4 Powerful Tips To Help You Survive Med School


Back when you were still a kid, you’ve most likely answered ‘doctor, astronaut, or teacher’ when asked what you’d like to be when you grow up, coupled with overused narratives of wanting to save people, going to outer space, or teaching kids, and so on.

It’s all fun and games when you look back at those times. Saving lives or teaching kids feel ennobling, after all. But after reading stuff online or watching videos depicting the realities of med school, you’re now starting to think whether you’ve made the right choice.

Before you start packing your bags and leave for some unchartered place in the middle of nowhere, here’s some swift and unabridged truth for you: you’re on the right track. 

If you realized that med school is hard, then you’ve done the first step to pull through it. It’s not easy; it’s not all butterflies and bees. What you do from here on out is up to you. So, to give you some insight, learn more here to help you survive med school.

1. Before You Help People, Learn How To Help Yourself

Contrary to popular belief, med school isn’t about learning medicine only. It’s not just merely squeezing in terminologies to your brain, hoping they’ll stay there long-term. If anything, before you even begin repeating words to drill them in your memory, you need to help yourself first. 

It’s common among first-year med students to have their ego built up—ego from being admitted to med school, with a mix of residual pride from the uni. While it’s usually normal thinking of med school as similar to college and taking pride from getting in, it’s also harmful in the long run.

To reframe yourself is to let go of your past self. Meaning, leave the college you behind. Reform your study habits. Learn to be more organized than you’ve ever been in your life. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Know your learning styles and build your study methods around them.

med school

2. The ‘D’ In Med Means Dynamic

Back when people still believe that drinking eight glasses of water is important, you might have too. Perhaps because your parents told you or you’ve read it somewhere. During that time, it may indeed be valid and well-believed, but science is ever-changing, and so must you.

Active learning is extremely important. Because of the dynamic nature of science and the continuous medical pursuit of humans, what you’ve read from a reputable source yesterday might be rendered untrue today. Or conversely, whatever was considered untrue might be now true. That’s why you must continuously read and actively seek new information regularly. 

This isn’t to say that your textbooks in med school are outdated. Published books are foundational in bridging current information with newer ones. Therefore, your textbooks are still significant in helping you process newer knowledge. So, don’t throw them away or leave them at dust’s mercy inside your lockers.

3. Ask For Guidance From Others

You can’t do it all by yourself. While you’re the one reviewing all your notes and answering the tests, you’re not alone. Get help from your classmates, and even from some of your trusted professors.

True enough, there are countless study aids and guides to help you study more effectively, but for the most part, how well you surround yourself with the right people can also become a deciding factor on how well you can do in med school. The kind of help you get is also dependent on the friends that you mingle with.

In addition, friends stay by your side in all the systolic and diastolic moments of life (no pun intended). Being friends with people who have the most compatible study habits and disposition with yours helps your social life as a med student become more organic and hassle-free. 

4. Have Fun

Fun with med school might be as odd as pineapple with pizza, but it works. Having fun is extremely crucial in surviving med school. Don’t listen to stick-in-the-muds and their constant berating of people who aren’t serious enough in med school. Med school, albeit challenging, can be fun.

As you take your studies a notch higher, so should your ways of destressing. Stress, oftentimes leading to burnout, will just make med school harder and in worst cases, impossible to survive. Learning how to navigate around it is just as good as an effective study habit.


The progress of medicine throughout history helped propel humanity forward. As a med student, you have the opportunity to take part in guiding everyone to a healthier and safer place to live.

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Kate Staples is a career coach from Canada. She specializes in personal development, leadership, and mentoring students, recent graduates, and career changers to create a new career path and define their work skills, values and preferences. She is a blogger, speaker, and long-distance runner.


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