Things I wish I knew at the start of medical school

You live and you learn.

When I first got to medical school I was pretty clueless about what to expect. I made a lot of silly mistakes and had to learn the hard way. I hope that these tips can help you so that you don’t have to make the mistake to learn what I now know.

#1- Make friends with someone in the year above you. They have been there before and although things change year to year, they will still be able to help you.

#2- People WILL lie to you about how much work they are doing. Don’t believe them and work as hard as you need to. If they just “looked over” their anatomy notes and know everything. Good for them. Do as much as you need to. Chances are the majority if people are just like you and work hard. The most successful medics I know have a crazy work ethic. Hard work beats natural “genius” any day of the week.

#3- Don’t get intimidated by other medical students. They may look amazing but you got in too! In my first ever anatomy sessions this girl knew where the kidneys were and I spent the whole year thinking she was a genius and much better than me. In the end she didn’t do too well. But I spent way too much time thinking I was inadequate and that she was a G-E-N-I-U-S. Believe in yourself. It was not a clerical error that you got in!

#4- Looking after yourself is just as important as studying. That means good food and exercise. In my first year of university I barely joined any sports societies even though I was on pretty much on every sports team at school; I thought that I would be wasting my time. This was such a mistake. I ended up wasting my time on television (you can’t study all the time) and missing out on something I loved. Yes you will be busy. But no you shouldn’t stop doing what you love. Keep up your interests outside of medicine!

#5- Know where to get support. There is a saying: “it takes a whole village to raise a child” and I often feel that the same can be said of a medical student. There may be times when you feel that things are overwhelming and that’s when your network of support can help. But you need to ask for help. At some point or another most of my family members have been appointed as “motivational speakers” by me during revision times sending me “you can do it texts” and the like! It’s OK to ask for help. 5 years is a long time and there is no need to go it alone.

I hope that these 5 quick tips helped you and feel free to share them with anyone who you think may benefit!

#6 As this pre-work picture I sent my my sister shows, caffeine will become your friend if it isn't already...
#6 As this pre-work picture I sent to my sister shows, caffeine will become your friend if it isn’t already…

2 thoughts on “Things I wish I knew at the start of medical school

  1. I love your blog…I’m going to be starting Cambridge Medical School next fall and your experiences reminded me of the types of experiences I equally went through (It sucks learning the hard way!)….I’m just genuinely hoping I won’t turn into one of those obnoxious medical students!


    1. Hi Nabila!

      Thanks for reading and CONGRATULATION on getting into Cambridge AND into Medical School. I don’t know you but I already feel proud of you! I’m sure you will do great 🙂

      Salma xx


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