Caribbean medical schools and holds the highest level of accreditation from the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP) which affords successful graduates to practice medicine in the United States, Canada, India, and other locations around the world. Through rigorous academics, a supportive environment, world-class partnerships, and personal attention, we graduate, match, and deliver skilled, compassionate, and successful physicians throughout the world.
Schedule a phone consultation with an admissions director
Our investment in students is not only providing an exceptional learning experience, but in fostering an environment of care, trust, and commitment to ensure our students ultimate success.
Trinity is the one school that will invest personally and professionally in you with your success as its core mission.