Medical School Applications: Tips for Staying Motivated
As you probably know (or as you will soon find out!), the medical school application process is long and grueling. Unlike applying for undergraduate admissions, the med school application process is not something that can be done in a couple of months. The sheer number of requirements for admission to most medical schools mean that you will need to begin working well before your senior year of college. Therefore it’s not surprising that many students who once dreamt of a career in the medical field slowly burn out and wind up settling for a different career path. This can happen to anyone—so today I’m going to share with you several tips for staying motivated as you pursue admittance to medical school.
1) Keep the big picture in mind. When you are caught up in the daily grind of going to undergrad classes, preparing for medical school, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, it is easy to become discouraged. And when that happens, your long term goals and dreams are usually the first thing to suffer. It’s important that you maintain a big picture perspective and keep your goals on the forefront of your mind, even while you’re busy with other obligations. Create some sort of visual reminder—a long term calendar or even a photo of the school you hope to one day attend. Being constantly reminded that you are working towards a lifelong dream will make it much easier to bear your heavy workload.
2) Be realistic. Yes, you have a huge amount of work to complete. But don’t set yourself up to fail. By this I mean do not attempt to get more work done than is reasonable. Setting an overly aggressive schedule will result in one of these two possibilities: Either you’ll fail to keep up with the pace you’ve set, at which time you may feel like giving up entirely; or, if you do manage to get the work done, you’ll work yourself into the ground and find yourself exhausted, physically sick, and burned out. Instead set realistic goals that leave you sufficient time to relax and even have fun on a weekly basis.
3) Work smarter, not harder. If you’re going to meet all of the requirements for medical school, it’s imperative that you are efficient with your time. Don’t waste time searching for documents and other information—stay organized. Don’t fill out the same form over and over—create copies, if possible. Look for solutions that enable you to work efficiently and effectively. You’ve got a huge task in front of you, and it’s important that you don’t make it any more difficult than it has to be.
As a medical school applicant, you’re facing a daunting challenge. But remember why you are putting yourself through this—you’re doing it because that’s what you must do to realize your dreams. It may not always be a lot of fun, but if you can keep your eyes on the prize you’ll be able to reach the finish line.
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