Notes to a 1st Year

Written by the members of the Owl Wellness Liason group at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

“First year is a big adjustment, no matter if you came right out of college or have been out of school for 5 years. To help deal with the stress, make time to do something for yourself everyday. Whether it be exercising, watching a TV show, or another hobby, specifically schedule it in your day (and don’t just say you’ll do it when you get done your studying!)”

-Alex Pandelidis Class 2018, Marks College

“The best investment I made in med school was a pair of imaginary blinders.  Once you find a study strategy and daily routine that works for you, put on those blinders and just do your own thing.  I spent a lot of M1 needlessly worrying about how my study methods compared to those of my peers.  You’ll be a lot happier (and saner!) if you learn to just do you while in med school.

One of the best ways I learned to deal with the stressors of M1 was to keep in touch with friends and family OUTSIDE of med school.  Spending all day in MERB talking to your classmates about an upcoming exam can magnify your anxiety and give you a skewed perspective on life in general.  Whenever I felt myself getting trapped in the med school “bubble”, I would call a friend or relative to talk about things completely unrelated to rate-limiting enzymes and the histology of the male reproductive tract.  This helped me stay sane through the waves of stressful situations that I encountered throughout M1.”

-Peter Schartel Class of 2019, Babcock College

“My wellness advice for first year medical students would be to stay balanced and manage your time well. The administration really does their best to give you schedules ahead of time and accommodate requests made in advance. This allows you to continue to make time for the activities and people you love while honoring your academic commitments. Happy people make better doctors, so as difficult as it may be at times you need to make time for yourself!”

Kaitlin Healy, Class of 2018, Sherry College

“You know how they say med school is like drinking from a fire hose? Well I always saw it like you have to eat 5 pancakes per day, every day. 5 pancakes aren’t so bad right? Well two weeks in, you can’t eat pancakes anymore. The day after that, you have 10 pancakes to make up for the previous day. Now you have to skip your other meal to eat twice the amount of pancakes. And at this point you’re just completely sick of pancakes and can’t eat anything sweet.

Uhm, I think I got lost in that metaphor. Anyway, the material being thrown at you is completely manageable. If you let things build up, that’s when it gets overwhelming. Time management is the biggest key, and I wish I’d known that much earlier. Listen to what Alex said above. School gets its time, but you also get your time to destress, and both of those can remain priorities when you strike that balance with managing your time. My personal recommendation is to hit the gym every day, since it also helps burn off those pancakes!”

George GadOWLa, Class of 2019, Marks College

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