Something you wish you knew before starting medical school?

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    Hi everyone,

    I am curious to know from the senior students if there is anything they wish they knew before starting medical school?
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    (Original post by aos.96)
    Hi everyone,

    I am curious to know from the senior students if there is anything they wish they knew before starting medical school?
    1. don't spend loads of money on textbooks; you won't use them, and your medical school library will have all that you need. Maybe just get a good anatomy textbook.
    2. do not live in the library; make sure you make time for other non-medicine activities, especially in your pre-clinical years.
    3. if you have an interest in a certain area of medicine, or research, try and do something to boost your CV early, as the opportunities (or rather, time to do anything) later will be more tricky. however, do not let anyone tell you it's too late
    4. when you hit clinical years, befriend the F1s; this can make your life 100% easier

    I'm sure there's some other medical-school specific stuff that can be advised upon. Where are you studying?
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    Most med students are used to being at or near the top of their year. You may be one of those people who sail through med school and if you are that's great, but prepare to be knocked down a few pegs. Remember that most people are npt honest about how much work they're doing, how much they're struggling, or how much they're doubting themselves. Try not to compare yourself to others

    Related to that, deciles do NOT matter. Stuck in the 10th decile? Who cares, a pass is a pass. 1st decile every year? Congratulations, but shut up about it because no one cates about that either. Some people get so competitive about that stuff and it's just pointless. Do your best

    Oh, and go to your damn lectures. Christ
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    (Original post by Ghotay)
    Oh, and go to your damn lectures. Christ
    I was actually going to say the complete opposite to this. Unless there's an attendance sheet, don't feel pressurised to do stuff like going to lectures if it's not actually helping you learn. Use the time to actually study in a productive way that works for you. Lectures are a guaranteed way to make me fall asleep. Why bother putting myself through that when I could actually do something useful instead?

    Apart from that, I think the biggest thing I wish I'd appreciated (especially when starting clinical years) is that it's okay to feel really clueless/thick, and not to take what happens at the hospital personally. It takes a while to build up a certain level of detachment and trying to take the long view, but it's pretty essential if you want to stay sane tbh.

    Apart from that, try and enjoy it, do social things, find friends, both for fun and for studying, don't be a douche, etc, etc.
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    (Original post by Ghotay)
    Most med students are used to being at or near the top of their year. You may be one of those people who sail through med school and if you are that's great, but prepare to be knocked down a few pegs. Remember that most people are npt honest about how much work they're doing, how much they're struggling, or how much they're doubting themselves. Try not to compare yourself to others

    Related to that, deciles do NOT matter. Stuck in the 10th decile? Who cares, a pass is a pass. 1st decile every year? Congratulations, but shut up about it because no one cates about that either. Some people get so competitive about that stuff and it's just pointless. Do your best

    Oh, and go to your damn lectures. Christ
    I also agree with Demo, some lectures are just pointless for me to attend and I can do a lot more in that hour in the library or at home. In the last semester, I skipped so many because I wanted to have more control over my time and it paid off.
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    (Original post by aos.96)
    Hi everyone,

    I am curious to know from the senior students if there is anything they wish they knew before starting medical school?
    You don't get as many choices as you think you will in your early career.
    So therefore you are well off to join the RAF/Navy and get paid through uni then get paid extra bucks to serve your time thereafter.

    Really wish I had done it.
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    (Original post by Jamie)
    You don't get as many choices as you think you will in your early career.
    So therefore you are well off to join the RAF/Navy and get paid through uni then get paid extra bucks to serve your time thereafter.

