School is Tough — Stay Healthy!
Life as a premed student can be hectic to say the least. Between preparing for tests, trying to keep your GPA up, and meeting extra-curricular requirements, it can be hard to find time to sleep—let alone socialize. Unfortunately, premed students often respond to the time crunch they face by sacrificing in the areas that they can least afford to sacrifice. Specifically, many premed students are not sleeping enough, aren’t eating well, aren’t exercising, and aren’t taking any time to relax and decompress. While this may not be a big deal over the course of a week, or maybe even a month, eventually the pressure you are putting on your body will catch up to you. Don’t neglect your health. Below are tips to keep in mind as you live your hectic premed life:
1) Don’t sacrifice sleep. Sure, in the short run it is probably okay to have a few nights of very little sleep. But it is essential that you make this sleep up, and that you aren’t constantly sleep deprived. If you have great difficulty getting out of bed every morning and have trouble staying awake in classes or while studying, you are probably not getting enough sleep. Instead of looking at sleep as wasted time, consider it an “investment.” That extra hour or two of sleep will leave your mind refreshed and prepared for the day—allowing you to get your work done faster and better.
2) Stay disciplined with your diet. The lack of a proper diet is a major problem with society as a whole, not just students. Pressed for time, people resort to quick and easy fast food meals—and pay the price in the long run. Now I’m not suggesting that you only eat homemade food—but do your best to eat healthy. Most school cafeterias have a number of healthy options—take advantage! Not only will you stay in better shape, but you’ll feel better on a daily basis as well.
3) Exercise consistently. Everyone knows that exercise is important. Unfortunately, when students are busy, exercise is one of the first things to be sacrificed. Develop a plan to consistently exercise. If you have the discipline to regularly work out at the gym, do so. If not, join an intramurals team or simply play sports with friends regularly. If you can make exercise fun, you will be much more likely to do it consistently. I also highly recommend finding an accountability partner—someone to encourage you to stick with it even when it’s tough to find the time or the energy.
The premed years can be extremely stressful. The typical premed student is always rushed—there is never enough time for all of the studying that needs to be done. Unfortunately, many students fall into bad habits in college and never recover. The truth is that you will face the same pressure and stress as a medical school student and eventually as a physician. Develop good habits now and stay healthy!
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Dr. Toote is a sensational premed speaker. He told us how an average college graduate applies to medical school and then he told us how an above average graduate applies. Everything I knew about the medical school application process was turned upside down. I am grateful for attending his presentation. M. G. Houston, Texas