How do you keep yourself motivated during medical school during tough times? What advice would you give to an entering 1st-year podiatry student?
My first semester was, by far, the most challenging semester of medical school. I admittedly struggled to adjust to the fast pace of medical school. As I played catch up, I began to sacrifice my time with my family in addition to placing my hobbies aside. At the time, I reasoned that removing these distractions would improve my academics. However, I was greatly mistaken as my grades did not rebound. It was not until early second semester that I realized I sacrificed my motivations through tough times. As I resumed spending time with my family and started playing basketball again, I noticed my grades began to improve. Based on my experiences, I would like to offer some advice for any first year podiatry students who are just starting or feel like they stumbled out of the gate and want to improve:
First of all, most people are new to medical school. No matter how well you performed in college, do not think you are smarter than someone. All your peers are well qualified since they were also accepted into medical school. I made the regrettable mistake of assuming I was better than most of my peers because my college grades and MCAT were higher than most in my class. I also received a merit scholarship from the Dean. Eventually, I found myself humbled by my intelligent classmates who I am proud to call colleagues.
Secondly, do not take time away from the people that motivated you to pursue healthcare in the first place. I thought it was the right choice, but I realized my mistake with my low grades during my first semester. For me, spending time with my family was my escape as I used to study for 12 hours per day, seven days per week. Over the course of my first semester, I learned to balance my time between studying, family, and my significant other. In short, one should make an effort to spend time with your motivators. Your family and friends will work around your schedule. Remember, the people who motivated you to become a healthcare professional would never neglect your struggles, therefore, you should never neglect them either.
spending time with my family was my escape as I used to study for 12 hours per day, seven days per week.
Lastly, I would highly encourage everyone to keep your hobbies. Once I started medical school, I stopped doing what I loved most. I stopped participating in basketball, in church choir, and in watching sports and the stress from academics mounted. Once I continued my hobbies again, I was able to concentrate better and my grades rebounded. In short, one should have at least 1 consistent hobby to continue through medical school to keep them motivated and as an outlet from the stresses of school. Whether it be exercising, reading, or spending time with family, a hobby will preserve your sanity and motivate one through the crucible of medical school.
Whether it be exercising, reading, or spending time with family, a hobby will preserve your sanity and motivate one through the crucible of medical school.
This is some advice I wished someone took the time to tell me before my first semester of medical school. Though everyone is different, I believe my suggestions will help future 1st year podiatry students take steps in the right direction. To the incoming and current 1st year podiatry students, medical school is a marathon, not a sprint, so keep from burning yourself out by engaging in your favorite hobbies on a consistent basis and it will help you navigate through medical school much more smoothly.
by Tien Nguyen
1st Year Advice: Medical School is a Marathon
Have the urge to write something? Are you motivated to publish something worth sharing? Want to give advice, helpful tips, or podiatry news to the younger generation? Visit our Authors section before submitting. Get in contact with us and one of our student journalists will reach out to you. We hope to get from people around the world that way.