In addition to my entrepreneurial work, I am a professor at a medical school. This week a student came to my office for help creating a study schedule. Before our meeting ended, he began to cry. The following is my response to him and other students with the ambition to succeed in college.
Welcome to Spring semester 2019! I am sure you missed the university over winter break. Your life felt incomplete without 8am lectures and the anxiety that exams can nurture. I am being sarcastic.
You are off to a great start. Yesterday, you came into my office for assistance with improving study and time management strategies. Taking the initiative to get advice, before classes begin is smart.
During our meeting, we created a routine that empowers you to learn the material and perform well on exams. I hope I didn’t waste my time. The schedule we created will only work if you use it to manage your school and personal responsibilities.
Yes, I expect you to wake up every day at 5am. Your classes begin at 8. It’s important that you give yourself time to eat breakfast and study before class. Medical school is not easy. Earning a medical degree will require sacrifices. Not hitting that snooze button in the morning is one of many habits you will need to acquire.
Now, I need you to understand that waking up at 5am includes the weekends. You must go to bed on time. Most people require a minimum of seven hours sleep. There are some that can manage with six, and others need eight or more hours of rest. Discover what your body needs. Your body will thank you.
Many students arrive at medical school, become inundated with the amount of material to learn and begin to neglect their health. Exercising, getting adequate rest, and eating healthy foods become secondary to hours spent trying to understand complex systems. Take care of yourself.
Medical school is hard. To earn the letters MD behind your name, it will require at least the next five years of your life. Not tomorrow, but today, let’s get serious and focused on achieving your goals.
If you’re looking to eliminate distractions, I have a few recommendations. You can delete your social media accounts. I know several students who deleted Facebook to make more time for their studies. A life without digital friends is possible.
Before I let you go to further prepare for classes, I want to acknowledge what happened at the end of our meeting. When I asked you about your WHY or biggest source of motivation for attending medical school, you cried. You apologized over and over again. I told you it was okay to cry.
You didn’t need my permission to cry. It’s cliché, but real men do cry. As the provost said during orientation, “Understanding how to think with your heart and head can help you in your future profession.”
You cried because your reasons for attending medical school include honoring your grandfather. I listened when you talked about your childhood and the hours spent with him in his clinic. You admired how he treated patients with kindness and respect. Your grandfather’s compassion inspired you to pursue medicine. That’s a strong WHY. I get it.
The awareness of being engaged in an activity bigger than yourself is critical.
As I said in our meeting, use your grandfather’s legacy to inspire you to take the necessary actions to be successful. Write his name down at the start of every day.
The schedule we outlined is tough. Realizing the amount of work required may influence thinking that you should quit. Have faith, remember grandad, believe it is possible, make healthy lifestyle choices, and get to work.
Let’s stay in contact. After you begin classes and get into the rhythm with your schedule, come back and see me. I want to help you help yourself become more accountable along this path to earn the title of Doctor.
Originally published on author’s blog. Republished with permission.
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