Things I wish I knew before starting medical school:
The most important realisation I’ve had is… that it is impossible to know everything about everything. So be efficient and smart with setting your limits to how much you are going to learn and don’t be disheartened if you have to leave certain less important things out. You will soon get into the habit of prioritising the important things.
You will get through it! As getting in to medical school in the first place is so difficult, it is really easy to feel like it will only get harder but that is not the case.
One thing I wish I knew before starting was what type of learner I was. I didn’t really have one set learning style before medical school, and have now come to realise I am a visual learner so need to see concepts as a picture or diagram to really get to grips with the material. It would be really helpful to know before starting what style of learning suits you so that you can get straight into it when the time comes. For instance, if you’re an auditory learner, perhaps you could take your dictaphone to record lectures (with permission) and listen back to them. If you like to chunk up your revision into bite-sizes you can start making sets of flashcards for each topic.
I also wish I knew not to buy textbooks before starting. Everyone says this but it really is true; there is no need to buy lots of textbooks beforehand. The older years are a fountain of knowledge as to which books suit your course and often sell them onto you cheaply or point you to where you can find them for free in the library.
Above all, it is so important to keep up a routine of doing all the things you love and having things to look forward to in your evenings and weekends. The cliche ‘medicine is a marathon, not a sprint’ really does hold and I can definitely advocate that you need your hobbies, friends and families to get through it!