Things you should know before becoming a medical student

The life of a doctor is challenging yet highly rewarding and preparation for this role begins during medical school. This period trains medical students for their professional life ahead by instilling core values like hard work, patience, perseverance and discipline.

If you are planning to be a doctor then you must truly understand the importance of medical school. During those years you will study to be academically competent but you will also have some of the most enriching experiences of your life.

Being a medical student is not just about hard work; ideally you will also enjoy some breaks and make lasting memories. Since it’s always good to stay prepared for such an important journey ahead, we have compiled a list of things that you may encounter during your tenure in medical school.

Nothing at medical school is trivial

While you are studying at medical school, you have to make the most of your time and work diligently at absorbing every bit of learning. While the curriculum will give you the requisite knowledge, there is still a lot to gain from the discussion and interactions that you will have with your professors and peers.

Graduates of medical schools in the Caribbean have learned a lot simply by being open to their senior’s guidance. For example, Clinical Dean Award recipient, Christopher Smith of MUA recalls how he would engage in hour-long discussions with his neuroscience faculty that were very enriching and captivating. These conversations sparked his love for neuroscience and encouraged him to follow his passion.

Learn to adapt

Being a medical student means juggling many courses at once,  and avoiding having tunnel vision. Medical school will open you up to limitless possibilities. For example, when you begin your medical studies you may be focused on becoming an orthopaedic surgeon and working towards this goal, yet somewhere down the line during your coursework you might decide that actually you want to go into emergency medicine.

Another MUA graduate student Ahmar Urooj Zaidi is a clear example of this. Originally interested in pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience,  his interests changed during his medical studies and he pivoted,  opting instead for a  Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in Detroit. In his own words, Ahmar says that being adaptive to changing situations is an extremely important part of medicine. 

Everyone has a different learning style

Each student has different learning styles that affects how they will absorb the information that is presented to them. Some prefer visual means of learning, others gravitate towards audio mediums. In medical school, you will find a range of different students who will study in their own way.

 Hence, instead of copying someone’s learning style, it's best to stick with what works for you. Some of your classmates may be able to  simply retain information by reading from a textbook, while you find that you do best by making notes on everything.

Basically - don’t try to adapt to someone else’s learning technique but rather stick to what works best for you. Most importantly, attend all the lectures, participate in discussions and create a learning strategy that gets the desired result.

Be involved

Studying at a medical school does require hard work but it doesn’t mean you must restrict yourself to endless hours of studying. Getting involved in other activities will help you ease stress and ultimately contribute to your success.

If you study medicine in the Caribbean, then you have the advantage of enjoying the lush island life and interacting with local communities. During her time at MUA, Samantha Agar, another graduate who is currently in a Family Medicine residency, was involved with the local community on Nevis.

She did a lot of volunteer work and even started a “Pink Lilly Program” to educate women on the issue of breast cancer while  providing resources to those in need. For her work, she received the Premier of Nevis" award on the island.

Her advice to students entering medical school is to get involved with new things and people as it will help make this time in medical school truly worthwhile.

If you are looking for a top Caribbean Medical School to begin your medical journey then check out Medical University of the Americas (MUA). Founded over 20 years ago, the school has earned a reputation for providing excellent education and is recognized among top international medical schools.

MUA has a USMLE Step One first time pass rate of 95% (avg of 2015-2019) and takes active interest in ensuring that students gain all the necessary skills needed in the medical field. Most importantly it prioritises smaller class size and one-on-one instruction. As a result, MUA graduates have found remarkable success with many of them landing successful residencies in the U.S. and Canada.

If you are looking to enjoy the same success with MUA then take a look at the admission requirements. You can also check out the school’s MD programs and personal student testimonials. Click on the shared links for more!


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