“High school is like a lawn sprinkler. College is like a garden hose. And medical school is like a fire hose of information,” said Aurora Bennett, the associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine.
You might have heard some variation of this phrase before. Medical school is intense, and you will be expected to memorize an incredible amount of information in a limited amount of time. Thus, it should come off as no surprise that being a medical student will be extremely challenging.
Being a premed myself, I wanted to know exactly what my life will be like as a medical student. The answers that I have received after much online research paint only but a rough outline of my near future. Each school is different, their curriculum varies, and so does how each individual medical student decides to manage his or her days.
One of the best written articles that I came across on this topic was from the website “in-Training” written by a first year medical student, Kelle Goranson, at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He describes waking up at 7 am while it is still dark outside, sitting through four hours of lecture until 12, and then leaving for the clinic to get home around 5 pm, have dinner, catch up on the day’s material, and then finally go to sleep at midnight.
Doesn’t sound as bad as it is often made out to be, does it? Well, I will be happy as long as I get my seven hours of sleep! Satisfied with this answer, I was intuitively interested in the courses that I will be taking as a first year medical student.
Image Source: Doug Menuez
Year No. 1 is often crafted out to be one of the most difficult years of medical school. It consists of mostly basic science courses such as Anatomy, Medical Genetics, Biochemistry, Physiology, but sometimes courses such as medical ethics or OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Exams) are thrown in too. There is a lot of memorization. During the year, flash cards and coffee will probably turn into your best friends. But don’t fret! You will probably do just fine, most medical students do. In fact, 94.2% of all medical students graduate within seven years.
Next comes the social life. For most, life takes a turn soon after the start of the first year. For many, life reduces to the confines of their medical education. They lose touch with their friends outside, and the people around them with whom they collectively suffered through that chapter of Embryology or while dissecting through the cadaver during the Anatomy lab sometimes become some of their closest friends.
It still quite seems doable and fun, doesn’t it? But surely, medical school will be what we make of it. Personally, I understand that it will be difficult. It will be hard, but in the end, I think it will be all worth it. Every medical student will be faced with challenges, but in the end you, me, and every other aspiring soon-to-be medical student out there will find a way, a unique path to get through it all.
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