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June 10, 2014

7 Changes That Will Happen To You Upon Entering Med School

     So you decided to enter Med School? Well, then. There are certain changes that you must expect once you enter the ever-challenging world of Medical School.

Change No. 1: Your Grades will change 
Are you used to having grades as high as 90 or 95 or heck even 100? Well, that's because you haven't met your Neuroanatomy teacher yet. Or your Biochemistry teacher. Or your Histology teacher. Or any med school teacher for that matter! Unless you are Einstein or Stephen Hawking, you will see your grades gradually dip lower and lower until it will settle and stabilize to its comfortable zone. Med school is tough and I am not even sure if the father of Medicine himself - good ol' Hippocrates - can even pass med school if he is alive today and eventually decides to enroll. Med school requires a lot of mental and physical work. Which means you must have enough emotional stability offhand prior to entering med school. Don't fret. Those are just numbers. You should not allow those numbers to contain you and frame you in.

Change No. 2: Your Sleeping Habits will change.
Most med students enter med schools as diurnal. Eventually that will change. Once you enter med school, you can become nocturnal, being awake at night with your nose buried in those thick books. For those who failed to study the night before, they tend to become crepuscular or active at dawn (or even dusk) trying to cram as many readings as they can especially before a quiz or an exam. The more unfortunate ones turn into zombies: wide awake 24/7 with eye bags as deep as their ankles. Don't allow your body to be turned this way. Find time for rest. Your brain needs to rest as well.

Change No. 3: Your Eating Habits will change.
Food will be both a necessity and a distraction. With so limited time for studies, a med student may have a tendency to eat fast. Gobbling down as many and as quick as they can, med students are walking Gastrointestinal Tracts. For late night study groups, you will prefer more coffee than any other food. Caffeine will run through your veins too much that you should be banned from donating blood. Some, as a way of coping stress, will tend to eat more. If you are that kind of person, then you will end up becoming one fat medical student. Find time to eat a well-balanced diet. After all, future doctors are supposedly advocates of healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Change No. 4: Your Friends will change.
Birds of the same feathers will flock together. Med school life is tough and not many of your "old" friends can understand the rigors and demands of med school life. The only one who can empathize with your struggles and hardships is...well, a fellow med student. There is a high probability that you will start to see your "mortal, ordinary" friends less and less and find yourself spending more time with your NFF's in med school. In every phase of life, this can be natural. But consider these NFF's as additional friends to your ever-growing network of social capital. Keep your old friends. You just can't discard an old car simply because it got old.

Change No. 5: Your (Girl or Boy)friend will change.
Speaking of changing friends, this is a corollary to Change No. 4. For the same reasons as cited earlier, there is a high probability that you will have a new girlfriend or boyfriend by the time you are done with med school. So far, and this is a subjective and unscientific observation, around 70-75% of students who enter med school with a girlfriend or boyfriend would end up breaking up with them by the time they are done with the First Year. And about 80-90% of them who eventually break up with their partners end up having a new girlfriend or boyfriend from their classmates or batchmates or a fellow med student. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Change No. 6: Your Stress Level will change.
There are no greater stress than the ones you will encounter in med school. This cortisol-inducing stress can be very pugnacious. Give your body time to adjust with the stress. For those who are fast enough, it can take them 3-6 months to adjust. Others, it may take a lifetime. Whatever your pace is, at the end of the day, med school will definitely increase your stress level threshold way higher than the one you have before entering med school.

Change No. 7: Your Perspectives will change.
Med School is your bus stop to your next destination: becoming a doctor. It is going to be a long wait in the bus stop but there will be so much to learn during this tough phase. The way you will look at people and events and the world at large will change. It will expose you to both the good and the bad side of the profession. It will mold you to however you want to be molded. Be patient. The wait can be long but the bus will surely come. Take this moment to imbibe as many learning and insights as you can, making sure that there should always be a variety in the lessons that you learn. The rigors of med school can test your self confidence, your emotional stability, even your faith. Do not be scared. It is part of the process called change.

     The game of life, which is very relevant to med school, is survival. Every day is a lesson in survival while you are in med school. The key to survival is the ability to manage the change. So embrace the change. Get ready for it. There is no better way of handling it than preparing for it.

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