Surviving Med School

A site dedicated to providing the best tips and advice on how to get into med school and how to organize yourself in order to graduate with honors.

The First Year of Med School: Easier Than You Think!

Starting med school might sound a bit scary, but generally the first year of med school isn't so difficult and there is nothing to be worried about. If you've developed good learning habits during college then this will be a huge plus for your further education. There is another thing to note about the first year and this is the amusing social aspect. 

first year med school
Make friends as soon as possible :)

You will meet a lot of new people and there will be a lot of excitement. Also, contrary to popular belief, med school students know how to party and they have enough free time to go wild and hit the clubs every now and then. In this article we will have a look at what challenges you can expect during the first and second semester. At the bottom of the page you will find links that talk in detail about each specific subject (such as anatomy, genetics, histology etc.)

Without further to do, let us get started!

First Semester of Medical School - Getting Settled In

The first week will seem like a breeze before the storm. It will be sweet and over quickly, but before you know it you will be swarmed with a lot of work. So, the first week is (as you may have guessed it) dedicated to orientation. During this time you will learn more about your courses, the school itself as well as the lessons you will be attending. This is also the time when you will begin forming new friendships and creating your own social group.

Making Friends

med school making friends
Med school friends = future colleagues 
Since there still isn't "any work" people will be very open and social. Thus you can expect a handful of parties, BBQs and other social events to take place at this time. My advice during this time is to let yourself go and have fun. I highly suggest you make new friends because this will make things a lot easier. Yes, you heard that correctly - friends are a vital part of finishing and surviving medical school.

The fact that you know that someone has you back and can help you out in a dire situation is very meaningful. It is important that you make these bonds at the start because no one will have time to make new friends later down the line.

Make Sure You Adjust Quickly

Medical school will require more work and effort than collage - I can tell you this for a fact right now. You will need to adjust yourself to this increasing work tempo and commit yourself to your studies. Do not skip-out on classes as they are very important, especially if you have good teachers who are worth listening to. You will also discover a lot about the upcoming tests if you pay attention and you will be able to keep track of your own notes. I cannot stress enough how much important it is to have good notes that you've created yourself - it makes things a lot easier!

Depending on where you are studying you may (or may not) have a winter break before the end of the first semester. I recommend you make most of it to catch up on the studies you missed and to have fun with family and friends. This is a luxury you will not have in later years.

Second Semester of Medical School - Getting More Serious

By now you may think that medical school isn't very hard, but that's just because you are still on your first year. The second semester will get a lot more serious and you will need to put in more work, however, it still isn't so bad. The difficulty gap between the first and second year is huge and this is why people generally agree that med school is extremely difficult.

In my experience Anatomy class was always the hardest for people due to a lot of necessary memorization that was required in Latin. I know that a lot of people in my school even went to a summer camp before the start of the first semester in order to prepare for this class as well as biochemistry (which wasn't that difficult in my opinion).

Overall, I have to say that if the second year of med school is defined as "hard" then the first year is honestly a walk in the park with a couple of bad, rainy days. These were mostly due to tests often being scheduled very closely to each other. This is the main reason why you need to start working on your studies as soon as possible.

So, which first year course are you most interested in learning about? Choose from this list and learn more about them:
  1. Introduction to Anatomy
  2. Genetics
  3. Histology
  4. Med School Biochemistry
  5. Microbiology
  6. Introduction to Neuroscience
  7. OMT
  8. Physiology

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