You’ve probably dreamed of being a doctor all your life. You’ve attained the required minimum GPA, you’ve aced your TOEFL language exams and MCAT. This is your chance at medical school but you’re having mixed feelings about the prospect of starting medical school.
You’re both excited and nervous about beginning your medical school journey. The uncertainty of the unknown creeps up on you. What is medical school going to be like? How’s your first year going to be? Is your first year going to be difficult?
Here’s a list of some of the things you should expect in your first year of medical school.
You will get to meet new people
You’ll come in contact with different people from all walks of life and background. At All Saints University, we have students from all over the world including Canada, India, United States, Nigeria and Ghana. Some of the new people you meet might be more knowledgeable than you and this could affect your self-esteem.
You might also doubt your abilities and intelligence. However, you must remember that if you weren’t good, you wouldn’t have been considered for medical school in the first place!
Adjust to the stress of medical school
Welcome to a world of countless tests, long hours of study and a treasure trove of assignments! There’s no doubt that medical school is stressful. You’ll spend most of your time in classes and labs. Expect to learn basic human physiology, anatomy, histology and biochemistry in your first year.
You’ll spend time in anatomy lab dissecting cadavers and examining the anatomy of the human body. Anatomy is a course enjoyed by most students. However it is demanding and requires students to devote hours in the lab, each week. There is a lot of memorization to do. You’ll need to memorize your notes for information retention.
Get carried away by activities
There’s a likelihood for you to get carried away by extracurricular and social activities. In the Caribbeans for instance, there is a very vibrant social life and the locals are known for throwing great parties, it’s very easy for medical students to get distracted by these.
Yes, medical school can be stressful and you would want to unwind. However, you should learn how to balance your academics and personal life to prevent mental burnout and boost performance in studies.
Access to opportunities
There are some privileges enjoyed by new students. You can access information about areas of specialization. You can also reach out to any faculty member that you find interesting.
All Saints University School of Medicine, Dominica is proud to have Highly qualified and experienced full-time faculty members with MD, PhD, or MD PhD degrees that any new student can access during school hours. An unhindered access to information and faculty members can increase your chances of becoming a physician.
Get used to your first year routine
There are times when you feel overwhelmed with exams. There are also periods where it seems you’ve got lots of free time. That’s how unpredictable it can be. It’s best to be prepared for whatever comes up.
Good organisational skills are key if you want to maintain balance during the duration of your medical education.
Your study guide will not be perfect
As earlier mentioned, staying organized is an important skill in succeeding in medical school. As a first year student, your notes will not be perfect as you’ll have to download resources, notes and study guides.
Don’t worry, you’ll get to learn organizational skills over the years in school. These skills will help you put together a study guide that is just right for you.
You might be confused about your field of specialization
You probably always wanted to be pediatrician, most likely because you know a renowned doctor who specializes in pediatrics. However, you’re beginning to rethink your choice, you now want to be a gynecologist. Becoming an plastic surgeon also begins to look attractive during your first few months in pre-medical school.
As a first year medical student, It’s okay to not know the field you want to specialize in. Did you know that there are over 120 specialty and sub-specialty options to choose from? Breathe! You’re just in your first year. Overtime, you would find a specialty you truly enjoy and which you can contribute to professionally.