04 January, 2017
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People across the world are looking forward to 2017; looking forward to the end of celebrity deaths, war, famine, and all the silly trends (I'm looking at you, mannequin challenge!) throughout the world that was associated with 2016. However, for some very lucky and exceptional people, 2017 also means the start of one of the greatest adventures that they will embark upon in their lives – medical school. In only two to three weeks, fresh-faced medical students will delve into the very basics of medical practice, and will be quickly overcome with the endless opportunities and possibilities that their studies will offer them. In this first GradReady blog for 2017, we discuss some of the ‘must do’s’ of the first 3 months of medical school! From the perspective of a recent graduate, who has been there all before, we hope to ensure the start of your medical school journey is as enjoyable and rewarding as possible!
MEET PEOPLE: Though it seems obvious, it is worthwhile to stress this point. Many undergraduate courses have hundreds of students enrolled, and you are never able to meet every single one of your classmates. However, at medical school, you will quickly find out that there is a very tight-knit environment, and you will work closely with your colleagues throughout the journey. If you were normally an introvert in undergraduate, try to make a big effort to be as social as possible in the first few weeks – it will set you up very well for the course!
GET INVOLVED: Join your local medical/surgical/world health societies! Even if you may not be immediately interested in the profession the club represents, every organisation offers excellent academic and social opportunities that will benefit your personal development and/or studies. Again, in undergraduate courses, it is not typical for students to be heavily involved in societies, but life at medical school tends to revolve around these clubs.
MEET THE STAFF: Don’t be afraid of being labelled as the ‘teacher’s pet’ – you will find throughout your studies that the medical school staff are going to be intensely involved in your education and at the start of your medical career. Many of these individuals will be your future colleagues in hospital practice, and also have fantastic research and extracurricular opportunities – so make sure you introduce yourself and see if you have similar areas of interest!
TAKE A BREAK: The first few weeks will be a whirlwind – you’ll most likely be drained pretty quickly due to the new content and the new people to meet! Make sure you check out your local area and find some relaxing pastimes to take you away from the books – and keep taking breaks throughout the course to keep your sanity intact!
SOCIALISE: Although covered above in the ‘meet people’, you will also find that there are a lot of social events on the medical school calendar. This may include the medical ball, gala dinners, or even local house parties with your colleagues. It is a fantastic idea to get along to these, even if you’re not a big ‘party person’ – simply relaxing with your classmates, and getting to know other students from higher grades, is vital to make strong connections early on in medical school! Always stay safe, look out for your friends, and have fun!
MEET ‘OLDER’ STUDENTS: You will find in medical school that there is a lot of interactivity between grades, which is very different than undergraduate studies. Make sure to put special importance into this, as the ‘older’ (i.e. from higher grade levels) students often have excellent tips, study notes, and opportunities that they will be delighted to impart upon you!
We are all very excited for the start of your wonderful journey this year, and the whole team at GradReady wishes you good luck! You’ve gotten through the GAMSAT® Exam, aced the interview, and you are finally ready to start your life-changing journey into medicine – and I assure you, you’ve done the hard part!
Thanks for reading! - Elliot