Day in the life of a first term medical student

Hi all!

So it’s been a few weeks since midterms (by the way, so thankful I made it out of there alive) and everyone is finally getting back into the swing of studying all day every day. We had a nice gap where we didn’t have too many labs, and it gave us all a false sense of security that things will get any easier than the first half of the semester…NOPE. So I figured it would make a cool blog post to let everyone know what I personally go through on an average day. Just as a disclaimer, this is definitely not what medical school will be like for EVERYONE, some people are blessed enough to have more of a social life than I do and still do well in school.

7:00 AM: Alarm goes off ….. nnnnnngh, no thanks. I’ll go back to sleep. SNOOZE

7:20 AM: Second alarm goes off because I know myself well enough to snooze at the first 7 AM alarm.

7:30 AM: Finish checking facebook, instagram, personal email, school email, vine, etc.

8:00 AM: On the elliptical/spin bike/treadmill/stairmaster at the schools’ gym….This is the best time to go because there are hardly any people there. You’re in the gap where the super intense 6 AM-ers are done with their work out, but the 9-10 AM rush hasn’t kicked in just yet. I usually bring some form of notes with me, but let’s be honest, I only give myself 30 minutes to work out, I’m going to jam out to some music and pretend that I am at Ultra Music Festival (a way better alternative than studying).

9 AM: Back from gym, took a shower and eating a quick breakfast. While I eat, I write down a list of goals I have for the day, I normally write down too many so I prioritize between what I MUST get done, and what I WANT to get done. There will always be something for you to do or to study, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve every single thing that is on your to do-list, be reasonable. Your self esteem will thank you later.

9:30-12 PM: Pre-read for class……so I’m definitely a night owl, so studying in the morning and afternoon isn’t super effective. But I know I have to do something¬†, so I do something that I can passively do and that is pre-reading. Pre reading for me essentially means to download the days’ powerpoint lectures onto my tablet and to just read through it. If there’s a term or a particular pathway on the slide that looks absolutely foreign to me – I don’t sweat it. I repeat, DO NOT worry about it. Just mark it, and pay extra attention in class. Have a little star or some sort of symbol next to that bullet point will remind me to pay attention in class. I have a few hours of class a day, and pre-reading personally helps me, again, not for everyone. But I personally don’t want to be surprised when I get to class with what subjects or topics I’m about to be taught.

12:30 PM: Pretty tired, I woke up early to go to the gym and having been going non stop every since. I take a power nap, right before classes so that I can feel more awake.

12:45 PM: Quick bite to eat and I’m out the door to class.

1 – 5 PM: Class…..on the days I actually DO go to class (some of the time I love to watch the recorded lectures instead in order to speed up, pause, rewind, etc…if your medical school offers this, DEFINITELY utilize it – it makes more sense to sleep the extra hour and then watch recorded lectures than to fool yourself into thinking you’re learning by just sitting there and being tired in class)

5 – 6 PM: Break time! I do whatever I want during this time. I can catch up on The Walking Dead, or watch Colbert Report, just really relax my mind. This is so important, we aren’t robots…we need the time to relax.

6 – 11 PM: Post read…..so remember before when I said don’t sweat the small details that I didn’t understand before? Well, that’s because my post reading time is when I actually concentrate on understanding the material for the day. I’ll write a blog post with my actual methods of studying, because that’s a WHOLE other topic.

11 – 12:30 AM: My roommate and I have this really great system where after we are both done post-reading or doing independent studying for the day, we just meet up in the common space and just talk about the things we learned from the day. It’s really great because she covers the gaps in my knowledge for certain subjects, and I’ll help her with others. It just further reinforces the concepts. We can’t stick to this every day because you know, life happens – but we try to do it as often as possible. Group study is a MUST for me! But only after I get my own business together.

1 – 3/4 AM: Now this is where some people definitely differ from me. I take the last few hours before I go to bed, to do more post reading that I may not have been able to complete before. Or I just do practice questions repeatedly. I personally am a night owl and I have zero problem going to bed so late – this isn’t the case for everyone. Is it healthy? Probably not. But do I get my work done? Yes. Some people are definitely more efficient than me, and it’s possible that I may have a harder time adjusting to the whole medical school thing a little tougher than others. And if you don’t have to stay up this late, DEFINITELY don’t do it. I don’t usually keep this kind of schedule every single day, some days I’ll go to bed at 1-2 AM, other days I’ll just pull all nighters. It just depends on what the reality of the situation is. Again, this is just me, please don’t chop off my head for it. I know the first term is normally the one with what seems to be the biggest work load because I am a brand new student – hopefully I won’t have to keep this up for much longer. But hey, I passed the exams and I think I know my stuff, and I do catch up with my body on the weekends.

So there’s one of my average days that I have here in medical school. Take from it what you will, but if you’re reading this and you’re also a medical school I would LOVE to hear what your study schedule is like. Please please please tell me it gets better? If not, I feel like I’ve been preparing for the worst.

Now everyone go get some sleep,

TenaciousMD

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