Little-Known Ways To Survive Life As A Medical Student
As a med school student, you will need to prepare yourself for long hours, plenty of studying, and a lot of anatomy, physiology, biology, and more. Depending on the medical field you plan on entering, your years in school may vary. However, the trials and tribulations you face will be quite similar. Although medical school can seem daunting and overwhelming at times, there are some little-known ways to survive.
Find Unique Ways to Cope with Stress
Stress and depression are the most common emotions medical students deal with. Considering that you will likely spend approximately 9,000 hours studying and participating in labs, lectures, and patient care, it is no wonder stress is so common. Stress and depression are so problematic that approximately half of all med students get burned out while an estimated 10% consider suicide.
If you are dedicated enough to want to pursue medical school, then fear not. There are some little known ways to combat stress and depression to help you survive. Make use of the following tips:
- Be Prepared to Snap: Although it may seem like a bit of a stretch (pun intended), snapping a rubber band against your wrist can help you combat stress. Wear a rubber band around your wrist, and when you start to feel stressed, lightly snap it against the inside of your wrist. The sensation you feel is similar to that of a pinch. Eventually, your brain will try to avoid feeling stressed in order to avoid the light pinch.
- Blow it Off: Do not literally blow off feelings of stress. Instead, blow up a balloon. Keep a few balloons on hand, whether in your backpack or your pocket. When you start to feel stressed, inflate the balloon. By blowing up the balloon, you will force yourself to breathe deeply, therefore reducing your stress levels.
- Fish for Solutions: It is often said that animals can reduce stress, which is why animal therapy exists in nursing homes and other institutions. As a medical student, it is not advised that you own a dog or a cat. Considering how many hours you will need to study and go to school, you will have little time for a furry friend. Instead, invest in a small aquarium. Observing fish in an aquarium can ease stress and depression.
Be Prepared for the Third and Fourth Year
Once you enter your third and fourth year of medical school, you will begin interacting with patients and medical staff at local hospitals. Considering that you will now deal with homework, classwork, tests, exams, and patients, you will need to properly prepare yourself in order to survive your third and fourth year.
The hours you put in during your third and fourth year of med school can seem nightmarish compared to the first two years. However, it is during this time of your education that things become more rewarding. You finally learn how a hospital environment operates and you have a chance to see and assist patients in a variety of ways.
Fortunately, the following dos and don'ts can assist you in surviving the more advanced years of your medical school experience:
- DO: Go out of your way to learn how to write a SOAP note. SOAP notes are the standard form of documentation used for medical evaluation in hospitals, doctor's offices, and other health care settings. SOAP stands for: Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. Learning how to write a SOAP note will allow you to get a step ahead, thereby making your life easier.
- DO: Offer to assist with patients and procedures whenever possible. The more hands on experience you get, the better your understanding. Plus, hands on experience allows you to better retain information when compared to pouring over text books for hours on end.
- DO: Find the senior resident and ask him or her plenty of questions. It is best if you schedule a time to sit down and visit with the senior resident considering that they have their own busy agenda. Use your time with the resident well, and ask for clarification on any procedures or terms that you do not understand.
- DON'T: Get in the way of the interns, nurses, and doctors. You must keep in mind that you are there to learn. You have not quite finished your education just yet. Therefore, do not jump in on a procedure or testing even if you think you know what to do. Always wait for a more experienced staff member to instruct you on what you should do.
- DON'T: Forego your homework and other class related studies. Since you will be spending time in hospitals and health care settings, you may start to relax on your homework, studies, and exams. This is a big no-no that could lead to ultimate failure. Make sure you keep your grades up at all times if you wish to pass med school.
By following these tips, tricks, and important bits of advice, you will be better equipped to tackle life as a med student. If you would like to find out more information about becoming a medical student, speak with an institution near you, like ASA College.
A university counselor can help you in selecting a field of practice that best suits you. The counselor can also provide additional tips to help you reduce the stress and anxiety that is often associated with medical school, thereby improving your chances of succeeding.