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What is social life like during premed and medical school?

What are your experiences going into medicine? I've been watching a lot of youtube videos lately, and everyone that I've watched so far spends practically the whole day studying. Is medical school actually non stop studying? I do understand that medical school is hard, but there has to be some balance between free time and study time. Watching these videos are getting me nervous... medical-school medicine doctor college pre-med

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Khushi’s Answer

Hi Athena!

Everyone has a different experience when going through medical school and people may priorities different things over others. Youtube videos can be a great resource but don't get nervous watching medical school vlogs as everyone is different! While medical school involves a lot of studying its important as a student to find that work-life balance to avoid burn out!

As a dental student the student life is really similar to medical students and I can say that the hardest thing at first is finding the way to study that suits you best and it can be really hard to find this with lots of trial and error involved!

Also, time management and organisation are key! When you can plan your day you'll find that you study more efficiently leaving more free time on your hands and from that you can plan things with friends. Planning out each week is something I do and as a current student it helps so much as I know exactly when is 'uni time' and when is 'social time'.

Finally, you're not alone! Everyone will be going through the same things and its all about adjusting to medical student life. Balancing study with social life can be tricky but I can assure you that as a medical student you do still have a social life, its just about finding how to!

Hope this helps and good luck :)

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Lindsay’s Answer

Hi Athena,

Watching videos is great, but keep in mind that everyone has different priorities going into medical school. Seeing people on Youtube study all day doesn't mean that you have to do the same! They probably have different study habits and prioritize studying and grades over other parts of medical school! If you can time manage, it's definitely possible to have a social life outside of medical school. That being said, it still is a lot of work and a lot of studying. It's really up to you to find what study methods work best and see how much studying is required for you to succeed! It's all about time management. For some people, medicine comes a lot easier. I have a friend in medical school who only socializes and has fun on the weekends, and one who goes to dinners with friends every other night. Everyone's experience is different. It's the same for pre-med students (I used to be one!) One of my friends only studied and would stay on campus from 6 am to 10 pm just to study. On the other hand, I chose to only study a little everyday and am still planning on pursuing medicine after dental school. Everyone's journeys are different before and during medical school, so try not to adhere to what you see online. (: What works for them may not work for you. If you think the medical path is for you, you'll do well!

Thank you so much for this response. Athena R.

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Mo’s Answer

Hi Athena -

As someone who has been through medical school, I can say that studying is something that you do a lot. That being said, there is plenty of time for personal or social endeavors. Different schools will do it differently, but it all comes down to time management. Medical school is as much about self-learning as it is about the school itself giving you material to study. It has become prevalent for medical schools to have optional classes to attend during the didactics years (lecture-based learning, if you will) - but outside of required activities like labs, etc - the rest of the day's time is yours to do as you will. If you choose to study the entire rest of the day, you can. If you choose to study an hour and go do something else (research, community service, gym, hang out with friends, etc), then you can do that too. From my personal experience, I had much more time to spare outside of studying in medical school than I did in college. The amount to study is going to be endless, but you also have to give yourself "off-time" so that you don't burn out. During clinical years, it is going to be even more challenging to study because you have to go into clinic/the hospital wards which don't necessarily have designated work hours AND study on top of that. I'm not going to lie - it is hard to keep a work-life balance during some clerkships, but that is the honest reality of medical training - especially considering residency.

All in all - it is hugely about time management. Medicine is a very time-intensive, length journey - but it is worth it if you are really passionate about what you're doing.

Thank you for your answer! Athena R.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Athena ! I think studying is very important, I speak from experience as a premed and as a sibling of two students who complete medical school and they study a lot! There is a lot of information to take in and one should really study almost every day to make sure they can keep up. I do think that some students can have an easier time than others but regardless each student must use their time valuable to do well. I read something once about not studying to pass the class but saving the patient and I think it's a pretty strong saying. When you are studying, you must remember it is to help your patient in the end as all that information will be required at one point to make decisive and helpful diagnoses and decisions. However, social life is still present as well, especially during breaks; when my siblings were on semester break we would do many fun things and it's still a good way to see your friends and spare some time to do the things you love. If you have a hobby for example, like playing an instrument you should still continue in medical school. It may not be everyday you get to do it, especially if you did before medical school, but maybe once or twice a week. I think having balance is also important so definitely study but remember to check in with your loved ones and find time for things you love even if it's just reading for 15 minutes everyday or a phone call to your best friend or family member once a week!

I hope this helps! Best of luck!

Thank you so much for this answer! What you said about studying to save lives is very motivating. Athena R.

You're welcome! Yasemin G.

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Athena,
I completely understand your worries and I think it's best to keep in mind that different people have different studying habits. In medical school, some people study heavily to be considered as competitive if they want to enter competitive specialties like surgery or dermatology and others might not study as much because they aren't interested in those specialties. It also depends on what medical school you go to. Some medical institutions focus more on clinical experience rather than classroom time, which leaves some students with more time for a social life. The same can be said about undergrad/the premed track. Some universities have prerequisites that are relatively manageable while others have an extremely rigorous classes for the pre-med track. It really just depends on the location and the specialty you're going after. Hope this helped!

Thank you for answering my question! Athena R.