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Surviving Med School

Now that you're finished with the appetizer (undergrad), it's time to devour the main course. The process of gaining admission into a good med school was a difficult journey. But it doesn't compare to what you'll endure as a medical student. Becoming a doctor takes a big commitment, and the financial and personal rewards don't come without years of hard work. If you want to be successful in med school, you must be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

The biggest difference between medical school and undergrad is the amount of information you process. In med school, you'll spend hours upon hours studying a great amount of facts and corresponding details. The study habits you acquired in undergrad have to be utilized tenfold. If you didn't have to study much before, you will now. It's important that you never miss lectures and thoroughly copy notes during class. Afterward, study the notes and complete the required readings. When exam time comes, use old exams to prepare; they'll give you a sense of what to expect. Consider joining a study group so that you'll gain the insight of your fellow students. With the amount of material that has to be learned, you'll inevitably miss a topic or two on your own. Soliciting help from your peers will enable you to gain the information and hear it explained from someone closer to your level of knowledge. This is especially important during year one when you're enrolled in courses like gross anatomy, biochemistry and histology.

In your second year, you'll become more familiar with medicine through clinical-based training by learning about the different diseases that are treated in hospitals. Years three and four include clinical rotations when you join a medical team. Then, grades are somewhat less important and actual hands-on experience is gained. You'll deal with patients, and caring for them is priority number one. You'll also have to decide on a specialty, which will determine your career path. Because of the time invested in the hospital, you can forget about taking a part-time job or frequenting your favorite bar. However it is important to relax when you can so that you don't burn out. Managing your time effectively will enable you to satisfy all of your requirements, and you'll be ready for residency.