Medical school is stressful; there is no way around this blatant fact. You had the college thing perfected, otherwise you would not have gotten into medical school. Then 50% of you find yourself somewhere you have never been… below average in your classes. In addition to class, life happens and your time stretches even thinner at a time when you feel like you could use a clone. You may live a $200 plane ride away from family and friends and struggle to relate and keep in touch. When many people around you in your eyes are effortlessly excelling, it is hard not to feel like a failure. This can make you feel isolated and question whether you belong in medical school or should even become a doctor.
I have experienced many of these feelings during my time in medical school. However, I have learned some valuable lessons that have helped me overcome many challenges along the way that are now hills in the background of my path to becoming a doctor. The most important lesson I have learned is to reach out when you need help. When I was studying for the USMLE Step 1, despite studying 14 hours per day, I was not where I wanted to be midway through. I called several close friends in a slight panic and sent the medical school’s academic success adviser an email literally entitled ‘HELP!!!’ I worked with a tutor from the medical school and several friends for the rest of the study period, and with the support of the medical school I moved my test date back. When it came to test day, I was prepared, confident, and knew I did everything I could to earn the score I wanted.
As I have alluded to, I find that Mayo Medical School provides great support services to students and values student wellness. I have had the opportunity to serve on the Student Life and Wellness Committee for three years and am very excited about the work we have accomplished. Two of our most recent initiatives to help students include SIWA (Student Initiated Wellness Activities) and My Story. Through SIWA, we provide grants to students interested in spearheading wellness activities for fellow students. Grants we have had the opportunity to fund range from dragon boating to birthday baking. ‘My Story’ is a monthly series where medical students and physicians share challenges from their training and how they have overcome these challenges.
As the current second year students start their study time for Step 1, it is important to remember that you are not alone and to reach out if you need help no matter where you are in your medical training. Also, remember that a score does not define who are as a person or doctor and that ten years from now, no one will care what you scored.
Leah is a third year Mayo Medical student and native Minnesotan. She is interested in Neurology, Internal Medicine, and Psychiatry, especially where these fields overlap. She loves living in Rochester with her boyfriend, Daniel, and cat, Tucker, and cooking beef stroganoff and hotdish.
Tags: Mayo Clinic, Mayo Medical School, Mayo Medical School Blog, Medical School, Medical Student Blog, Medical Students, Meet Mayo Med, Mental Health, Step 1, Stress, Stress Relief, Student Life, Student Wellness, Uncategorized, USMLE, USMLE Step 1, Wellness