    Really wish I had done it.
    I'm sorry what do you mean by small amount of options? Could you elaborate please.
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    I wish i'd started research earlier, so much time that i simply wasted.
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    Heard you have to have a strong stomach and be prepared to put in loads of late nights.
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    (Original post by aos.96)
    I'm sorry what do you mean by small amount of options? Could you elaborate please.
    You get preferences and half choices.
    Like you can rank your choice of foundation schools by region and then the rotations within that region. But your favourite hospital will still not have your fave subject, nor allow you to go to another fave hospital after it.
    Not like year back when you simply applied to hospitals directly and so could avoid any you didnt like.
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    I was actually going to say the complete opposite to this. Unless there's an attendance sheet, don't feel pressurised to do stuff like going to lectures if it's not actually helping you learn. Use the time to actually study in a productive way that works for you. Lectures are a guaranteed way to make me fall asleep. Why bother putting myself through that when I could actually do something useful instead?
    Ditto. I do not learn well in a lecture environment, and I always resented the attendance-sheeted ones for dragging me away from the kind of environment where I was able to learn (in a library/at home with textbooks and the internet and lots of paper to draw/write notes on). OP - if you're learning enough to pass your exams comfortably, that's what's important - so stick to what works for you.

    It's the opposite in clinical years. Obviously don't feel you have to hang around if there's nothing interesting going on and everyone is ignoring you (that will sometimes happen in theatres and ward rounds, and it's just a waste of your time really)... but do go and find something else to do. It's okay if that's sometimes the library or home, but do make an effort to see and spend time with patients if you're at a loose end. OSCEs (practical exams) will be so much more bearable for you if you have a good appreciation of what's normal/abnormal on examination, and that's something you can only really figure out by looking at real people. Same goes for history-taking - obviously you can read typical histories in any clinical textbook, but you'll need to get slick at asking the right questions and keeping patients focused whilst being respectful and polite - it's a skill, and again it's something that comes only with practice. (By the way - if you're not starting clinical stuff until third year, don't stress about this now; but I know some med schools now do a fair bit of clinical stuff from first year onwards, hence me sticking this advice in here!)

    Other than that:

    1. As someone else said, don't spend loads on textbooks. Borrow them/buy them from a student in the year above/go halves with a flatmate/use the internet where possible - it's amazing how much good stuff is available for nothing.

    2. Make friends outside of the medical bubble. It can become pretty claustrophobic if you're just surrounded by medics and medic chat all the time.

    3. Keep up your hobbies - be it playing football, writing poetry, going to the cinema.. whatever it is, it will help keep you from feeling like you're being consumed by Medicine. It's good to keep one foot (or perhaps a few toes) in the non-medical world.
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    Something I wish I knew before starting medical school. . . .

    The grass isn't always greener and its not worth it if you don't REALLY want it. *Oh, and try convincing yourself to do dentistry*
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    (Original post by NoahJ)
    1. don't spend loads of money on textbooks; you won't use them, and your medical school library will have all that you need. Maybe just get a good anatomy textbook.
    2. do not live in the library; make sure you make time for other non-medicine activities, especially in your pre-clinical years.
    3. if you have an interest in a certain area of medicine, or research, try and do something to boost your CV early, as the opportunities (or rather, time to do anything) later will be more tricky. however, do not let anyone tell you it's too late
    4. when you hit clinical years, befriend the F1s; this can make your life 100% easier

    I'm sure there's some other medical-school specific stuff that can be advised upon. Where are you studying?
    What do people generally do to boost their CVs during the earlier years? Im a graduate student due to start studying later this month and was wondering what I could do to improve my chances later on. How does the process differ from doing activities for med school applications?
    :\
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    (Original post by udeyomydays)
    What do people generally do to boost their CVs during the earlier years? Im a graduate student due to start studying later this month and was wondering what I could do to improve my chances later on. How does the process differ from doing activities for med school applications?
    :\
    Publications are the main one. If you can get involved in some kind of research project over the summer, for example. It's better to do in earlier years because you have more time, and publication can take so long that to ensure you have your number by foundation application you really need to do it by the end of 3rd year (GEC2)

    The other one is audits, but that doesn't benefit your foundation application and they're much easier to do once you're practising so people generally don't bother too much until after qualifying
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    (Original post by Ghotay)
    Publications are the main one. If you can get involved in some kind of research project over the summer, for example. It's better to do in earlier years because you have more time, and publication can take so long that to ensure you have your number by foundation application you really need to do it by the end of 3rd year (GEC2)

    The other one is audits, but that doesn't benefit your foundation application and they're much easier to do once you're practising so people generally don't bother too much until after qualifying
    does having these publications carry as much as weight as say doing a week of work experience for med applications? I have a Bsc from my previous degree (biomed) and i know that this may count towards the foundation applications. I'm just trying to garner whether its something i may pursue and whether generally med students approach the foundation application with as much anxiety and intensity as med school applications.

