21. Don’t lose your Passion: Passion is more than a feeling, it is a series of decisions that drive you towards your goal. When you’re passionate about something, you just don’t do it because you have to, you do it because you WANT to.
Not everyone has the bravery or opportunity to embrace their passion; in order to survive, most people prefer to be practical rather than passionate. (Singyin Lee). The difference however is always clear between a passionate doctor and an ordinary one.
22. Set Priorities and Rewards:
“This is a very practical one for me, I set priorities for school work during the semester, and plan ahead for the holidays. I try to focus and do well during school and tell myself I’ve got the whole vacation as a reward for my hard work.” says Tinu, a medical student.
23. Don’t sweat the small stuff:
Most medical students will tell you that medical school is tough, which is relatively true. However, you’ll be doing yourself a great injustice if you see everything as overwhelmingly difficult. Rather than focus on what you don’t know for instance, do what you know and keep working on getting better with others. As long as you remain consistent with studying and observing, you will overcome the hurdles.
It took a while for me to summon enough courage to take blood samples from patients while some of my junior colleagues were already good at it. Thankfully, I could do other things like taking patient history, physical exam, writing out discharge notes etc Eventually what seemed such an arduous task became a relatively easy skill for me.
24. Faith in God:
The place of faith in the medical school journey cannot be overemphasized. Like all of life’s challenges it is accompanied by risks and fears, but when you see medicine as more than a career path but a call to God’s purpose, you have the confidence that no matter what, the outcome will be victorious.
With God, ALL things (including your dream of becoming a medical doctor) are possible!*
25. Set simple goals and achieve them:
Setting goals no matter how simple they are, sets you apart as an individual. It will show in your commitment, perseverance and diligence towards a given cause. For starters, it can be as simple as- getting a better grade in the next Anatomy exam.
26. Be your greatest cheerleader:
Everyday, get up and look into the mirror. Tell yourself where you see yourself in a few years. Encourage yourself when there’s no one else to turn to. Celebrate small victories. A pat on your shoulders, a reassuring smile and a toast after a good exam, all add up eventually.
Over the years, medical students across the globe have learnt healthy ways to cope with the challenges of medical school. Sports, Entertainment and Religious activities are a few. The key is to discover the things that give you joy and do them.
28. Volunteer to teach others:
As medical students, it’s important not just to learn but also to teach others what has been learnt. That way, you are not only helping others to know what they don’t know, you are also helping yourself to remember what you already know.
A good way to do this, is to join a tutorial group where you can offer to teach your junior colleagues (or even classmates) a subject you’re pretty good at.
29. Seek help when you need it:
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at some point despite your best efforts at staying motivated. Times like that require that you seek help, whether from your academic adviser, professional counselor or a spiritual mentor, depending on your need(s). There are also countless self-help materials out there that you may find useful.
30. You’re not alone:
Think of all your senior colleagues and even lecturers who have been up that road and how they scaled through. The truth is, most of them probably had times of self doubts and frustrating grades too. So let their success stories inspire you.
*Matthew 19:26 (Paraphrased)