From medical student to resident - learn what life is like after medical school as a pediatrics resident, who is embracing autonomy, teaching, and...
Day in the Life of a Medical Student
Curious what a day in the life of a medical student is like? Let this student take you through his day as a medical student.
Being a medical student at times can seem like a scene out of Groundhog Day; unfortunately, Bill Murray isn’t there, but the rest is much the same. One day melts into the next. The days are long but the years are short, so they say. It might sound like a typical day in the life of a medical student. But is it really as mundane as I’m making it sound? Not in the slightest. Each day brings a new opportunity, a new objective, and a renewed sense of optimism. Let me show you what I mean.
I wake up in the morning, most days of the week at 6:30am. Lecture begins at 8am and I love to get a hearty breakfast before the long day ahead. I arrive at class in my business casual (polo and slacks) at 7:45am and am greeted by the familiar welcoming faces of our faculty. I find my group of friends and we catch up on whatever transpired over the weekend. Medical school is a social activity at its roots.
Lecture begins promptly at 8am. Today we learned about EKGs, something that previously seemed like alien handwriting. Suddenly, as the professor explains rate, rhythm, and axis, things begin to translate. I feel a deep sense of accomplishment as I realize even the most foreign concepts are graspable if you get the right person to explain them.
Following two hours’ worth of lecture, we progress to our small group discussions. Here we read about a hypothetical patient and their condition and discuss in a group of 8 (led by a faculty member) how we would treat this patient as well as how their condition may have been prevented. We also discuss the physiology of the disease and how future treatments may seek to combat it. This is among my favorite medical school activities, as I get to converse with friends as we all teach each other important concepts. Collaboration is key in the field of medicine, and these small-group settings foster this.
Following our group discussion, it’s time for a lunch break. I heat up the chicken and rice I packaged for myself the night before and find a comfortable place to eat in the lobby. I like to eat here because there is a lot of natural light and I enjoy conversing with whoever walks past. I am joined by some friends and we relax, knowing that we only have an hour before it’s time to work again.
1:00pm rolls around and it’s time to put on my white coat. This simple item signifies a lifetime worth of work leading up to this point. It conveys respect for others and compassion for the field of medicine. We are wearing our white coats this afternoon because we have a clinical skills session. Here we encounter a simulated patient (a volunteer who is instructed to act as a patient) and practice our history taking and physical exam skills under the guidance of a faculty member. We learn one of the most important concepts of medicine during these sessions: listening. Your patient tells you the story of the disease. All you have to do is pay attention and ask the right questions.
Following clinical skills, we are released for the day. I grab a snack, and settle down in the library. It’s time to watch review videos and do flashcards. This is where the magic happens. Independent study time is where all the concepts from the morning lectures are solidified and I am able to practice my knowledge with flashcards and practice questions.
Following a couple hours of studying, I head over to the gym for a quick workout. We are fortunate enough at our medical school that the gym is a quick walk away. I hit a quick workout, go for a jog, and head home to shower and eat dinner. Following a good meal, I brush my teeth, and head to bed. It has been a successful day, and I rest easy at night, knowing tomorrow will come soon enough and it’ll be time to do it all over again. I would not trade it for anything in the world. Being a medical student is an experience only few get to live, and I know it will go fast. Cherish every moment!