5 Tips For a Spectacular Semester
Written by: Alexandra Alvarez
Edited by: Taylor Goss and Lara Rostomian
It is September — we see the back to school section getting cleared out at Target, the shopping ads on TV and on the internet, and we see pictures of family and friends starting their new school years on Facebook- which means back to school season is upon us. With a new school season, we also have a new addition to our Premedical Branch of AMWA: a new blog! This blog will feature advice for navigating these confusing and busy premed years, guest posts from medical students and physicians, and so much more. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter in order to receive updates on all of our new blog posts!
Whether you are starting a new semester, quarter, new program, or even an entirely new school — it is time to say goodbye to our summer tans and adventures and start preparing ourselves for the fast approaching school year. With a new school year comes new opportunities and experiences, both good and bad. Whatever this year brings, be ready to be amazing and get through it all with gracefully.
Starting a new school year with an open mind is crucial to ensuring a successful semester or quarter and we at AMWA are here to offer 5 tips for all you awesome fierce ladies to have a successful school year:
1. Say Goodbye to Procrastination
Yes, GPA is a big factor in medical school admissions and, as such, your grades matter. With a new school year comes the opportunity to get into a new routine and schedule to ensure that you have time to study. Try not to sit around frequently without using your time efficiently. If you have a short break in-between classes, use it to study! Make sure you stay focused and put in the work that is needed to maintain a good outcome. Professionally speaking, being an undergrad or taking a gap year gives you the opportunity to take advantage and use this time to begin exploring various medical specialties. Take courses in specialties that you are interested in: child psychology, human sexuality, public health, etc. Also, challenge yourself and get hands-on experience by volunteering, getting involved in research, or doing paid work. Experiences are valuable and will be to your benefit in the long run. Do not procrastinate, time is precious and you will feel amazing knowing you’re using your time productively.
2. Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
Sure, doing things we’re familiar with is great and being in our comfort zone is something we are all totally ok with — that’s why they call it the comfort zone! However, this school year it’s time to step out of those warm, cozy spaces. If you like spending your free time alone and studying solo, that’s completely fine. However, try to meet new people! Who knows, the person sitting next to you in your Chemistry class might become your best friend! You can form study groups in your classes, hang out and discover new places, and much more. If being extroverted isn’t your thing, challenge yourself. Try out for a new intramural sports team, audition for the campus musical, join a new club or dance team. Whatever it may be, use this “fresh start” to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.
3. Break Out of the Premed Bubble
If you are premed, you do not have to solely be a lab rat or a bookworm. It’s important to keep your non-medical hobbies. Don’t pass up experiences that are not directly related to health because you think it will knock you off your track. You can still go out and do the things that help you relax and you can still go out and tutor, do peer counseling, etc. In fact, these activities demonstrate your compassion, communication, and passions. Life can get very stressful, we know. Being in libraries and classrooms all day will get frustrating. It is important to take care of yourself and your mental health! Get outside and take a breather. Do the things that make you happy–hiking, singing, dancing, exercising, volunteering, tutoring, etc. And trust us, medical school admissions committees will love these activities that set you apart from the heard.
4. Don’t Let a Bad Day (or Week) Keep You Down
When the school year starts to get busy and you find yourself struggling to keep up, remember that you have to keep the motivation you have at the beginning of the school year all the way through to the end. When obstacles come your way, see the lesson and get back up. Someone once said, “failure is not the end.” This mindset is key when it comes to understanding that challenges and failure is not the end all be all. It is important to remember that when things get rough, you are not the first premed (nor the last) who has come upon some failures or challenges, and that this particular moment does not define you. Don’t let the mid-semester slump affect your finals season. Get back up. Start again. Show everyone how remarkable you can be.
5. Treat Yo Self
College is stressful enough and being premed is even more stressful! We know how tough it can get, but remember that your health comes first. This is the perfect time to develop smart strategies for sleep, diet, and exercise! If you start them earlier in the school year, before exams and assignments make your life a little more hectic, then you’ll be more likely to stick with them in the long run. Most of us have probably heard the same advice over and over again: “get 8 hours of sleep, study daily, exercise daily, etc.” Now we know we sound like a broken record by reminding you of this advice — but it’s true! Prioritize yourself and your health because it will benefit you in the long run. Get enough sleep, set up a schedule to exercise (even if it’s for 20 min), and since we know that our AMWA members are super busy, take snacks to eat healthy when you’re on the go — taking on the world I’m sure! Remember: your brain can’t function at full capacity unless you treat your body right. A fact to remind yourself of, “the heart must first pump blood to itself” and you must give care to yourself in order to fully care for others.
Being a student is as amazing as it is tiring, so remember to enjoy every second of the school year (yes even the low points because those are lessons too). Remember your worth ladies, and have an amazing school year. We hope these tips are helpful for many of you! Check back soon for our next blog post and if any of you have suggestions for future posts or any topics that you want to see written about then make sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org (seriously don’t be shy, we want to hear from you!)
“If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off…no matter what they say” – Barbara McClintock (winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine). #AMWAstrong