Wanna know what I did instead of walking at graduation to receive my Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Physiology this past Saturday? I did what any other red blooded American with cowboy boots would do: I shot my rifle and an armory of other guns with some of my best friends, and then went to a horse show and had beers with some more friends.
I’ve learned a thing or two about enjoying life in the process of getting to medical school, and I’d like to share them with you.
1. Meet people.
College is the time when your pre-frontal cortex is in its most shapeable stage, and the work you put into fostering that growth with great relationships is what will carry you onto the next stage of life. Instead of being the gunner that studies relentlessly and won’t share notes, go ask the cute girl or guy in your Gen Bio class out for coffee, because it’s the camaraderie and relationships you build that will carry you through the next four years, and make you leave college with no regrets.
2. Be atypical.
If you want to go to medical school, please for the love of God, do something interesting with your life before you apply to medical school, and don’t be the idiot that goes around telling everyone “I’m premed and I’m going to be a surgeon.” You’ll look foolish, I promise. Take a year off, and go travel. No one cares if you have a 4.0 and nail your MCAT if you don’t also have some life experience and are an interesting person to be around who has seen and experienced the world.
3. Find a mentor.
Build relationships with your professors. They are people too, and have a profound amount of wisdom they can pass on to you. Not only will this relationship help you grow as a young scientist, but these are the people that will ensure you win awards and ultimately become a scientist both in lab and on paper.
4. All-nighters are futile.
All-nighters are a really great way for you to get worse grades. Turns out that years of neurophysiology research have proven that repetition of information and sleep are the two major ways that memories are transferred from short-term to long-term.
5. Manage your time.
Treating school like a job will make sure you schedule your study time well, which leaves plenty of time for play and will help you keep your sanity and grades up. College is a once in a lifetime chance, and I’d hate to be looking back on it when I’m 60, saying “I wish I would have…”
I wish you the best of luck, and don’t give up – you’ve chosen one of the hardest majors to tackle.
This is a repost of an article by Joshua Wienczkowski. For more articles by Joshua, check out our popular series Journeys with Joshua.