If you’re one of the lucky students who has recently been accepted into medical school, give yourself some well-deserved recognition for all the hard work that led you to this moment! Chances are you’re also wondering how to prepare for medical school once accepted.
Most doctors and med students recommend against hitting the textbooks prior to your arrival on campus. Everything you need to learn for med school will be taught in med school. But in the time leading up to your first semester, you can get yourself organized in other ways. Here are the top five things to do before starting medical school so that you’re ready to hit the ground running on Day 1.
Read All of the Materials Your School Sends You
It might sound obvious, but one of the most important things to do before starting medical school is to read every email and piece of paperwork you receive from your school of admission. Otherwise, you could miss essential information about the academic calendar, requests for additional materials required for admission, and information about your coursework. If you fail to read the materials sent by your school, you could miss an important deadline and forfeit your spot as a student.
Keep Track of Admissions Requirements
After gaining admission you may be wondering what to do after being accepted to medical school. Medical school admission is contingent on your meeting all admissions requirements, so double-check that you’ve completed these. Admission is also contingent on your compliance with school policies, and any violation of these policies (such as a D.U.I.) prior to your arrival could result in your acceptance being revoked. If you do violate school policy prior to your arrival, always report the violation to the school, as trying to hide the incident could result in a revocation of your admission.
Organize Your Budget
Staying on top of a budget also goes under the category of vital things to know before medical school. Med school costs money, even when you’ve secured student loans or scholarships. But worrying about the cost of med school after you’ve committed to going will only distract you from the task at hand: to become the best medical doctor you can be. Take the time to plan a monthly budget prior to your arrival on campus so that you can spend less time worrying about finances and stay focused on your studies. Consider your weekly cost of living. How much do you typically spend on groceries? How often do you plan to go out to eat? Are there must-have self-care items that you typically buy every month?
If you are planning to receive financial aid from your institution, you should already be versed in your school’s financial aid resources prior to admission so that you know all about your loan options, the acceptance process, and key dates.
Understand Your Learning Style
When it comes to what to do before medical school, understanding your learning style is a good thing to do. If you’ve been accepted into med school, you’ve obviously had academic success and likely know how to keep good study habits. But med school will challenge you in new ways. Prior to arriving on campus, spend time thinking about your study strategies and how they have served you so far. Where/when you are best able to study? Are you an auditory or visual learner, or do things stick in your brain best when you read? You can also get more resources from the Academy for Teaching and Learning, which will be available to you throughout your time at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM).
Build (or Maintain) Healthy Habits
You’re about to be busier than at any point in your life. Once you’re in the thick of med school, it will be easy to convince yourself that you need to skip the gym, do another night of takeout, or stay up all night studying. But keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy is essential to your success in medical school.
When you begin your first semester at RUSM, you will need to acclimate to many changes at once—new environment, new schedule, new people—so it’s best to build healthy habits before arriving so that you can feel a sense of familiarity and routine from the start. So, what to do before medical school starts to help form good habits? Make time to exercise every day, and try your hand at cooking your own meals. If you’re not a wizard in the kitchen, research simple recipes that you enjoy eating so that you can put them to use while at RUSM.
The image of the sleepless med student studying round the clock is one you should work to avoid. It can be hard to turn off your brain when you’re stimulated by so much new information, but getting adequate sleep is essential for mental alertness. If you typically have trouble shutting down at night, work on your sleep hygiene before starting med school. Try adding meditation or an evening walk to your daily routine, and be sure to get enough exercise every day.
Possibly the most important thing to do before starting medical school? Relax! Have fun with friends, and schedule some downtime prior to your arrival so that you’re fully charged and ready to get to work.
Want to learn more about what to expect as a first-year student at RUSM? Start here.