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what is a good way to stay motivated while you're in medical school?

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Joseph’s Answer

Hi Ruby.

This is a great question because we all have to find ways to keep us motivated to do certain things. Here is a three step process that I've found is a good way to stay motivated.

1) Set your goal(s) and write it down. (A goal is something you would like to achieve. Or make happen.) In your instance, it may seem like your goal would be to “stay motivated while you're in medical school”.

However, I noticed your hashtags and will guess that your REAL goal is to become a doctor. And more specifically...a pediatrician. (If you could become a pediatrician by just taking a two-day class, then there would be no need for you to go to medical school. And you wouldn't need to stay motivated.)

So, take a piece of paper, or notebook, and write down your goal. (Example: “I want to become a pediatrician”.)

The next step is to...

2) Write down your "WHY". Write down all of the reasons “WHY” you want to achieve your goal. Take a few minutes to really think about this question. This is an important step because your “Why(s)” is where your motivation will come from. Your “Why” is what will pull you toward your goal. Your “Why” will let you know the EXACT reasons you are getting up early, staying up late, and putting yourself through the demands of medical school. Your “Why(s)” will be what motivate you.

So, for example: “I want to become a pediatrician because I want to heal sick children. I want to become a pediatrician because when I was sick, there was a pediatrician who took care of me...and made me feel better. I want to become a pediatrician because I like working with children.”

Whatever your reasons are, write them down. Write down as much as you can come up with.

Remember, this is what will motivate you.

Your reasons have to be strong enough so that you will be willing to do or, go through, ANYTHING to reach your goal.

And finally, the last step is to...

3) Read your goal(s) and your “Why(s)” often. Read them everyday. Or, every few days. And ESPECIALLY whenever you feel like you want to give up, slack off, or don't want to go on. Your “Why” will let you know the reasons you are doing what you have to do.

Let them inspire you.

Let them pull you.

Let them give you purpose.

See yourself walking down the aisle to collect your degree in medicine. See yourself wearing your “white coat” standing next to the bed of a smiling child. See, right now, the parents you will comfort and console!

You are your motivation, Ruby. If you want it, you can achieve it. It's up to you.

I have faith in you. You can finish medical school and become a doctor. Or, achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.

Write down your goal. Write down your “Why”. And read/review them often.

(Use this process for whatever it is you want in life to find motivation for.)

Good luck to you.

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

Write down your goal.
Write down your “Why”.
Read/review your goal and your "Why" often.

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Richard’s Answer

Time management is key. Between lecture, lab and studying, the first 2 years will be grueling. Make sure to leave time for yourself to exercise, eat right and even some socializing.

There will be times during 3rd and 4th year when you will be frustrated by your continued lack of skills and knowledge but just remember that there will be plenty of time to master your specialty during residency.

I take inspiration from the story of the failed Antarctic exploration by polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew as told in the book “Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.” Understanding their abity to overcome the incredible hardshps and survive teaches me that humans can accomplish anything