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Medical School Actually Isn’t Very Hard

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One Doc’s Take On The Real Culprit for Struggling Med Students

This article is the fifth in a series by Dr. MJ, a graduate of an eastern US allopathic medical school who worked closely with STATMed Learning. Here, she shares her personal struggles and the steps she took to succeed in med school. This series aims to give a voice to what it’s like to struggle in med school and help share strategies to rebuild your self-esteem and regain your equilibrium. 

Medical school isn’t actually very hard.

Yes, I really wrote that in a series about struggling in medical school. But before you start throwing things at your screen, let me explain. I mean that much of the material presented in medical school is not that difficult to understand. For example, anatomy is conceptually relatively simple. Most of the tenants of pathology, in my opinion, were quite straightforward.

So what makes medical school such a challenge? 

It’s the volume. 

Struggling in Medical School: Volume Vs. Content 

I’ve heard that in med school, instead of drinking from the fountain of knowledge, you are blasted by the fire hydrant of knowledge. Some days (maybe most days), I felt that was a bit of an understatement.  At the start of my first year, I printed out everything that I needed for the first exam and promptly had a panic attack. The amount of material for one exam was probably more information than I ever received in an entire semester of undergrad. I had no idea how I would keep all these facts in my brain, let alone keep them organized there. I remember telling my parents that I wasn’t having trouble with the concepts and didn’t need someone to explain the material. What I needed was someone to explain how to keep all these facts in my brain. 

Until I found STATMed Learning, no one knew how to help me in that way. But the program taught me how to not only retain large amounts of material but how to keep it organized. Having a way to keep the material mentally organized was crucial for me. So many test questions ask you to differentiate one disease, drug, or organism from another. Through the STATMed Class, the organization system that I created in my brain made it much easier for me to get those questions right on exams and on my boards.  

So when you are at the fire hydrant of knowledge, you can let it knock you down, or you can use a system to control it. I can say that my life was much better when I was the one in control. 

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