I’m sure you’ve heard a hundred different going back to school ads already and I’m sure by the time you actually go back to school you will have seen thousands. If only the sales were a 100% off? You’re getting those feelings in the pit of your stomach every time you think about the first day of school. The lab reports that you’re going to have to write, the hundreds of hours of studying, the unforgiving midterms, the club meetings, and the many other directions we’re going to be pulled in from everything else. Let’s face it, we’re all dreading it. But, we have to go back, right? This is the only way we can get to where we need to go, medical school. So, here are a few motivational words before you start the school year.
You’re scared shitless. You’re away from all your friends in high school and possibly your parents. You have to go to this new place, where it actually counts. Rest assured that you’re not alone and many others feel the same way. Meet new people, learn the ins and outs of your campus, and try to get involved. If you don’t learn anything else in this year, learn how to how study. Learn what environment you work best in, for example, do you work better with study groups or by yourself? Learn the best way to study for extended periods of time (take breaks) and learn how to better manage your time. Your grades won’t suffer in the future years if you have fine tuned study habits.
Another tid bit: friends, professors, students, faculty, and anyone else, will try and scare the hell out of you. Remember to believe in yourself and know that you can do this.
You’re matriculated into college by now. You know a few new people, you know where the library is (at least you should), and you know where the best spot on campus is to get a bite to eat. If you can, try and take a lab or a lecture with the people you’ve met, the class can be much more pleasant. Really hone in on your studying and essay writing skills this year, it will make the last few years much easier. You might realize you’re out of touch with a few friends, stay strong.
You know how to study by now. You know how to b.s. you’re way through an essay and lab reports and you’ve probably made it through the lower division bio courses and possibly chem courses. You’re ready for the big leagues, the hardcore exams and insane study sessions. You’re finally ready to laugh and say, bring it. Remember to get involved if you haven’t already. Work on that C.V. and try to serve on the board of a club, possibly become a tutor, join a research lab, and get a hobby. Find something you like to do, that makes you excited, something that will take you away from all this for a minute.
You know how to do the school thing. You’ve learned a lot more about life and yourself. Keep active in your clubs, stay involved in the community (volunteering and the like), and start scoping out a great professor for a letter of recommendation. Keep a professional stature online and off, you never know what employers or admissions committees will dig up. Keep revising that personal statement and start asking yourself questions an interviewer may ask you.
Super Duper Seniors
It’s been at least four years now and you know the drill. Odds are you’re either graduating this year or you have one, maybe two years left after this. Keep pacing yourself and know the end is near.
This year is going to suck just as much as the last. It's not going to miraculously get easier as the classes get harder. A preemptive strike is always the best. Get your books and syllabus before the semester starts. Email your professors and try to get the syllabus before school year begins and start reading now. Reading two weeks' worth of material beforehand can make the entire semester more manageable.
Three more things: one, take it one day at a time. Thinking about four months, or even nine months, of material is way too overwhelming. Two, if you have too many things to do, write a list. Three, if the entire world is on your shoulders, step back, take a deep breath, and let it all go.
We would love to know what you did over the summer or what you plan on taking this semester, so please leave a comment (seriously, we would love to know). On behalf of Pre-Med Hell, we wish you all a wonderful semester. We’ll be rooting right alongside of you for those A’s. Get out there, kick ass, and take names.
[Also, remember that you can rent textbooks through our storefront at 75% off the cover price.]