One Month Before Medical School

T-minus one month till the first day of orientation at Baylor Med. I’ve spent the last six months looking forward to it, but as my freedom gradually comes to its end, mixed feelings have set in. Despite all my preparation, I’m a bit skeptical as to how I’ll fair compared to my brilliant classmates. I know that I’ll be working harder than ever against a level of competition I have yet to face to achieve my goals this time around. Time will tell just how well I’ve polished myself as a learner, I suppose. ๐Ÿ™‚

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4 Comments
  1. UTSWStud says

    I had to break my post up as it thought I was being “spammy”….

    Find out the technicalities of things at Baylor: Not all classes are worth the same by any means. Find out which classes are the true dinky strict Pass/Fail classes (like your PPS and maybe your IPS course), how the Dean’s letter (MSPE) is constructed and what exactly goes into it – ask to look at a sample one, how exactly your trancript looks and what grades are put on it.

    The book I loved to look back over and over and over for inspiration during med school (how this book is no longer being printed is BEYOND me – u can get it used): http://www.amazon.com/Med-School-Survival-Guide-Challenges/dp/0609805959/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246329516&sr=8-1
    Go to the “Click to Look Inside” Option.

    For the logistic tips of medical school:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_0_20?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=how+to+study+in+medical+school&x=0&y=0&sprefix=How+to+Study+in+medi

    Check out the books by Armin Kamyab, but there are other good ones to flip through to see if you think it helps, esp. ones that give you subject-specific tips.

    1. Rishi says

      As always, I can’t thank you enough for the sound advice you’re always able to provide. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really don’t think being social or organizational skills will be my problem. I tend to find my niche quickly and prioritize those things which are most important; however, for the first time, I’m worried about my academics.

      How much of a head start will I have if I’ve watched every episode of House M.D… twice! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. UTSWStud says

        It’s the new place “jitters”. Luckily, you are ALREADY ahead of the game compared to everyone else, by being a native Houstonian living with family, & knowing the place like the back of your hand and having all those things sorted out (no rent to pay, homemade cooking, family support system right there with you, etc.)

        At orientation, you’ll be bombarded with SO MUCH (much of which is unnecessary at the moment): curriculum, boards, badges, organizations (AMSA, AMA, etc.), white coat ceremony, etc. they can definitely make it more overwhelming than needed. I’m sure you’ve already taken a tour so at the very least – it’s good to know what exact resources are available to you.

        I think since you guys go by blocks (with one exam per block), obviously more information will be on that one exam vs. other schools which split the information between several exams. With your first block being 6 weeks (FBSM: Core Concepts) – your tendency will be to overstudy to cover all your bases, dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s. After that exam, you will be able to settle into your personal routine.

        I would take the time to watch all the House M.D. episodes for fun and then look up some of the words in Wiki to get the blood flow to your cortex running: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_House_episodes.

        Examples: Huntington’s Disease, pancreatitis, Behรงet’s Disease, pseudohermaphroditism, etc.

        I would think it would make the episode easier to understand.

        Many of the episodes, use eponymous diseases you don’t even learn in medical school as they are more for subspecialty fellowships (but the House M.D. residents are doing ALL of medicine), so no need to be anxious about it. Make it fun!!

        Then in class, if the professor talks about something in class, not only will you remember it so much better bc you saw the episode – BUT you will remember having learned it in a fun way.

  2. UTSWStud says

    Your goals should be to: eat healthy and exercise consistently (your mother was right when she said eat fruits and vegetables instead of lethargic fast food frequently), vary up your actual locations of studying when needed, stay grounded mentally (since you’ll be staying at home with family that should be no problem but don’t stay isolated – you’ll need friends esp. when it comes to getting old tests, getting notes, etc.), have good fun (it’s too long of a ride to only have fun at the end of medical school), keep any inner competitive feelings to yourself and don’t let it permeate your relationships with classmates, stay away from competitive/jealous classmates, stay away from high school drama, and don’t take everything personally (everyone has a bad day), DON’T procrastinate, STAY organized, and little caffeine is a good thing but space it out as you’ll start having a tolerance to it.

    Take advantage of podcasted lectures when it comes to your daily schedule while you can – i.e. you don’t have to always be physically present in class at 8 AM in the morning every single day to do well. Remember you’re being graded on knowledge NOT your attendance record – you’ll see that sometimes going to every single class, all the time, can lead to burnout (which you don’t want) – and you would have absorbed more in the comfort of your home in your pajamas in the afternoon and watching the podcast. You’ll miss this advantage when you enter clinical rotations and you have no choice but to be there early in the morning. The key is to stay at the very top of the curve WITHOUT exhausting yourself – hence studying with brute force all the time will not necessarily get you any farther on the learning curve and can be detrimental: http://www.cynicalnation.com/img2/laffer.gif (Yes, I know this is the Laffer curve for tax rates but think of the X-axis as time and effort, and Y-axis as percent correct.

    This first semester you need to strengthen you classmate relationships, so once again, don’t isolate yourself by only watching podcasts and never going to class ever (as you’ll have good grades, but no friends at all) – you can do the above A LOT more often in the second semester onward AFTER you’ve gotten to know people better and they’ve gotten to know you.

    A list (quite a few numbers listed to take with a HUGE helping of salt (I hate negative crap), others like #7 are goldmines): http://www.anvari.org/fun/Medical/Advice_for_Pre-meds.html.