How can I make myself care enough about my undergrad classes (chem, ochem, physics, bio, etc.) to do well in them so that I get into medical school? Right now I’m having trouble getting motivated enough to study them. –amputatedwings
Motivation is a hard thing to find. You can’t just create it out of thin air. It’s something you have to continually work on to be able to keep it.
Before I get into how to grow and maintain motivation, let me strike down some misconceptions.
Ok, so where do we get motivation from?
Well, I guess I’d have to say that when life gets hard (as it currently is), I have to remember my purpose. That purpose is my motivating factor. I know that I have been put in this profession for a reason, and that God will get me through the tough times. I have to remind myself that I do these things for God first, then for myself and my patients. That really helps, because there are MANY times when I don’t want to keep pushing for my sake or my patients’ sakes. But I know that if I’m pleasing God, he’ll get me through.
Do you have any tips on improving studying endurance? -anon
Advice for getting over procrastination? Thanks! Love your blog!!! :D -anon
I put these 2 questions together because I feel they address pretty much the same issue.
For improving endurance: start small and build as you go. I was a big fan of breaking down my reading into small bites (literally like 5 page bites) that I could mark off. Ticking things off a to-do list—even tiny things—kept me on track. And after doing so many pages, it didn’t feel like a huge undertaking to just do 5 more pages.
A counter-intuitive strategy to help with study endurance is to schedule frequent breaks. I’m talking things like 50 minutes on, 10 off or something like that. That way you focus more during the 50 minutes because you know you get a 10 minute break soon. If every 50 minutes is too often, go 2 hours on, 15 minutes off or something like that. I was also a big fan of just setting goals for the day—like 75 pages or something—and I couldn’t do the fun stuff like go out to eat with a friend or watch tv with the roomie until I was done. That improves endurance and efficiency.
Transitioning from college to med school studying really wasn’t that hard because the prospect of failing medical school and owing basquillions of dollars to the government pretty well keeps you motivated to study hard.
In the first couple of weeks of medical school, I was motivated by pure fear:
these were huge motivators in that first block.
Then, once you pass the first test you realize that all that work was totally necessary, and when you’ve gotten through it once, it’s slightly easier to do it all over again.
Of course, picking up the pace and doing study marathons EVERY DAY for 2 years is hard to adjust to, but you get through it.
Hi. I’m really struggling with studying for USMLE Step 1. I know all the generic advice. I basically have zero fun or moral support, and lots of pressure. Correction - there are a few random people who I have never met in my life - either through gtalk/forums… but that hasn’t helped me in any way whatsoever. I hope this isnt inappropriate or out of place in any way. To avoid rambling that could be off-putting, can you give any suggestions to peak motivation and focus? I think I’m losing it. -doctumbl
First, on the pressures of med school life: having internet buddies is great (I have plenty, for sure), but they are no substitute for good, supportive, in-the-flesh friends. Are there any fellow classmates / upperclassmen / professors you can vent to? (If not, you can always Skype me @ WayfaringMD).
On motivation and focus: the best thing for me was to set short term goals. Find something fun and stress releasing you want to do every day during your step 1 study. It can be exercise, sports, tumbling, going to the movies, going out to dinner, etc. Set a goal of X amount of material (reasonable amounts, of course) you need to cover before you can go do that fun thing. You’re stressed out, of course, and you really want to go have fun, so that will motivate you to stick to your studies and get your work done.
If a goal for the end of the day is not enough, set even shorter goals. For example:
- I’m going to get through 20 pages of First Aid by lunch and then I’m going to make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever made and eat it outside
- I’m going to do 100 World questions and then call my best buddy (make sure you schedule phone dates if your friend is also studying!)
- Just 5 more pages and I’ll have a 5 minute dance party
latestartpremed replied to your post: Weird question, but if I’m still in high school, and I’m not exactly the best student (pretty scary in a bad way GPA although I’m trying to bring it up T_T, not the best SAT scores), what advice would you give them if they wanted to become someone in the medical field and wanted to start now? :c
Hebrews 12:11. It always helps motivate me.Thanks for that! I was actually trying to remember that verse a while ago and couldn’t find it, so now I’ll remember it!