Starting Medical School – Tips to Settle in
Starting medical school is an incredibly exciting time in your life. Years of hard work and perseverance have led to this moment, and your journey to becoming a doctor is about to begin. Change, however, can also be nerve-wracking, and you might be worried about moving away from home, keeping up with the workload or making friends. Remember, it is completely normal to be nervous, and this is nothing to be ashamed about!
To help you with this transition, we have gathered some useful advice from current medical students. Below are their top tips to help you settle in.
1) Get involved
Every medical school has a main student society, often known as ‘MedSoc’. They run a series of large social events throughout the year, a great way for you to meet fellow students and relax outside of class. They also organise some great educational events such as revision seminars before exams. These are usually run by students in the older years who will share their experiences and knowledge with you, so definitely utilise this!
Besides the general ‘Medsoc’, every medical school has additional sub-societies. These will include medic sports teams and societies specific to certain areas of medicine, such as ‘Dermatology Society’, ‘Emergency Medicine Society’, ‘Surgery Society’ and so on! These are usually smaller and tighter-knit groups. You need absolutely zero prior knowledge about the area to get involved, and they are an excellent way to make friends with people who have like-minded interests! You could even be on the committee in the later years of med school.
2) Never be afraid to ask for help
Your tutors are not just there to teach you about medicine they are also there to look out for you! Never be afraid to speak to them if you are worried or struggling with something. Even if you think they cannot help directly, they can signpost you to the people who can. Your medical school or university will also have Student Support Services who are on hand to help.
Remember, asking for help is not a weakness! Whether you have a serious concern or simply want to know which bus to catch, people are on hand to support you.
3) Be organised from the start
The first few weeks of medical school will be extremely busy! From Fresher’s Week and all the welcome events to meeting new people and exploring new places, your days will be jam-packed. You should not put pressure on yourself to be revising a lot during this time and instead just remember to stay organised in a ‘smart’ way. For example, if you attend a difficult lecture during these busy few weeks, remember to jot down the points covered so you can come back to them when you have some more time.
4) Expect ups and downs
Like anything in life, your time at medical school will contain a mixture of highs and lows. You may miss home, find making friends difficult or struggle with the workload. When you are feeling down, make sure to take time for yourself and focus on your mental well-being. Do activities that relax your body and mind, such as reading a book, practicing yoga or listening to music. Also, make sure you have the numbers of trusted family members, friends, tutors and university support teams close by and don’t be afraid to call or facetime them! They will be able to support you.
Remember, you will also have lots of exciting experiences during your time at medical school which will create amazing memories that will stay with you forever. You have worked so hard to get in, so believe in yourself and enjoy it! Best of luck!