Surviving Medical School: Tips for Thriving Amidst Challenges

Medical school is an exhilarating and transformative journey that sets the foundation for a fulfilling career in healthcare. However, it’s no secret that the rigorous demands and intense workload can be overwhelming at times. To help you not just survive but thrive during your medical school years, here are some essential tips:

Embrace Effective Time Management:

Creating a well-organized schedule is key to managing the heavy workload of medical school. Prioritize tasks, set realistic goals, and allocate time for study, rest, and personal activities. Time management will help you stay on top of your responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed.

Develop Effective Study Habits:

Find study techniques that work best for you. Whether it’s active learning, group discussions, or self-quizzing, tailor your study approach to maximize comprehension and retention. Regular, consistent review is essential for mastering the vast amount of medical knowledge.

Practice Self-Care:

Nurturing your physical and mental well-being is crucial for success in medical school. Make time for regular exercise, healthy meals, and sufficient sleep. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, like hobbies or spending time with loved ones.

Stay Organized and Stay Ahead:

Keep your study materials and notes organized to avoid feeling swamped with clutter. Stay ahead of lectures and coursework whenever possible, as falling behind can lead to unnecessary stress.

Engage in Extracurricular Activities:

While medical school is demanding, don’t forget to engage in extracurricular activities that interest you. Participating in clubs, sports, or volunteer work can help you maintain a balanced life and foster personal growth.

Celebrate Achievements, Big and Small:

Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, whether it’s acing an exam or simply mastering a challenging concept. Recognizing your progress boosts motivation and self-confidence.

And always remember your “why”:

Finally, during the tough times, remind yourself of the reason you chose to pursue medicine in the first place. Reconnect with your passion for helping others and making a difference in people’s lives. Keeping your “why” at the forefront will provide the motivation needed to overcome obstacles and succeed in medical school.

Surviving medical school requires dedication, hard work, and self-compassion. By implementing these strategies and maintaining a positive outlook, you can not only survive but thrive in this transformative phase of your journey towards becoming a compassionate and skilled healthcare professional.

If you are looking for more ways to gain hands-on medical experience while also volunteering abroad, visit our website to learn more about our upcoming Service Learning Trips in Peru, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.