The year is finally coming to a close we have a few days of 2010 left before we begin 2011, for some of us this year will begin the start of our medical school education, for others it will mean the start of applications, and some may even begin their first steps in their premedical education this year. We here at Pre-Med Hell sincerely hope that you enjoyed the posts we wrote this year as much as we enjoyed writing them for you, and hope that all of you have a successful and prosperous New Year.
Every year most of us create resolutions that we say we will act on, and for some we manage to succeed and for other we give up shortly after the New Year begins. It is no coincidence that January is the best month for most health and fitness clubs. In this post we are going to attempt to cover ways to help you keep your resolutions and to become a better and well-rounded individual.
Let’s begin by listing two major resolutions that we believe every premed should strive towards, awareness and mentorship.
This includes becoming better read and knowledgeable on the field of medicine. Take some time every week to look at the top issues in the medical field, read the biggest news stories in medicine, keep up with major developments, ask anyone that is currently interviewing for medical school this will help you greatly. Try to start by reading some of our recommended books, or The Wall Street Journal Health Blog, KevinMD, and some of the other blogs on our favorite blog list. If you need any more inspiration read this post on why pre-meds should read blogs.
Try and find a mentor this year to help guide and direct you through the process, many of us have physicians and medical students as mentors; some have researchers, and non-medical professionals as mentors. It is paramount to have someone with which you can discuss your goals and aspirations, and that this individual will be able to help you. Make sure that they don’t agree with everything you say, my favorite mentors happen to be those that constantly disagree with me and keep me grounded, they have been crucial in helping me develop responses to common interview and essay questions.
There are three concepts that one must understand to ensure that their goals are successful, specificity, motivation, and measurement.
This is the very goal of every resolution, to force ourselves to become better individuals, and develop. The key here is being very specific, set specific actionable goals towards your resolutions. For example look at the resolution of become more knowledgeable and aware of the medical professions; specific goals could include the following:
- Reading one or two articles about medicine every day
- Reading a weekly digest, like the AMSA Weekly Consult
- Reading a daily digest, like KevinMD’s morning rounds
All of these goals are very specific and easily actionable; none of them are overwhelming and will take more than 20 minutes every day. You can easily add all of them to your email or RSS feed. You can even go farther and say I will talk to someone about one of the articles that I read every day. The key point it to have very specific actions that will help you achieve your goals.
This must come from within, look at your long term goals, and then look at your short term goals, sit down and relate how they will help you achieve your long term goals. Looking back at the resolution to become a more aware individual, we can sit down and immediately say that being better educated on the medical profession will help us write our personal statements, secondaries, and through our interviews because we will already have this knowledge base and be used to discussing it with others. This should help to drive us.
Another favorite method of mine to keep myself motivated is to find someone that displays the behavior that you wish to emulate and then use them to motivate you, if you want to become fit, find someone that goes to the gym regularly and then force yourself to go with them, don’t find someone that doesn’t have your target behavior, since they are much more likely to break a habit or not develop it at as relative to someone who already has this habit.
This for me is one of the biggest factors, you need a yard stick, keep track of how much you are developing, maybe before you didn’t know anything about the new health care bill, but now you can manage to hold a pretty decent conversation about it. Stuff like that; keep a log that shows you that you are making progress, if you’re not making progress change your approach. Just like in science, in keeping a goal it is paramount to record data and track your progress.
From all of us here at Pre-Med Hell we wish you a happy new year and many successes. We hope that this post will help you keep your new year’s resolutions and become a better individual. Please feel free to give us feedback in the comments, on twitter, or on facebook.