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Case study

Med School Myth-Busting

Medical school myth-busting

We’ve all been there. Hearing rumors about the infamous medical school. It takes a whole lot of hard work to get in and complete it, but does it really require all those sacrifices that usually go with it? Let’s get into 4 of the most popular myths:

1. Med students study all day long and give up on a social life and hobbies.

First, let’s see what’s actually true: does med school require a lot of studying? Yes

But does it require giving up your life and sanity? Definitely, NOT.

Too much is never the answer, and it can actually be counterproductive. Thus, let’s sum everything up in 2 mottos.

  1. The first one is “Quality over quantity”: Instead of spending endless hours in front of a computer screen and textbooks, divide your study-time in smaller sessions, during which it is easier to maintain your focus. Studying will take up all the time you give it, so set up time limits but make every minute count.

  2. The second motto is “Time management”: Although it seems impossible to fit everything in the 24 hours of the day, making a rough schedule can do wonders both time - and efficiency -wise. Balance is key to keep on top of things and spare a considerable amount of time for hobbies and personal relationships. Don’t you even think of bringing guilt into the picture, you deserve this much needed break from your daily routine.

2. I can be the best at everything.

Once you get into med school, you will soon realize that you’re surrounded by goal-driven individuals, who have fought really hard pursuing their dreams, like yourself. With that being said, it can be a real challenge to come to terms with imperfection especially in the beginning - I know I struggled with that a lot. The turning point for me, however, was when I realized that improvement is what I should be chasing after, not perfection. Strive for personal and academic growth, there will always be room for more, but perfection is a goal humanly impossible to attain. And don’t forget, as overachievers, we tend to forget our progress and obsess over what we are doing wrong. Just take a moment to reflect and look back where you started from. Such an exercise makes your path ahead clearer and is the visible proof of your effort’s effectiveness.

3. Passing an exam is enough.

Don’t get me wrong, there are very few feelings comparable to the satisfaction of passing a demanding exam, especially in a not-so-engaging subject. However, we are definitely not subjecting ourselves to this amount of studying just to get perfect scores. Exams are just milestones that we need to reach in order to get to the actual point of all these years of studying: treating our patients. Tests and grades are only indicative of fundamental understanding and/or potential gaps, they are not - and cannot be - a precise reflection of what you actually know. As a student, you will always be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, but it will be on YOU to go the extra mile. All this extra work you are putting in will be translated into an investment in your future profession and your patients’ safety.

4. You have to be competitive in order to survive med school.

Getting into med school is a grueling process. Nevertheless, there is absolutely no need to make an already challenging degree even harder, by adding competition towards your fellow med students. You have much more in common than you think: you all have the same goal in mind, faced similar challenges and succeeded. Show compassion and kindness to these people who will accompany you on this difficult path for the next several years. And even if they are not the people you would normally befriend, consider this as a practice run for the real thing: we are not always surrounded by people who are easy to get along with, but it is crucial that we form healthy professional relationships as well.

Michaela-Zoi Psaromatti, Democritus University of Thrace