The Ups and Downs of Medical School

by Brooke Smith.

Podiatric medical school is full of amazing times and experiences, but can also be extremely tough and may push you to limits you never thought you could reach. The ups and downs that come with the pressure of learning a vast amount of information can come with times of feeling defeated, tired, and stressed. This has been a common feeling amongst my classmates and I throughout the last two years. To keep moving towards success through all the unique challenges that each year brings, it is important to find ways to stay motivated. 

It is important to set aside time for what makes you happy and adds value to your life

Finding Motivation

Finding motivation throughout the years was a matter of taking time to really think about what was special and important to me besides medical school. After I discovered those things, I made sure to spend at least a few hours a week investing time into them. It is important to set aside time for what makes you happy and adds value to your life in other ways outside of the books. For me, that meant spending time exploring Philadelphia, finding new restaurants, and spending time learning new recipes. It has also been very important to stay connected with my friends and family—whether they are close or far away. I have always made sure that I called my parents and friends back in Canada at least once a week or texted them as much as I could. This always brightened my spirits and made me feel less lonely.

Be Involved

Another important way to stay connected to your interests in medicine in a non-academic way is through on-campus clubs. For me, this meant joining the practice management club.  This helped me connect more with my classmates in my program and also to network with Podiatrists that have a lot of experience in owning their own practice which is one of my future goals. Club meetings have been a good break from studying in a way that still was advancing my knowledge, skills, and connections in the field. 

The Big Picture

It is also important to never lose sight of the big picture and what is to come after all of your hard work. Always remember why you applied to podiatry school, all the time you spent preparing your application, shadowing, volunteering, maintaining good grades in undergrad, and all the time spent studying for the MCAT.  That entire time you were wishing you were in the spot you are in right now. Don’t lose sight of the big picture and of the “why” you decided on this career path. What helped remind me of this was to keep shadowing my mentor back home, and finding new Podiatrists in the area to shadow. Seeing patients, procedures, and surgeries always reminded me of the exciting future that I was destined to achieve. Eventually, all the hard work will be behind us and our primary focus will be caring for our patients– doing what we always wanted to do, and what we came here for. 

Don’t lose sight of the big picture and of the “why” you decided on this career path.


Despite the hard work it takes to maintain motivation and perseverance through all of the hard work and stress in Podiatric medical school, it is definitely manageable to get through successfully and happily with the right tools and time management skills.  Spending time with those who you love and doing what you love will go a long way to recharge your brain so it is able to keep learning new things every day. Never lose sight of your end goal, and always remind yourself of how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are today. Stay positive and always remember, nothing worth having comes easy, and you are destined for greatness. 


by Brooke Smith.

School: Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine

The Ups and Downs of Medical School

Student, Lifestyle, Clinical experience

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