As a pre-med student at a big university at UCLA, it is incredibly easy to to lose track of work and fall into the trap of procrastination, laziness and the party scene. Yes we all enjoy binge watching our favorite shows on Netflix and GAME DAY. (GO BRUINS!) But to get through the crazy journey of becoming a physician we have to keep the goal in mind and that applies to everyone, not only pre-med students. For this reason, in order to get through the process over the past few years and specifically throughout my freshman year I have developed several systems to keep up with school, work, friends and family.
- STUDY SCHEDULES: I didn’t really value study schedules as much as I do now until college. I always thought it was pointless to spend time on planning how you are going to spend your time. However, as I entered college and was overwhelmed with syllabi from multiple classes and tens of assignments due at different times, I understood the value of study schedules. Simply planning out when everything is due and when you should start working on each assignment can go a long way.
- MAKE STUDYING FUN: We all generally enjoy a few of our science classes as we chose to be pre-med after all, but week 7 of Organic Chemistry makes everyone question their decisions. Personally I study better in short bursts when I promise myself some form of reward after a productive session of studying. The reward can be anything from a cookie to a walk around the block. Additionally, I make studying fun by using my favorite Stabilo pens and drinking coffee out of a Winnie the Pooh cup.
- ACCEPT THAT EVERYONE STUDIES DIFFERENTLY: This was one of the hardest things to come to terms with during college, hearing the girl behind you brag about studying 30 minutes and getting an A while you spent the past 3 months studying can get frustrating. But no matter what, you simply cannot allow that to overwhelm you. You must accept that everyone’s brains work differently and everyone learns differently. Some people work best in groups while others can only study in complete silence, or maybe a balance of both! So as long as you find your way to study and you are able to do that to the best of your abilities, that is all that matters in the end.
- COFFEEEE: Haha, but honestly coffee has been a life savior throughout college from walking up at 5:30 for the commute to staying up after a 16 hour day out of the house. I try to keep it as healthy as possible by only using whole milk or almond milk and no sugar. Coffee is a life savior for must people, but try to keep a balance.
- EXERCISE/MEDITATION: Personally, these two come together for me as a practice yoga on the daily. Aside from yoga, sometimes I opt for a more active exercise and go for a run to blow off some steam. Exercise truly allows you to take step back from the constant work that comes with being a pre-med student and view the big picture. Aside from the mental health benefits it has obvious physical benefits and it is truly important to incorporate it into your life. As future physicians, we should genuinely practice what we will one day preach. (Hopefully)
- TAKE BREAKS: Taking breaks is truly so important for our mental and physical health, prolonged stress is very detrimental to our health and to make through the decades of medical training (till death do us part) we must take care of our bodies. Breaks can be anything from no studying the last 30 minutes before bed to going on a weekend getaway after a big exam. Personally, I do local museum trips around my house or go on a picnic for a few hours.
Overall, throughout the past year I have truly developed a study system that I believe will continue to evolve throughout my journey to becoming a physician. Hopefully this helps you come up with your own studying format.
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