My first semester of medical school was probably the most stressful with adapting to a new country and the amount of course work that I had. But by now, I have routine so its a lot less stressful trying to balance everything.
I’m sure that most schools differ in when they schedule their classes and labs but all medical students generally take the same classes so that we can be prepared for Step 1 of the USMLE and ultimately be ready to treat our patients.
With this being said, my day usually starts early at 5:30am on weekdays. I start to get ready for classes, pack my lunch, drink my tea, mentally prepare for the day, and head to campus. I usually get to campus right at 7:30am and I study for an hour or so then I eat breakfast right before my 9:30am class or lab. On weekends, I wake up at 7:30am and start studying at 9:30am.
My first lecture or lab (depending on the day) starts at 9:30am everyday until about 11:20am. We get a 10 minute break halfway through the lecture for a quick snack or restroom break. After this lecture/lab, I get an hour break for lunch. During this hour, I usually eat lunch, call my mom, and go over flashcards before my next lecture if I have time. We also have a farmer who comes to our campus to sell fresh fruits and veggies so I make sure I visit them when they come once a week.
My second lecture is from 12:30pm until 2:30pm and afterward I stay on campus until about 3:45pm either to go to office hours or just wait for the school bus. Because I attend school at a Caribbean medical school, transportation is provided to the students at my university and the majority of us don’t have cars because 1. we can’t afford to have one or 2. we don’t feel comfortable with driving in a foreign country because of our lack of experience driving here. While I’m waiting for the school bus, I usually study my flashcards.
On my way home, I’m usually flipping through my Quizlet flashcards. I love Quizlet so much because I can access any of my flashcard decks on the go. I also flip through these cards as I’m waiting for the bus in the mornings before school. I get home at about 4:00-4:15 everyday. I sit down to study for about 1 and 1/2 hour then I give myself 45 minutes to eat dinner, meal prep, and clean up a little bit. Then I study from 7-9:30 and I work out from 9:30-10 on some days. I wish I could give myself more time to exercise but because of the demands of med school, I can’t. After I workout for a little bit, I shower and get in bed and continue studying.
My schedule differs day to day but is consistent every week, if that makes sense. For instance, I grocery shop once a week, either on Wednesday or Thursday but I have an allotted time for grocery shopping. I do my laundry once a week as well on the weekend and I do the majority of meal prepping with the exception of salads on the weekend. I’m grateful for the weekend because that’s when I get everything organized for the week in terms of my personal life and academics. The weekend also gives me a lot more time to catch up on school work. Yay!
With my experience, I’ve learned t’s all about balance in medical school. I’m the type of person who plans her meals ahead of time and makes lists for every little thing but I can honestly say that that has helped me maintain my sanity because it can all get so overwhelming so fast. My routine isn’t really set in stone and flexible because it’s important to realize that there are unforeseen circumstances that arise every once in a while. With that being said, I like to try to get ahead as often as possible with school work because in case something happens that throws me off of the schedule, I’ll know that I’m not really too far behind.
I keep mentioning my flashcards because that is the study method that works the best for me. Flashcards and drawing diagrams are what I usually do to help retain the information and Quizlet has helped me so much with this.
I hope this post gave some of you guys some insight on what a day in the 2nd year of medical school is like. If you have any questions, get in touch (: