Post Summary: This post explores the key mistakes i made in first year of medical school. Learn from my experience, and have a smooth ride using the tips in this guide. Enjoy.
So you’ve finally succeeded!
After numerous hours spent in the library grinding on JAMB recommended textbooks, jottings, past questions, and Post-UTME questions, you’ve made it!
You’ve aced the UTME, Post-UTME, WAEC and now, yes, you’ve gotten your cherished admission into Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria!
Oh, now you’re the latest success in town. Congratulations. You deserve a pat on the back for all the hard work.
Now that you’ve been admitted into Medicine and Surgery in a Nigerian University, you should have an idea of things to expect in first year and how to succeed.
Oh, how’s first year of medical school in Nigeria? Can I cope with everything? What are the things to expect?
What about school life? This is my first time away from home, how do I succeed in my pre-medical year in Medicine?
Relax! That’s exactly why I’m here! In this post, I’m going to tell you all what I experienced in first year.
You’ll learn about my failures, mistakes, tips, schedule and things to do to become successful when you get started in medical school.
If you’re in for this, then let’s get to work!
How did you feel the moment you found that you’ve gotten admission into Medicine? You were very happy, excited, felt like you could run a 100m sprint because of the excitement. Trust me, I know.
I was also thrilled! I was at errand when I learned from a friend that the UNN had released her admission list. I was stattered, and unsettled. I wanted to check the results immediately to know whether I’m in.
And trust me, immediately I checked, something else came in me. I could feel the Adrenaline rush through my body as I ran home with speed to inform my parents.
“Mom! Mom! God has done it”, I shouted. “what happened”, My mom asked, being unable to understand why I was sweating and short of breath.
“i’ve been admitted into Medicine!” I shouted. I was very much excited.
The point is, we’re all bound to to be happy after succeeding at a goal. You’ve been a genius and have done amazingly well acing UTME and Post-UTME. But there’s more work ahead; succeeding in Medical school.
5 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make In First Year Med School
1. Missing Classes
I stayed far from school. Wasn’t my fault, but I was lured by Lodge agents by their usual “2 mins walk to school gate” marketing strategies. And not just that, I wasn’t present to inspect the lodge before making payment.
Well, since I stayed far, trekking became a norm. Getting to my lecture hall could take up to 30 minutes on a normal walk.
The first few weeks, I was super-charged for medical school. I did wake up very early, got dressed, and go to classes early. I was doing good, understanding Electromagnetism (physics). But things changed;
I began to feel tired trekking every single day to class. And guess what I did? I started skipping morning lectures!
That might have been a minor problem since its only one lecture, but as time went on, I graduated to new levels; missing a whole day of classes.
What happened to me was that, I wasn’t aware of what was taught in class, and I skipped major topics I could have learned easily. I felt I could head over to Youtube to watch an educative video and read it up myself but I was wrong- I had to learn what’s in line with out scheme.
As time continued, I discovered that I was lacking in other courses too, and when examination came, I went through hell rushing to read new topics to pass.
Thanks to God, I made a B, and in other courses. I made a huge mistake which caused me alot and you shouldn’t too.
Lesson 1: Attend Lectures Religiously Even Though You’re A Genius!
UTME- 345, Post-UTME- 360, A’s flocking your SSCE results, and you might begin to feel that you’re actually intelligent.
Sure you’re one smart lad. But when it comes to learning, you need to be very teachable and that entails being eager to learn from others.
If you want to have a smooth ride in first year, ensure you attend all the lectures possible. Skip one, and you’ll have extra load of work.
Come on, you don’t have a child to take care of, nor other responsibilties for now. What’s most important right now is your studies, so take them seriously.
Try as much as possible to attend every lecture even though you’ve read it. It helps you to understand better, and also strengthen your previous knowledge. Get your butts into the classroom and learn!
2. Involving In Plenty Activities
John C. Maxwell In one of his book Talent is never enough said, “Attempting too many things, like attempting nothing, will suck the life out of you”. This is entirely true.
In my first year, I was kind of everywhere. Back in secondary school, I was a bit nerdy (so I thought). I felt I didn’t really enjoy school, so in the University, my mind was set on experiencing different phase of life and trying out new things.
I wasn’t too good at football, but I wanted to play, so I joined our class football club which made me turn up for frequent training every Wednesday and Saturday.
I walked round college in adventure. I would want to see a friend and would trek long distances to meet up.
What about Church? I was up and doing. I tried not to miss fellowships on Wednesdays and Fridays so I’d stay in school after classes because going home and coming back is a big stress.
What else? Yes! I ventured into blogging. I wanted to make money so badly and decided to try this new field. Guess what? I got worn out. I’d work and work every day after classes but with no results. I eventually closed the blog before starting this. Well, the thing is that, too many activities derailed me.
Don’t get it all wrong, entering into a new venture is entirely cool. I mean how do you know what works when you’ve never tried? How do you keep up spiritually when you regularly miss the gathering of God’s people?
How do you get good at a new venture if you don’t practice? So, the activities wasn’t much the problem, but that I get into too plenty that I could handle.
Lesson 2: Minimize Unnecessary Activities That’ll Stress You
When you’re in as a new medic into the University, you might want to try out everything you think about. It could be that you heard of a student that earns 50,000 naira each month and now you want to do what he does.
Or, your friends have a get-together party and wants you to attend. Or your class is organizing a movie-night, and now’s the perfect time to chill out with a friend.
I can go on and on with possible distractions. The thing is that, although it’s not a bad idea to relax or involve in activities, but you should try to minimize them to read more.
Plan your schedule, know how much extra time you’ve got to spare before yielding to your inner pleasures of getting into adventures. Ensure you read before giving your time out because that’s what really matters.
3. Waking Up Late
We can all claim to be tired the night before and wake up late in the morning. But when this act of rolling out of bed late becomes a habit, it’s a sign for danger!
In my second semester of year one, I became used to school and felt very comfortable. I would wake up late and then rush to class. Of course, I’d miss first lecture, but I’d somehow manage to attend others.
Waking up late might not be bad but it’ll make you lazy for the day’s work. Classes start by 8am or 7am some times, and you wake by 7:05am. How do you hope to meet up with first class?
Asides that, waking up late will make you miss a good seat. In Universities in Nigeria, especially public ones, there’s a lot of population with limited spaces for learning.
And if you get a back seat, it’s as good as you were absent because you may not see the board, nor understand exactly what the lecturer is explaining.
Lesson 3: Take Classes As Your Duty; Wake Up Early and Get to It!
You can start by setting an alarm, or any means you want to wake up early, but it’s from your mindset. In this case, begin to envision classes as your obligation, then wake up each day and get to it.
4. Neglecting Some Courses
I dreaded the Peace and conflict 201. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to understand what the authors were trying to say or what they wanted me to know.
Have you ever read a book and everything feels so unapproachable. Like you couldn’t learn anything? That’s exactly how I felt with GSP 201. But I had to do it anyway.
What happened was that, I neglected the course during my regular reading schedule, and when exams approached, I struggled to understand and read the course.
It put me in a tight corner, forcing a whole lot of information the night before the exams. But thankfully, I managed to write and pass it.
Lesson 4: Treat All Courses Equally As They’ll All Matter
You may love biology, or Physics, which is very okay, but when you begin to isolate other courses, you become a one-sided medical student and may find it challenging passing exams.
In your first year of Medical School, try as much as possible to study all courses regularly. Don’t put away a course until it’s exams; you might be setting a death trap for yourself!
5. Reading Alone
I did read by myself. I mean, I’ve always believed that I could learn anything without anyone’s help. But when I carried this with me in first year, it didn’t just work.
Certain topics in Physics became very difficult for me and I found out I was dying inside trying to learn by myself. But as soon as I met a friend for Assistance, what I thought was challenging, became a breeze!
Asides that, I also noticed that my group reading with some students in my department helped me understand concepts deeper although we would chit-chat and have fun.
Lesson 5: Study With A Group Of Friends Once In A While
When you’re in medical school, since you’ve always known yourself to be a genius, you might begin to do everything by yourself. But don’t!
If you’re struggling to understand a topic or course, try to meet a friend for explanation, or engage in group discussions. It helps you learn better and quicker!
Also Read: How to Study Like a Pro in Medical School
I didn’t have the perfect life in my first year of medical school. I made lots of mistakes, had challenges and trying times. But if I did go through all that, doesn’t mean you should too.
Inf you’re about to begin your pre-medical year, this post will help you learn, and more importantly, have a smooth ride in medical school.
If you’re already in medical school, which other mistakes did you make for others to learn from? Let me know through the comment section!