Justin, MS1

Baylor College of Medicine
WashU St. Louis, B.S. Cognitive Neuroscience
From Houston, Texas
Age 23

What does your typical day of medical school look like?

Four 50-minute lectures from 8-12, then afternoon classes from 1-4, then review anki and any other things to do

How do your classes and lectures compare to those at your undergraduate institution?

Studying is completely different from undergrad because in college the concepts were loftier and more dense. In med school, the difficulty lies mainly in the amount of information and the pace of which it’s delivered. As such, you have to study every day and review often/daily or else you’ll get behind and stressed out by exam week. Doing a bit most every day makes sure you aren’t as stressed out later.

How has your approach to learning and/or studying changed since you were an undergrad?

Anki is the best way to review daily, but our school has student-made decks which we use for lecture class materials.

How would you describe the student culture at your school? Are there special events or activities that you consider very representative of the culture at your institution? What influence has this culture had on your experience in medical school thus far?

While gunners exist, they don’t actively undermine other students. We are very collaborative and love to relax on the weekends or at the end of the terms. Block parties are the best parts of any term. I love my classmates because they work hard but aren’t too hard on themselves.

Can you give us a brief description of the area surrounding your school and the things you do for fun? What are some things you like and dislike about the city/town you are located in as a student?

We’re located in the biggest medical center in the world, so it is very urban and busy. I like the hustle and bustle, but I would like more green spaces. Luckily, it is adjacent to a park/zoo/Rice so there’s green space nearby.

What would you consider strengths of your medical school?

The older students really look out for the younger ones with resources, tips, and advice. The professors are truly experts in their field. The proven step scores are evidence of the teaching quality. The low tuition is amazing. Being in the medical center is one of the best opportunities to grow as a student.

What resources have been most useful to you in self-learning medical school material or in expanding on material taught in class? Can you briefly describe how you have incorporated them into your learning routine?

Anki of the lectures. I go through the 4 daily lectures, then do review cards – as much as I can each day.

How much/well have you been able to develop clinical skills alongside your classroom work first and second year? What does your institution do to help you develop clinical skills before the clinical years?

We have an entire class dedicated to clinical skills where we take quizzes, do standardized patient exams, and have a preceptor in a local hospital where we interact with patients.

What is one thing you would do differently if you could go back to your undergraduate years or the time between undergrad and medical school?

I would not have done basic science research the summer before and instead just done nothing.

Given the number of obstacles we face en route to a career in medicine, everyone at some point feels doubtful of themselves. How has this affected you and what has helped you persevere through these sorts of feelings?

I need family and friends to stay mentally sane, which luckily I have at this school.

How do you maintain your mental health while balancing school, work, family, and other social obligations?

Take breaks and know when too much studying is too much. Learning when to take a break is crucial.

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