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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Two biggest Medical School Advices

I consider this advice higher than anything else. I recieved advice #1 from a peer, and #2 I figured out over time. Please read in full. This is for you.

Don't believe 100% of ANYTHING anyone or anything ever tells you, even me, right now! (but please, hear this out). Books have errors. Papers are written from biased perspectives. People sometimes don't know what they're talking about (especially in term 1). People accidentally mix things up, they get confused. People hear gossip and it gets misconstrued. People are stressed out and make mistakes. We see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and believe what we want to believe. WATCH OUT for the people who don't care about details. There will be people willing to help you learn, but they may neglect important details that you will get tested on. They don't neglect them because they're intentionally trying to hinder you, they may not have had all the details to begin with or thought that certain details were not important. Be careful is what I am telling you. This includes Professors, tutors, your peers, websites, textbooks, and yourself. All of these are written by humans, and we make mistakes. Don't be surprised.

  • How to deal with this? Take everything with a grain of salt, and ask several sources. If they all agree, then the chances are that you are getting the truth is much better. Eventually, you may find that certain people are more reliable resources than others. 
  • Don't ever think you have enough sources. The more, the better. Statistics!
  • Do your own work. You are the most trustworthy source you have. 
  • Take advice, chances are that the people who did the work before you can point out a lot of important details and learning points, but remember that it is only one person's perspective. Don't ever forget that.

It is just as important, that you know what resources to use. I can not stress this enough. YOUR RESOURCES ARE SO IMPORTANT! What does it mean to know your resources? It means you have looked for, and looked at them! Don't be the person who uses First Aid as paperweight until year 2. Do you know why everyone talks about it so highly? Have you even opened it and looked for yourself? You should. I am not saying it will teach you everything, I am saying, Form Your Own Opinion about what is available to you. You should dedicate a good chunk of time before each class getting to know ALL your resources given to you, and as many resources available to you (this is different). Class notes are given to you, while things such as books that you can buy, websites, laptops or gadgets, or Software are all things that are Available to you. You should definately have a lineup of your go-to resources when the class notes become insufficient.

Why is this important? Efficiency. DONT. WASTE. YOUR. TIME. Be efficient.
  • Chances are you can save yourself a lot of time, and we all know that Time is something a medical student doesn't have, so don't take it for granted. Make the best use of time possible. This is part of your time management skills. 
  • You want to know exactly where to look for whatever information you need. You want to do it quickly, and you want to know that the information you are looking up is complete, in the amount of detail that you require, and reliable. 
  • You want to know how to use your laptop, you want to make use of helpful software (and there is lots), you want to know where Questions are provided and which ones are helpful to you. 
  • You want to know about helpful websites. 
  • You want to know what works best for you. This can take some time, but please I urge you to do this BEFORE you start studying to make the most out of your time. 
If your laziness just kicked in... fight it! Don't just say you'll check it out later. Actually do it.
Don't spend your time looking at one textbook thinking its the best thing in the world. Chances are someone else has asked around, done the research, gotten feedback, and found a resource far superior to yours and made the switch. Don't be too lazy and stubborn to make the switch also. You'll wonder why that person is out on the weekends and youre stuck inside studying until 1am on fridays. And for god sakes, DO IT EARLY. Did I say this already?

How to do this?
  • SEEK advice, and ASK for help. 
  • People will not give you their resource advice. ASK THEM. Ask them what they use to look for resources, ask them what they use for specific resources, ask them who they goto to ask... etc
  • Don't only look for resources... Look for resources you can use to reliably look for more resources! It sounds stupid, but its true. I have tried to do that here, although its difficult to post everything.
  • Ask the people who have been here before you. They are a great resource. Shoot, ask as many people as you can stand to. The more advice, the better, remember advice #1? Don't get bad advice.
  • Google. seems pretty obvious, but how many times have you googled what to use for medical school? If you just thought "none", then keep reading.
  • FORUMS. There are plenty of forums. ValueMD, StudentDoctor, etc that discuss everything and anything including where to look and what to use. Kaplan, Doctors in Training, Other schools post things about what resources have been recommended to use (of course they have a corporate bias, but atleast its something to start with). Goto the forums and see if they agree.
  • Ask someone to show you how to use a laptop if you dont know, ask someone to see their ipad, maybe you will find it saves you time!
  • Ask someone to teach you how they study
I hope you found this worthwhile and that you remember it as you go through medical school and life, and I hope that this advice benefits you. 

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