Medical school can seem scary, and it can seem like an obstacle at times. We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone. In fact, to help out a little, we’ve put together a list of five tips that an upper-year medical student says he wished he knew before he started medical school.

5 Things to Know Before Entering Medical School

Enjoy the journey.
For the first few months of medical school, it’s okay to relax. The next four years are going to consist of you studying and doing hands-on work. It’s okay to go slow at first and just enjoy your time, before things get harder. But overall, medical school isn’t hard. In fact, it’s similar to any other occupation. The only difference here is that you’re taking care of living, breathing humans.

The amount of content is hard, not the content itself.
The problem with going to medical school is that it’s like drinking out of a fire hose. You’re given a semester worth of information in 2-3 weeks, and you don’t get to freeze time to learn all of it. While you’re grasping the last topic you learned over the last two weeks, your professor is moving on to the next, and it feels as though you’re constantly trying to catch up. This is your friendly reminder that you’re never going to learn everything.

Plan out what you want to learn.
It’s important for you to focus on the things you want to learn the most. You should set aside some time to focus on those specific things a little more, even though you’re already learning everything else at the same time. Remember, the way you learned things in college may be different than the way you learn things in medical school – and that is okay! The only thing that’s actually different about medical school is the amount of things you have to learn.

Find a mentor.
You should make it a priority to find an upper year mentor, or maybe a few of them. They just went through the things you’re going through, so the information is fresh in their mind. The insight an upper year mentor will have is different than the insight that an advisor or even a professor will have. Your mentor(s) can tell you pretty much anything you want to know, but it is important to have more than one mentor so that you can get different perspectives. They all are going to have advice for you, and some of it just might not work for you – and that’s okay.

Medical schools are collaborative, not competitive.
You work together in medical school, not against each other. At the end of the day, everyone has the same end goal. You all likely will be working together in the future, which means that you’re on the same team. No one is trying to compete against one another, and you’re all just trying to learn. Also, your medical school will likely be pass/fail. This means that there won’t be comparison between students.



Crystal Carter

Crystal Carter, Content Marketing Specialist

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