A fourth semester student made me realize that I will be giving the same advice to first semester students again next semester. And again after that. Instead of repeating myself, I’ll simply share how to pass your first semester of medical school at Ross University as well as study skill advice.
Beware of who you take advice from (except me of course)
I distinctively remember being told by an upper semester ‘not to bother focusing on lymphatic drainage’. Low and behold, at least three questions on lymphatic drainage popped up on my first exam. Similarly, last semester was the exordium of Ross teaching first semester students immunology. It just goes to show you that each semester is unique. Be aware that Ross is continually adapting to improve our educational experience and professors and material change- no two semesters are identical thus far. So, listen to your upper semester peers. They are smart and have gone through everything you are about to experience. Just take everything with a grain of salt.
Surround yourself with positivity.
You are going to have enough on your plate this semester without having negative-Nancy bothering you. It might seem discourteous, but avoid negative people who bring you down at all costs. Find a good group of friends who exude positivity and stick with them. I don’t know how I would have been able to make it through my first semester without the support of my friends down here in Dominica.
Work hard, play hard.
Find ways to reward yourself for all of the hard work you put in. It can be going for a swim in the Caribbean, playing basketball or soccer in the evening, or simply enjoying a good novel. Whatever it is that helps you unwind and relax- do it. You can’t study non-stop every single day or else you will simply burn out. Med school is a marathon, not a race (and no, you don’t sprint marathons).
Remind yourself why you are here.
Every once in a while I found myself down and out. It was a long and hectic week with not nearly enough sleep. I needed to find motivation to keep going. I went home, showered, relaxed, and reminded myself of all the years of hard work and dedication I invested in myself in order to simply gain acceptance into medical school. I thought about how proud both my parents and I will be when I graduate. I thought about how much I look forward to treating my first patient. Just like that, my smile returned to my face and motivation to my mind. Keep your long-term goals in the back of your mind and don’t forget why you are here.
Don’t compare yourself to the valedictorian.
There are going to be other students with master’s degrees in biochemistry and other students who have previously been anatomy TA’s. Don’t stress about what other people know. Focus on what is in your control instead of lamenting over the fact that someone else might know a certain subject in more detail that you do. There is a fine line between recognizing that you might want to look over the anatomy of the arm once more after your friend displayed such an amazing mastery of the limb and freaking out because you feel like you don’t know anything.
Although it should go without saying, don’t forget to study.