The intricacies of medical science, the demands of patient care, and the pursuit of academic excellence in grad school all converge to create a formidable challenge. But no person is an island—especially medical students. In med school, you need to work well with others to succeed and learn at your best. Sharing knowledge, supporting each other, and learning from diverse perspectives will make you a better health professional—and recognizing the profound importance of collaboration within the field will set the stage for a truly transformative educational experience.
As a medical student, you can learn from other students, establish good relationships with mentors, and get involved in the community, all while teaching others and exploring your career options. Let's expound on each of these practical tips to help you network, be an active participant in academic collaboration, and build great relationships at the beginning of your health care career.
Learn from your peers
There’s no denying that medical school is hard—in fact, not all students graduate on time or even pursue the medical profession after earning their degree. As mentioned in the first part of this series, up to 35% of medical students are bound to fail, to put it bluntly, so you must establish a support system if you don’t want to be a part of this statistic. Aside from your family and closest friends, seek guidance and connections with your classmates. You and your peers will have similar experiences, and you’ll benefit from studying together, sharing medical notes, and becoming each other’s support system. You can learn from each other and promote a culture of teamwork and camaraderie in which you all contribute to a collaborative learning experience.
Build good relationships with mentors
Your primary source of health information will come from your professors and mentors. There are a bunch of great teachers in the medical field who are eager to share their knowledge and skills. So it’s best to establish great relationships with your professors (and maintain them even after you’ve finished their course). Don’t do this simply with the intention to get good grades; you need to build real connections to learn from them and earn the wisdom you’re seeking. Utilize them as inspiration for your future care, and they can help you rise above your challenges in medical school.
Get involved in medical services
When you’re in med school, you’ll pursue internships that will expose you to what doctors, nurses, and other health professionals do on a regular basis. You’ll get to observe how they work in real medical settings—a great way to stay active and succeed as a medical student! In most cases, medical students go on community immersion and provide free medical services in remote areas. Not only are these enriching educational experiences, but they are also fulfilling for aspiring health professionals. So you should be making the most of them!
Teach others or apply what you’ve learned
They say the best way to learn is to teach what you’ve learned, and this certainly applies here. Of course, you won’t be able to perform official medical exams and procedures since you don’t have a license yet. However, you can share health knowledge and best practices with your family and friends. For example, if someone gets sick in your household, you can diagnose and suggest over-the-counter (OTC) medication options to help them get better. Should there be an emergency, you know how to perform basic first aid. Even teaching others about promoting health and well-being can boost your learning and help you succeed academically.
Explore your medical career options
It’s never too early to start exploring your medical career options for after graduation. You can do this by building your network of health professionals. Aside from collaborating with other students and professors, you’ll have opportunities to work with nurses, doctors, and various health professionals during your internships. Be sure to find time to establish good relationships with these people and learn about the different roles they fill. Not only will they help you learn and grow as a medical student, but they can also give you referrals and recommendations for where you could end up once your degree is in hand.
Med schools are thriving since health science programs have become more in demand and competitive. However, getting accepted to and graduating from grad school isn't a walk in the park. As a medical student, you must strive hard and actively participate in your education to succeed. As such, consider all the practical tips highlighted in these guides, from fostering your physical and mental health to succeeding in your classes to collaborating with others. Developing these best practices will put you on your way to success in your future medical career. Ultimately, you'll become an accomplished health professional responsible for treating patients and saving lives!
Reading this series to prep for med student life? Learn even more with all the articles and advice under our “medical school” tag!