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The 10 Best Ways to Stay Motivated During Medical School

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by Yousmle Staff in Top 10

Burnout is a common problem many medical school students experience. This issue occurs when a student stops feeling motivated or encouraged to study and work. The anxiety and frustration that can come with one’s studies can be overwhelming, making it harder for someone to keep going. There are many measures you can use to help you stay motivated while in medical school. These moves are valuable for helping you avoid burnout while making you look forward to whatever happens next.

1. Look for whatever extracurricular activities are available at school.

Medical schools often have different clubs and groups you can join where you can enjoy activities with people who share your interests. These clubs can include athletic groups where you can compete in sporting events, or they might involve certain hobbies or activities that interest you.

Extracurricular clubs during medical school will help you feel motivated, as you’ll have time to relax and enjoy life without feeling as much of a burden to study. Relaxing in a club can also help you reduce your stress levels by focusing on other things of value.

2. Look for multiple places to study.

Medical school can be a challenging and demanding experience, but there are ways to stay motivated throughout the journey. While having a good study space is essential, don’t stick with only one spot. Staying in the same study space every time can lead to burnout, as you’ll become bored with your work.

Look for different places where you can study without being distracted. A library is a good place to study, for example. You could also find a parking space or another spot far from others to work. Any site that lets you feel comfortable and is conducive to studying helps.

3. Think about your long-term goals more than the short-term ones.

Not everyone will be perfect in medical school. Sometimes a person might fail to meet a short-term goal. When that happens, the student could dwell upon it for too long, making it harder for that someone to move forward. The lack of momentum at this point can result in the student struggling to meet one’s long-term goals.

Focus more on your long-term goals when studying. Think about why you’re in medical school, and remember that even if you fail in one short-term goal, it’s easy to recover when you focus more on your long-term plans and plan new measures to move forward. Dwelling upon a failure for a while can hurt, so looking ahead is best.

4. Keep those goals simple.

Your long-term goals are vital to your success, but you shouldn’t be too broad when coming up with those goals. You can avoid burnout by keeping those goals simple.

One idea for your goals is to use the SMART approach. A SMART goal is one that has a specific target, measurable, can be assigned, is realistic, and can work within a certain timeframe. You can use all these points when planning your goal to improve how well you can work.

5. Be more creative when studying.

Using the same study methods and note-taking measures can feel boring and repetitive after a while. While you can sort your notes by subject and include various ways of writing them down, you don’t want to stick with the same things forever.

Look for more ways to study, and add more measures as necessary. You can add mnemonics or mind maps to connect ideas, for example. Creating a diverse array of study measures will help you stay creative and stimulated, plus you may find it easier to recall some of the things you’re studying.

6. Focus on a diverse array of topics.

You can study various topics and concepts while in medical school to keep you on your feet. Instead of focusing too much on one topic, you can look at multiple concepts within your field of interest. Look at all those topics and see how they can combine into one extensive grouping of knowledge.

Be sure when using this tip to stay motivated that you keep your notes and topics organized well without keeping things too disorganized. Find a way to signify what topics you’re discussing when planning your notes, as you can keep your content organized well when you have a plan for how those notes will work.

7. Regular exercise is necessary.

While physical exercise can help you stay healthy while in medical school, it can also improve your mood and help you focus on your studies. Exercise helps reduce anxiety and stress, as it helps release brain chemicals that will elevate your mood. Instead of worrying too much about your studies, you will feel refreshed and calm when you exercise. You also won’t have to worry about how your body feels, as you’ll be more energetic and ready to take on the day.

8. Get enough sleep each night.

Burned-out medical students often struggle to sleep each night. They might spend all night studying things, or they could think about their work far too much.

You’ll stay focused and ready for work when you get enough sleep during a typical night. Stick to a consistent schedule of about seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and stick to the same sleeping habit when possible. Your mind will feel refreshed when you wake up, plus you won’t obsess over things that might not happen. You might find you recall the things you learn a little better too, as your brain will unconsciously manage the info it experiences while asleep.

9. Think about what motivated you to attend medical school.

Every med school student has a reason for wanting to attend medical school. Look at what inspired you to enter the medical field. Think about the people you will impact and how positive things will be in your life when you enter the industry.

You can stay motivated when you think about how you’re going to make a positive impact on society. You will want to keep on working so you’ll know you will get to where you want after you graduate. Look at everything that can work for you when aiming to succeed.

10. Don’t obsess over deadlines that you might not always meet.

Your last tip for staying motivated in medical school is to avoid worrying too much about deadlines. It’s often easy for students to think too much about deadlines, as it’s hard for some students to meet all of them. Students often have vast amounts of work to manage, and various tasks will have different deadlines.

Don’t worry about how you might not meet certain deadlines. You’ve got plenty of things going on in your life, and you don’t want to dwell upon one deadline over others. Be willing to keep working hard without trying to create shortcuts to meet deadlines that might not work well. It’s better to be late and perfect on something than to rush things ahead of time only to not be as effective as you would hope.

Tell us about any other measures you have for staying motivated in medical school. Leave a comment to us with your ideas on staying motivated during this challenging time in your life.

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Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.