Reflections on the First 3 Weeks of Medical School

I have just experienced my first three weeks of medical school and it has been amazing! The first week was a series of orientation sessions to get us familiar with the medical program while the second week was the official start of classes.

I would love to share my experiences with you!

  • What I love about the program:  Fantastic classmates, passionate teachers, fascinating material, plenty of support, small group sessions, mentors, a focus on wellness, and the opportunity to shadow physicians right from Week 1! So far, I have had some exposure to family medicine, obstetrics and pathology. I loved being in the birthing center where I got to meet a patient who had just given birth by cesarean section. There was something so profound about being with someone at such a life-changing moment. I have also enjoyed my histology labs where we have been identifying different types of cells and tissues. Interestingly, it seems that pathology is moving away from using microscopes and instead using very high resolution images on the computer screen.
  • Challenges: The biggest challenges so far are being away from my children and the 2-3 hour daily commute. Traffic has been much worse than anticipated so I am making the most of my commute time to listen to lectures and also to decompress at the end of a busy day. I am very grateful to my husband for his tremendous support in helping out around the house and with the kids.
  • Surprises: The orientation and first few days of class focused on physicianship, the social aspects of medicine, indigenous health and the disparities in healthcare among the aboriginal population. Where as I thought we would be diving straight into hard science and performing dissections in the anatomy lab, it was interesting to learn about the social side of medicine and how so many factors affect health. I have also been pleasantly surprised by the vast array of backgrounds that my classmates have. It is such a diverse group!
  • Strategies for survival: I have had to adjust my study methods compared to the last time I was in school. The material is too voluminous for one to completely master every detail so I am learning the art of determining what is the most essential and what fits into the big picture of becoming a doctor. So far, I am mostly using the lecture material and my own created flashcards to summarize the material. Upper year students have also created some useful summaries that they have graciously handed down to us newbies.
  • Tips and advice: An important tip that I have heard from many seasoned medical students and doctors is to not neglect my life outside of medicine. I am trying to create a positive habit early on of having protected time for my husband, kids, devotional time, adequate sleep and exercise. I will also try to keep up with one or two hobbies, some friends and family.  There are several activities and organizations on campus I am interested in joining but I will have to be selective and not take on too much. Flexibility is important and I realize that I may not always be on top of things, but I will do the best that I can and enjoy the adventure!

Although I am only at the very beginning of my training and there is much more to come, I am really enjoying medical school so far and feel so grateful to have been given this opportunity!

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My new stethoscope just arrived! If you are wondering what brand to buy for medical school, this one comes highly recommended and is offered in an array of colors.

 

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18 thoughts on “Reflections on the First 3 Weeks of Medical School

  1. You go girl! Be exponentially blessed! I remember my first stethoscope! I am so happy for you! And may God bless, protect and provide for your children, husband and marriage, strengthening and growing them with growth from God in surprising and glorious ways!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Malaika!

    “Where as I thought we would be diving straight into hard science and performing dissections in the anatomy lab, it was interesting to learn about the social side of medicine.”

    There’s something about this passage that evoked more than a smile. Specifically, you having the time of your life (family, intellectual challenge, new classmates/interdisciplinary teams) and to see your goals materialize as you envisioned are nothing short of amazing!

    I join your readers in wishing you continued success. Have fun learning and touching lives via the social outlet of medicine! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning! One thing I must mention is the awe effect young mothers, in particular, exhibit when they seem to reach in their bag of multitasking wizardry to add yet another challenge (albeit, a beautiful one): school. And make no mistakes, graduate/professional school is as challenging as it is work!

    Am so proud of women around the world who either contemplate it or are in situations where they can fulfill their professional dreams! And fistbumps to the husbands/dads for their patience and understanding!!

    Regarding my ‘beautiful’ family, thank you for the kind remarks! 🙂 Without a doubt the best part of our weekdays is picking our children from school. Having them run into our arms supersede instantly any prior daily challenge. Surely, we’re not unlike most families who fancy themselves as lucky!

    Malaika, have a safe and stress-free weekly commute!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello, Malaika! I am happy to hear you are off to a good start in medical school and that you are enjoying it. I think it is great that your program has started off with lectures on the social aspects of medicine. In graduate school, these were two of my areas of interests: the sociology of health and medical anthropology, as well as, ethnic and rural health disparities. I look forward to following your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great job! The first semester of medical school is the hardest, keep up the hard work. I think you nailed it with adjusting your study habits and keeping some aspect of a life outside medicine!

    Check out our blog for other aspects of med school life, advice, and humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad you are living your dream, you’re going to be brilliant! Your post is taking me back to my first medical student weeks as a mature entrant and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your experiences.

    Your commute and being away from family sounds horrendous though and I hope that can be minimised – definitely have a life outside of medicine.

    Good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

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