Summer break is over and it’s time to get back to school! For many premeds, this time of year might be a bit daunting and worrisome. Is this the semester that you have to get a 4.0? Is this the semester you take the MCAT? Is this the semester that you are premed club president? Is this the one semester that determines whether or not you will become a medical doctor? We know you’re counting on this semester for a lot of things! Don’t freak out, just plan! Here are 5 things you absolutely must plan as the new academic year begins!
- Plan your courses wisely! This perhaps is the second most important thing to plan (the first will come later). Many premedical students begin the semester taking generic classes that their friends are taking or simply because, “they’re supposed to take those classes”. That’s a mistake. As a premedical students you need to realize that your goal is to get into medical school. Not all medical schools have the same requirements to gain admissions. In other words, you need to have a general idea of which medical schools you may want to apply to, and make sure that you are meeting their prerequisite course requirements.
- Plan your study! As the semester begins, you will have tons of distractions. A new club is popping up every week and you might be interested in taking on more leadership roles. Intramural sports, research, parties; with so much going on, it’s easy to forget why you’re even in college. Well, you’re there to learn and believe it or not, most of your learning in college comes from you and not from your professors. This being the case, you must plan your study strategy. This does not simply mean that you need to block out time in your schedule, but rather, you should sit down and really think about how you best learn, then create a strategy to maximize that throughout the semester. After you have done this, you might decide to sign up for a tutor, study in a group with friends, study in a group with classmates who may not be your friends (some students are too easily distracted when studying with friends), or study alone.
- Plan your well-being! Excelling in the premedical field is not an easy thing to do. This takes a lot of effort and taking care of your own health can easily be overlooked. Remember, your mind performs at its best when your body is at its best. Planning for your well-being includes eating right, exercising, and relaxing. These 3 things will definitely help to keep your stress level down which in turn will clear your mind.
- Plan your extracurricular activities. As mentioned in number two above, as the semester begins, you’ll be pulled in multiple directions to join various organizations and take on responsibility. When choosing which activities to take part in, you must consider 3 things: 1) what you enjoy, 2) what looks good to medical schools, 3) what can have the greatest impact. These 3 things will help you filter out the extracurricular activities that may not be right for you. Depending on your year in college, your course load, and your leadership roles, the number of extracurricular activities you should take part should vary from 1-5.
- Plan to be successful! This is the most important thing to plan for! It is strictly a thing of the mind which with enough faith, prayer, and effort, can translate into reality. You need to start the semester believing that you will do well! This means that you need to hype yourself up and prepare for that 4.0! Hype yourself up and prepare for that 528! Hype yourself up and prepare to get recruited to medical school! Believe in your mind that you can, and that you will do it! If you don’t, it’s okay, but at least start off planning for it! Remember, aim for the moon…if you miss, at least you’ll be among the stars!
The reality of fear is that most of us are only afraid when we are not prepared. We feel unprepared when we have no plan that we can believe in to lead us to success. As this academic year begins, plan your way to success. And remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail!
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