Advice if you’re a fresher medic student

Now, I don’t study medicine but I know plenty of people who do. It’s fair to say that it’s a completely different ball game to your typical degree. There are many early starts, long hours and tough days ahead. Yet no one fits the ‘work hard play harder’ motto quite like the medics. They demonstrate that you can put in the work and still have an enjoyable social life, if you manage your time efficiently. I asked a load of medic graduates and students from various universities what they would tell their Fresher selves with hindsight. This is what they had to say:

“Don’t get smashed the night before dissection class. The mixture of guts and the nose tingling smell of formaldehyde will cause you to vomit, faint or perhaps both. Years later you may be an amazing doctor, but the rest of us will continue to remember you as vomiting Veronica.” – Graduate

“Medics tend to have their own ecosystem. You will not only work together, but will probably live and party with your course mates for the next five years. Five years is a long time so don’t shit on your own doorstep. It seems like a good idea at the time but you will only realise its a mistake afterwards.” -Final year student

“Nurses can be very hard on medical students…. They will ride you up and down the ward. Make sure you respect them. When shit hits the fan, it’s often the senior nurses that will come to a junior doctor’s rescue.” – Graduate

“Yes girls do like doctors… but that doesn’t mean you can wear your stethoscope to the students union…” – 2nd year student

“I’d definitely say that you should join some non medic related societies during your time at university. It’s a great way to meet people doing other courses so that you have a life outside of medicine. Our course is stressful so you need to make sure to put time aside to relax and have fun. If you’re into sports though, it can be very difficult to commit to one of the university teams so look out for medic sports clubs as they understand that you may not be able to attend practice due to course commitments.” – 3rd year student.

“Try not to end up in A&E during your time at university. The sheer irony of it will mean that you will be remembered as the medic who learned more visiting the hospital as a patient. Having said that, if you do break your leg for example, ask the doctors a lot of questions. They will pick up on the fact that you’re a medic and will probably laugh…” -3rd year student.

“Whatever you do, learn your anatomy early on! Trust me, knowing that is half the battle.” -4th year student

“Make sure you turn up immaculately dressed to clinics and placements. You will have a right telling off and it will probably be in front of your peers.” -final year student

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