Six years in medical school and all I’ve learned are these 15 things?
Ok, so it’s probably a little more than just 15… From the importance of punctuality to dealing with failure, Wendy Evans-Uhegbu, our Royal College of Surgeons Ireland Ambassador shares some nuggets of wisdom she’s gathered over the past six years of study…
Don’t spend all your time in the library during your clinical years. Spending as much time as you can on the wards (interacting with patients and their variety of health conditions, as well as observing and working with the various healthcare professionals) will provide you with invaluable clinical experiences and knowledge that the books cannot offer you.
Work life balance
This phenomenon is actually harder than it seems but at the same extremely important to maintain your sanity. Find extra-curricular activities that you enjoy and make them a part of your routine whilst you are in medical school. Endeavour to attend social events in college, they can actually be a lot of fun and will afford you the opportunity to get to know other students. Connect with family as often as you deem fit.
“With medicine being a relatively competitive career path, it’s very easy to forget that everyone around you, though studying the same courses, is on a different journey. How well or badly others do should not affect or distract you. Comparing yourself to others is most definitely the root of insecurity.”
Ever feel absolutely helpless/confused/overwhelmed? Get help as soon as possible! Luckily for us, we live in a society where a variety of platforms have been made available to help us through – mentally and emotionally – tough times. If you need to talk get in touch with people like the welfare teams at RCSI, your international office or call a service like Niteline (LoCall 1890 793 793).
Failing a year or an exam is not the end of the world, honestly! I kid you not! It might actually be the best thing that has ever happened to you, not just in medical school but also in life! It has happened to the best of us. I failed 2 exams in my 3rd year and at first it seemed like the worst thing in the world but I am glad to say it changed my life for the better in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
“…if you want to improve your grades, think about what you have been doing and how you have been doing it.”
Still on the topic of failure, as cliché as it may sound, failure to prepare is basically preparation to fail. Exams coming up? Prepare! Start on time to avoid that last minute adrenaline rush red bull-pumping coffee-gulping feeling. It’s not cute. Set daily/weekly/monthly/annual goals, construct and utilise a study timetable that best suits you and your working style.
Look after yourself
In the midst of all this chaos, don’t neglect your own non-academic needs to avoid burning out. Take a break every now and then. Weekend getaways to other parts of Ireland or its neighbouring countries are always a good idea. You get to experience new places and take a well-deserved break at the same time. Pamper yourself, get your hair done, thread your eyebrows, wear a gorgeous lipstick on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon or do yoga! Whatever makes you feel good, do it – you deserve it!
“…starve your distractions and feed your focus.”
Thou shall not procrastinate
Nope! Don’t do it, it’s a trap!
Never underestimate the power of self-reflection. Ever since I discovered this phenomenon, it has become part of my daily routine and boiiii has it changed my entire being.
“Find extra-curricular activities that you enjoy and make them a part of your routine whilst you are in medical school.”
Just try, try really hard, you can do this!
Be professional! Not just in college or at the teaching hospitals but also on social media, on the bus, etc. Make it a lifestyle, a habit.
If you ever find yourself partaking in this act of resting before you are actually tired….stop!
Same old, same old
You honestly cannot be doing the same things and at the same time be expecting different results. If you want to improve your grades, think about what you have been doing and how you have been doing it. Try something new, keep trying new things until you get the results you desire
If it’s on your timetable, just attend. Endeavour not to miss out on an opportunity to absorb new knowledge or reinforce what you might already know.
Someone once told me “starve your distractions and feed your focus”.
It is unfair to compare
With medicine being a relatively competitive career path, it’s very easy to forget that everyone around you, though studying the same courses, is on a different journey. How well or badly others do should not affect or distract you. Comparing yourself to others is most definitely the root of insecurity. Try not to use other people as a measuring scale to rate yourself. The other person’s gain does not equate to your loss, their fortunes do not mean your misfortune, and their opportunities do not mean your lack of opportunities.
Until we meet again, good luck and stay 15 points wiser…