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10 Good Habits of a Medical Student

Every medical student has their own habits and routines. Here are some common good habits of medical students. But lets be real, not everyone does all these things. This list is not exhaustive and is only meant to inspire you to adapt some new habits that could make a difference in your routine. 

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Early Risers

They say early risers catch the most worms. Well for medical students waking up early really helps to reduce the amount of late nights, allowing them to get more done in the day. While not everyone works optimally in the morning, on days when there isn't enough hours in the day to get everything done (often), medical students opt for early wake up times. Now, to offset early rising going to bed early is important to get enough sleep. If you're not someone who like mornings then this is not a habit for you and you shouldn't feel bad for doing what works for you. However, if you feel like you're doing late nights and can barely handle the long days, try this one out.


Scheduling Everything

A common analogy medical students use is that learning in medical is like drinking out of a fire hose. In other words, there is so much information to learn that you feel like you're drowning. While there are many ways that students keep track of everything they have to do, some busy medical students opt for scheduling everything. We mean everything from meal times, grocery shopping times, to phone calls, to study time, to break times to exams and class time. Either way writing down everything they have to do is how many medical students cope with the demands. Start out with using your favorite calendar app or creating a task list, whatever it is, it is you can decrease alot of anxiety by simply writing it down. 



Spend Time on Personal Interests

 Personal growth and development should be just as important as academic success. Many medical students find time to pursue personal interests like fitness, photography, blogging, painting, reading or even watching movies or videos. Whatever it is spending a self determined amount of time daily or weekly to pursue a personal interest is a good habit of medical students. While, most students do find this difficult to do, doing it once a week vs not at all can be the difference between burn out or pulling through the last stretch in the semester. 


Dedicate Time for Family& Friends

We've all have those times where we come up to breathe after being all in on a project or are going through a bout of isolation only to realize that we haven't spoken to our loved ones in weeks. That's okay I'm sure they understand, but we don't want to completely lose those connections to the outside world. Many students find it easier to have dedicated times weekly where family members have a open window to call or they simply set up reminders on their calendar to reach out. Either way, it is possible to keep connected if this is a priority for you. 

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Dedicate time for socializing/ networking

Studying can be highly isolating, so many medical students dedicate time to hanging out with their friends or going to networking events to stay connected to their community. Whether its a post exam karaoke sessions or a mixer, socializing is vital for creating social capital and maintaining a support system.


Meet with a counselor

Reducing the statistics of medical professional death by suicide requires the reduction in the stigma that counseling is only for those going through difficulties. A good habit some medical students utilize is incorporating time to visit a counselor even when nothing is wrong at the moment. Counselors can give students the tools while they're well so that they can cope when things get tough. 

Image by Priscilla Du Preez
Healthy Eating


Eating Healthy

Lets be real, eating healthy is hard. Medical students find it even harder especially as students who spend long hours studying. They usually dread having to spend lots of time in the kitchen because it's lost time studying in an already short day. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions to eating healthy and medical students can start to practice what they preach early in their career. From meal delivery companies, to meal prep, throwing a few things in an air fryer or rice cooker, or simply choosing the health alternatives at their local fast food spot, eating healthy is something medical student try to do. But cut them some slack. They're humans just like everyone else. 


Volunteer in the Community

Luckily, volunteering doesn’t stop after you get into medical school. Many students are still staying connected to their community through volunteering. Without the pressure of having to prove themselves to be worthy of medical school, medical students can be actively involved in causes that matter to them.

Food Donation Volunteers
Image by Roman Kraft


Stay connected to current events

Whether medical or non-medical, staying connected to the happenings of the world would help to make a well rounded student. The medical school bubble can insulate students from the outside world, but many students still find ways to stay connected. For medical related news students get updates through newsletters,  journals, or webinars. For world news, they get info by the usual means. But a habit that many students maintain is spending at least a few minutes in the day or even weekly to check their preferred new source. 


Study A Little Every Day

Study a little every day. Rather, study a little of each subject every day. It may be self explanatory, but with so much to do, the trap that many medical students can fall into is the idea that "I'm just going to get this all done now so I can move on." The problem with this is that the more time you spend on one thing the more time you lose in advancing another item. But if you work on them both with dedicated time for each thing every day, you can actually make more progress on both things simultaneously. This habit is the basis behind the process of interleaving. Check out this blog post to learn more about how to implement this technique in your studying. 

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