I have decided to share with you the top 7 lessons I picked from my journey through med school. The lessons are not just specific for medical students though, anyone can apply them to any phase of life they are in.
1. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.
Have you ever asked yourself “what do I want out of medical school?”
It’s not enough to have the desire to become a doctor. You have to know why.
For some, it’s the admiration for famous Doctors like Ben Carson, and for others it’s the motivation to contribute to the cause of humanity e.g. finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.
Whether your purpose for deciding to become a doctor is simply PASSION or PRESTIGE, or a combination of both, take some time to reflect upon it, and know if your goal is worth the effort. Trust me, you’ll need this at some point in your journey.
2. DISCOVER YOURSELF.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you a morning or a night person? What motivates you? What distracts you? These are questions you have to answer. Self discovery is one of the most reliable tools for success. As important as it is to learn from people’s experiences, there isn’t much room for trial and error in med school. So discover what works for you early and go for it.
No student should be an island. The med school curriculum can be tough. It’s ok if you don’t understand a particular concept in Biochemistry or you find it difficult to set an IV line. You’re not alone.
That’s why you have your colleagues and seniors. Most of them are ready to help you because they were likely in your shoes at some point too.
Ask until you understand the what, why and how of your question.
You’re in school to learn and that’s exactly what you should be doing at every opportunity you find.
Ignorance is sometimes pardonable but arrogance is not. Don’t allow your ego to rob you of your dream.
4. ENJOY THE LIFE OUTSIDE THE BOOKS.
My Biochemistry Lecturer quoted this phrase almost after every Friday class. The point is Med school can be all-consuming and is very time-demanding, but it’s still the most flexible period you’ll get, compared to other phases in your medical career i.e. Internship and Residency.
Be careful not to trade what’s IMPORTANT to you, for what is URGENT.
Don’t miss out on ALL other interests because of medical school, you may never have some opportunities again.
The key is BALANCE.
5. RUN IN YOUR OWN LANE.
In med school, you’ll meet some high-flying students. Since it’s typically a gathering of the best among the rest, be careful that you don’t get intimidated by other people’s accomplishments. Whether in the classroom or on the ward, there will likely be students that perform better than you. The key is to focus on your journey and not theirs. You are not sure of their destination.
6. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.
Success is a PERSONAL affair but self-criticism paralyses.
That you’re not seeing results doesn’t mean you’re not putting in efforts, maybe you just need more time than others to get it right. Patience is the key to facing the challenges you will encounter.
One of the factors that motivated me during med school was seeing myself doing things I had challenges with initially. I’ve learnt how to be patient with myself over time as I learn new things.
7. YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR GRADES.
This is so IMPORTANT. Unless you’ve got the genius gene, chances are you’ll face some discouraging bumps in your grades, despite your best efforts sometimes. Don’t let that stop you from reaching the goal. I had some really depressing scores a couple of times, but I had to keep going by faith.
Failure is just a bend, it is not the end of the road. Keep moving!
One of my favorite mantras was: “WITH GOD, MEDICAL SCHOOL IS DOABLE.”
And Glory to God, I conquered it.
Thank you for reading!