    I am also not too sure about going into research if im honest :|
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    (Original post by udeyomydays)
    does having these publications carry as much as weight as say doing a week of work experience for med applications? I have a Bsc from my previous degree (biomed) and i know that this may count towards the foundation applications. I'm just trying to garner whether its something i may pursue and whether generally med students approach the foundation application with as much anxiety and intensity as med school applications.

    I am also not too sure about going into research if im honest :|
    work experience counts for nothing for foundation applications. Previous degrees and intercalated degrees do however.

    And, currently, you can get credit for up to two publications on your application.

    You don't need a huge interest in research to get published, particularly if you get invovled in a clinical, teaching or management project (i.e. not just lab-based stuff).

    Everyone stresses out over publications- not having one doesn't massively disadvantage you, but having one does put you at an advantage. The reason I would recommend doing them early is because it can take a few years before the project you get involved in gets written up and published (and there is a deadline to be able to include it in your foundation application)
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    (Original post by udeyomydays)
    does having these publications carry as much as weight as say doing a week of work experience for med applications? I have a Bsc from my previous degree (biomed) and i know that this may count towards the foundation applications. I'm just trying to garner whether its something i may pursue and whether generally med students approach the foundation application with as much anxiety and intensity as med school applications.

    I am also not too sure about going into research if im honest :|
    What the other guy said.

    And when it comes to foundation applications: no. So long as you pass you're guaranteed to get a job, and for a lot of people who don't have competitive aspirations that is enough. With the current system a lot of it is a lottery based on the SJT, so it's not worth stressing too much about anyway. It doesn't hurt to get those extra points, but most people don't bother. It's nothing like med school application

    Boosting your CV is much more important when it comes to speciality applications. It really depends what you want to do, but publications are are pretty important if you want to do something competitive

    As an aside, remember that ALL clinicians are involved in research! This can be more or less obvious in different settings, but participation in trials and audits is an integral part of clinical work. You don't have to sit behind a desk to be a researcher
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    thank you for the replies guys, it has certainly given me something to consider. One last question, baring in mind what you said, does it matter that currently I am not too sure on which speciality i want to apply to after my foundation years? For my publication to hold much weight (in speciality applications) will it have to be in an area within that speciality? Also how would i go about getting involved in publications during first year? Is this something that is normally offered to students or will I have to contact individual professors?

    Thanks once again.
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    (Original post by udeyomydays)
    thank you for the replies guys, it has certainly given me something to consider. One last question, baring in mind what you said, does it matter that currently I am not too sure on which speciality i want to apply to after my foundation years? For my publication to hold much weight (in speciality applications) will it have to be in an area within that speciality? Also how would i go about getting involved in publications during first year? Is this something that is normally offered to students or will I have to contact individual professors?

    Thanks once again.
    Absolutely not! Lots of people don't know during their F1 year which path they're going down, so you definitely don't need to be fixed on anything before then.

    For very competitive specialties, publications can be a really useful way of making yourself stand out; for most specialties, it's really not essential. That said, if you get a chance to participate in a study that leads to a publication, take the opportunity even if it's in a specialty you're not likely to go into - publications are still valuable (for foundation points if nothing else).
    #1

    Work hard in first year - it's the easiest year to do really well

    After passing first year, you know that you're able to pass med school exams. Now IGNORE EVERYONE WHO STRESSES YOU OUT ABOUT YOU NOT STUDYING ENOUGH.

    Some people just need to study everyday from day 1, so they don't feel inadequate/uncomfortable ... that's their issue. Not yours. (and this attitude won't necessarily impact on your grade - have a life AND do well!)
 
 
 
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