You will fail
Let's be honest once and for all - everybody.will.fail.at.some.point. I failed several times. I can't even remember how many times I tried to pass my midterm in Histology. Feeling so hopeless and stupid, like I was going to be the worst doctor ever. Well, truth be told, this isn't the end of the world. And no, you will not become the worst doctor ever if you do not pass Histology on your first try. The most important thing when you fail is what you do after. Do you simply quit or do you try over and over again till you pass?
Here is what you need to do:
- Stop crying, get your ass out of the shower, and go to the study hall
- Study like there is no tomorrow and
- You'll pass that shit
Am I stupid?
The first few months in Med School I felt really stupid. When the teacher asked us a question I did not answer because I was so afraid to say something wrong. I always felt that my colleagues knew more and spent a lot more time studying. After I while I realized that we all were equally stupid/smart (depends on how you look at it). But people tend to act confident, and in my case that made me feel even more insecure. So please remember this: nobody knows what they are doing! We are all just a bunch of book worms who forget how to use our social antennas.
I cannot express how important it is to take breaks. Go for a walk, watch your favorite TV-show, sing in the shower, go to the gym, eat cake with a friend, or get drunk at a club. Just do something else than studying in your PJ's. I spent so much time studying and worrying for the next quiz or final, that I forgot to have fun along the way. There will always be another test or a paper that is due, so you just have to take time to visit your family or go to the gym. These breaks will give you the energy you need to keep study when things get hard.
34-hours in a day
As a medical student I truly wish that the day had more than 24-hours. It is not enough time to do everything you want to do. You follow the timetable and syllabuses, the Bibles of Med School, to the best of your ability. Soon enough you'll realize that you are always one step (or twenty) behind your reading schedule. But here is the secret: so is everyone else. So you should stop worrying and just try your best to keep up with it. I know it is a lot to read. There is always a test you need to pass to be able to take the final, but try to actually learn something. Do not study to pass that one final, but try to collect as much knowledge as possible. One day you do not have time to look up a drug in a text book or Google the symptoms. Luckily it takes a long time to get that MD diploma, so if you don't understand everything after the first year you still have time on your side.
Get your beauty sleep
During my first semester I did not stick with my sleeping routine. I went to school in the morning. Had a power nap when I got home. Then I studied for a few hours. Another power nap. Then I stayed up as long as there was caffein in my blood. Repeat. I decided to change my behavior the second semester because sleep is very very very important. Your brain needs to disconnect and prepare itself for a new day of learning. I tried to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Even during the examination session. The funny thing is that my grades did actually improve the second semester, but I think that is a combination of several factors with sleep as one of the major reasons. It doesn't do any good staying up all night trying to memorize a book if you fall asleep during the test (I've actually seen this happen several times). The bottom line is that you need your beauty sleep!!