By Devadarshini Kandasamy
I once read a quote that said “Take it all one day at a time and enjoy the journey.” Little did I know that medical school would equate to what this quote was describing. I had heard from quite a number of my friends that medical school would be hard and would demand a great deal from you. This thought did not frighten me as I was always curious and interested in learning.
During my first week at my university I got an opportunity to learn how the university functions and what they expect of their students. This was something I needed as it helped me find my feet and the direction I should go in. I remember my dean saying that we should also make time for fun and friends as only surrounding yourself with books would not help you but rather only increase your stress. I took her advice and managed to make some phenomenal friends who helped me get through my first year.
Another recommendation that really helped me was that we as students should make maximum use of all the facilities provided by the university and my university certainly had some amazing assets to offer. I was able to join wonderful societies and expand my knowledge with the help of the events these societies put up. A few seniors that I had had the opportunity to meet during my first month at university really opened my eyes and were able to give me some practical insights. One such senior said to never to hesitate to contact professors when we had any issues/concerns regarding what was taught. Most professors love to clear students doubts and the student goes away stress free. Using all the information mentioned above, my first year went by pretty smooth.
One thing I religiously followed was to submit all my assignments and meet my deadlines one day in advance as this helped get rid of the stress and also gave me the opportunity to be on top of my assignments. My friends and I would get together regularly to practice the skills taught as well as go over any material that was unclear to us. Occasionally on the weekends, my friends and I would go to the gym and play a game of football or badminton just to relax and blow off some steam. Some weekends we would get together and have movie nights and other nights just stay up and talk. All this was an effective stress buster. However, we never let this affect our education and made sure that our top most priority was our learning. Our library had some incredible resources and this would help us study as well as research.
Some people would think that it would be very difficult to manage your education, friends and stay away from home and take care of yourself. Initially it is hard, but once you get oriented with your environment and adapt to the change you will be able to organize everything effectively. I was able to achieve this only because I made a time table for myself, allocating good time to everything in the order of importance. Fortunately, with the advice or friends and professors and making mistakes and learning from them my first year flew by and I was able to do relatively better than I gave myself credit.