Six Top Tips for Acclimating to Medical School for Blondes and Everyone Else

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • For most students, medical school means big changes. Often a new city, new friends, new professors, and new challenges. For these reasons, acclimating to medical school can be difficult. The following six tips can help a new medical student transition smoothly.

    1. Find the perfect home for you.

    Living somewhere where you feel happy and comfortable can help ease the transition into medical school. Some students enjoy having a roommate or a pet to keep them company when they spend long hours at home studying. Other students prioritize living close to school because they feel that having a short commute, or even living within walking distance to school, can minimize stress outside of school. Whatever the case, living somewhere where you feel comfortable and happy can help you better acclimate to your new life in medical school.

    2. Befriend your med school classmates.

    Your classmates will be the closest people to you during your four year journey to becoming a physician. You will spend more time with them than anyone else, and no one will better understand what you are going through than them. Take the time to get to know them. It can be easy to become competitive with one another, but if you trust one another and work together it will enhance your medical school experience.

    3. Get to know your professors.

    Medical school means new professors and new, harder courses. The material is both more challenging and of greater volume, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Remember that your professors have your best interest in mind and truly want to see you succeed. Introduce yourself to your professors after class and don’t be afraid to send them an email or seek help at office hours if you ever have questions.

    4. Develop strong study habits.

    For most students, what worked to achieve academic success in undergraduate may not work in medical school. Time management is increasingly important in medical school, as most students were used to having more free time as undergraduate students. The sheer volume of material and the increased course load make medical school more difficult and students must learn to properly prioritize their time. Some students may find it helpful to make a study schedule or follow a set game plan each week. If you are struggling, it can be helpful to talk to a tutor or successful senior student who can help guide you.

    5. Make friends outside of medical school.

    As a medical student, it can be easy to let coursework and studying consume your life. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have a life outside of medical school. Having non-medical friends can help you feel more connected to your community and allow you to de-stress and get your mind off your studies. By getting involved with a church group, a community sports team, or a volunteering organization, you may meet people who have shared interests with you outside of medical school. These people can add value to your life, make you feel more comfortable, and give you people to connect with outside of your studies.

    6. Pursue a non-medical passion.

    During my medical school orientation, we were all required to attend a day at camp where we were allowed to sign up for various activities ranging from hiking and fly fishing to knitting and mod podge crafts. The whole point of this day was to encourage us to pursue non-medical passions as we continue on in our medical career. These activities are important as they give us something to look forward to outside of our studies. We cannot put our lives on hold as we pursue our medical degrees. We must continue to have fun and find ways to destress.

    In summary, the transition to medical school can be challenging and some students may struggle to acclimate. But by working hard and pursuing a strong work-life balance, you will achieve success and happiness.