An interview with a doctor friend:
Whether you’re still unsure about studying medicine in Europe or have already decided to choose this path, this article is for you! I’ve decided to present you with four things about life at medical school that you might not know about as of yet. Speaking as a medical doctor, leaving to study medicine abroad felt like a daunting experience at first; but this was all because of a lack of information.
I would, therefore, like to share with you some of the obstacles that I had to meet on the way and how you should prepare for them.
#1 – You Will and Should Use the Internet a Lot
I don’t know how it was for you in high school, but back in my days, we were supposed to study primarily from textbooks. That isn’t the case for studying medicine nowadays though. While it’s true that the books can be useful especially since some professors might want you to quote exact sentences from a particular book. However, to get a good understanding of a certain field, you should use the internet as your number one advisor.
There are tons of articles on the web about researches that get uploaded daily. There’s one specific website that I use every day even until now.
Nowadays, if you want to become a good doctor, you should look for information everywhere.
#2 – You Will Change Your Studying Methods a Lot
Now, this sounds strange at first. Some may question “I’ve done A-levels, how hard can it be?” The truth is that every subject demands a different approach. For some you’re supposed to study primarily from lectures, for others, it’s from textbooks, for third – everything combined. There is no universal technique working for every subject.
When I first started studying medicine in Europe, I remember feeling frustrated about what is the best studying method. I spent countless hours trying out strategies, but in the end, I found out that I have to approach each course differently.
Developing your methods comes with time. In my third year, for example, I was spending about an hour or two on something that would’ve taken me a half day when I was a fresher. There’s nothing to be worried about here.
#3 – You’ll Rarely Feel Completely Prepared
The course is usually so fast-paced that you might as well feel as if you’re catching up all the time. That is normal, and you’ll get used to it with time. Often the more I study for a particular subject, the more I realise how unprepared I am.
“All I know is that I know nothing” and to get to know this takes time and effort too.
I’ve had friends who decided to study graduate medicine in Europe, so they were exempted from their first two years. Even they got used to the pace and managed to cope with, it so there’s no room for worrying!
#4 – You WILL Have Free Time
Quite the contrary to what some people are saying. – If you manage to organise yourself, you’ll have plenty of free time for socialising and even travelling. I don’t understand people who sit all day at home and pretend they are studying for 13-14 hours straight. There’s no way to be 100% productive all the time. Everyone should make small and big breaks between studying sessions.
There you have it, my top 4 tips for a new medical student in Europe. I hope you’ll find those useful. Dream on!