I’m officially done with exams for the semester, and it’s a crazy feeling to know that I’ve completed half of my second year of medical school.
I thought that I would take this opportunity to reflect a little bit on the semester that passed, so I apologise in advance for a self-indulgent newsletter! Although I’m going to talk about my experiences, you might find it useful to consider the process of reflection itself, or you might find some insight in the things that I enjoyed/found difficult :)
Overall, I though this semester went extremely well! I focussed on enjoying my time and doing more extracurriculars than I had previously. I tried out new study techniques, bought an iPad, started a new job and tried filling my schedule as much as possible!
What went well?
Personally, my highlight of the semester was greatly increasing the amount I went to social events, extracurriculars and activities. Joining a university committee, playing sports, going to the gym and saying ‘yes’ to most social events meant that I was very busy throughout the semester, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found that attending these events often allowed me to make new friends, expanded my horizons and helped me feel well rounded. This sometimes came at the cost of studying last minute, but I think that it was worth it.
In addition, trying new study habits worked extremely well for me this semester. Buying an iPad was an amazing purchase (would highly recommend getting one if you’re on the fence)! Trying new studying techniques, such as prestudying, mind-mapping and combining them with Anki meant that I was able to study what I needed efficiently. I was really happy with how this went, and I think I will continue to use these techniques in semester 2, refining them as I study more.
What could’ve been better?
I think I struggled to find balance at times during this semester. I wasn’t able to maintain habits that were important to me, such as going to the gym, studying consistently, posting YouTube videos and writing this newsletter, even though I applied a lot of effort. Often, having a packed schedule meant that I had little time to study, and working took up more time than anticipated. Towards the end of the semester, I had to cram slightly to be ready for exams, which wasn’t an ideal situation.
I think I can try to find more balance next semester by focussing in on setting small goals and building habits. Instead of feeling the need to study 2 hours a day, I’ll try to study for just 30 minutes, and I’ll apply the same logic to working on YouTube. Rather than relying on motivation, I’ll try segmenting my larger goals into easier, smaller ones that I can achieve on a daily basis. I know that I really enjoyed going out, so I don’t want to sacrifice this to waste time on study that is inefficient.