Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Hey everyone! It is 8am in the morning a day after my final exam, and of course my body would not let me sleep in. I am so excited to announce that I have made the Dean's List for a second semester in a row! If you would have told me that a couple years ago, I would have thought you were crazy, but I am happy that my hard work has paid off. This blog post is going to be structured a bit differently, as I will be listing the top five things that I have learned in my first year of medical school. I have read numerous lists like these before I attended Ross, but I felt they were more "fluff", like: "studying...and then more studying..and then study again"...well of course..it is medical school! These are genuinely the five things that I have learned while being eight months away from home and I hope the newcomers that are coming in for the January intake, current students, and past students will take something away from it!
Drum rolllllllll pplleeeaassseeeeee <----I swear I am still sleep deprived.
Everyone has their own opinion. What I mean by this is that there are students here of all semesters, 1 through 5 (if you chose the curriculum based track, you will have an extra semester) on this tiny island and a lot of the time opinions roll around of what semester is the "easiest". Semester 2, for me, was not fun. I studied a lot...about 16 hours a day, and I still felt like I was behind. I had a different mentality going into this semester as I was told repeatedly: "oh second was THE BEST." "I loved it", "it was definitely the easiest", and with that mindset going in, the material quickly caught me off guard. Stay true to your study habits, stay true to yourself and take everyone's opinion with a grain of salt.
Having a regiment every day is KEY. I got off track a lot with my workouts, eating, and sleeping near the end of the semester. Having something set in stone will not only facilitate a productive day, but it will make your thinking process about what you need to get done that day so much easier. I promised myself that I will be going to the gym every morning in third semester, and I will make sure to go to yoga twice a week. You have the time, and when you are six hours into material that is just awful, you have to tell yourself that you can take that break, as you will feel so much better for it.
Do not study long. Study smart. I know I may sound hypocritical here as I just mentioned previously that I study 16 hours a day, and you may be thinking: "ummmm Em..that is long...is that smart though?" My answer to everyone reading this is that everyone is different. I, personally, prefer studying alone, at my desk, inside, blinds shut, with a flashlight..ok ok I am kidding but I do like studying alone and not on campus. I just see way too many students staying up until 4am to get through the material...that is silly. I wake up at 7am, and I am in bed by 10pm, sometimes 11pm. Yes, they are long days, but I still get my 8 hours of sleep. Studying smart is where you take breaks, EAT, sleep, and making sure you do not burn out..which I was at the end of first semester and I feel much better today, which is the day after my four and a half hour final.
Family is your support network. For those that have been away a lot for undergraduate studies like me, have become accustom to the long nights away from family and friends, missing birthdays, weddings, get-togethers, the whole shebang. Being away and being in medical school is a whole new ballgame. My undergraduate degree and playing basketball at the collegiate level was tough, don't get me wrong, but the shear volume of work that medical school entails just sucks the life out of you. I do not want to scare anyone reading this or make my family and friends worry, but it mentally takes a toll on you. It is mentally draining more than it is physical, but that is where you have to take energy from the people around you. You surround yourself with positive people, study in groups if that is your style of learning, but most of all...remind yourself of why you are here. That always seems to bring a burst of energy my way.
Last but certainly not least, Number 5)
Do not be afraid to be happy. This is something that I finally had to let go of with being here at school. I was always "the pleaser", making sure I wouldn't make anyone angry, making sure they are having a good time, not wanting to disappoint my coaches, family, or friends. I finally had to let some of my friends go in my "already thought" tight circle, when I knew they were just bringing me down. I finally have the courage to stand up for my happiness and follow something that I have always wanted to endure, but admittedly was a bit scared. I always held my feelings back when I was happy, or sad, and life is way too short to ever hold those emotions in. In college, when I was benched for stating my opinion, or reprimanded because I didn't agree with what was happening with one of our coaches and players...stuff that I should have spoken up about, but at the the time was too scared of losing my scholarship. Looking back now, I had one of the top GPAs as a student-athlete, I never did drugs or have academic probation, there was no way they could get rid of me, and if you gave me ten minutes to go back and say all what I would like to say....well...let's just say they probably would have kicked me off haha. My point in this last segment is to let you guys know that my life in no way, shape, or form is perfect. My facebook may look like it is, or my instagram, but everyone fights their own mental battle sometimes. You have to let the things that bother you go. I am still working on mine, but I feel 100% better knowing that I am in a better place than any coach or player that did me wrong. Waking up and feeling happy is OKAY, and I am embracing that as the times before I remember myself feeling guilty. I remember when I was about 14 or 15 helping out with the Queen's University Basketball camp for kids one summer, and one of the other coaches, a female, about thirty asked me what I wanted to do when I finished college.
I said: "I think I want to be a doctor".
I remember her response so clearly: "ohhhhh people are going to hate you."
In my taken back response I asked: "well..why?"
She said: "Well you are tall, athletic, pretty, AND you want to be a doctor..that has hate written all over it".
I remember just sitting there thinking:
*then let them hate*
Aright folks, I am off to run some errands this morning and then Stephen and I are off on Sunday morning to Canada!! We are going to freeze, but I can not wait to be home.
Ps. We are almost at 15,000 views on the blog. All I can say is thank you.
Bye for now,