First and foremost, CONGRATS on achieving such an amazing milestone in your journey! I am sure it was not easy, but you secured that acceptance. WOOOOO!
I am going to share a few things that helped me feel more prepared for this transition. I also hope to save you some worrying because you feel like you aren’t doing enough while you wait! The reality is that this is your time to celebrate and relax! Given the current pandemic situation, this may look different than you envisioned. I am so sorry for that! But regardless, know that you do NOT have to add more stress right now by trying to hardcore pre-study for medical school.
1.. Transitioning to the fast pace of medical school requires a lot of mental energy. So instead of trying to study for classes that you aren’t yet familiar with, take the time to do things that make you feel happy and zen. Binge watch that netflix show, hangout via facetime or zoom with your friends, cook, sleep, etc. This way, by the time school starts you feel re energized and ready to hit the ground running.
2.. I suggest waiting to buy textbooks for classes until after you start and have talked to other medical students at your school to see if they even touched those books. I actually only bought ONE textbook throughout my first 2 years of medical school. They had many copies at the library, so If I ever needed the book, which was rare, I just checked it out for free. Also, in medical school, the SYLLABUS is basically your textbook. I know it sounds crazy, but at least at my school, the syllabus was not like in undergrad where it was just a schedule. It was hundreds of pages with all the information you need for the class material and it was written by your professors. Most of the time this is what I used along with outside resource videos to learn.
The one book that I would suggest buying is FIRST AID for USMLE STEP 1 – this will literally go with you everywhere for the first 2 years of medical school. Whether it be in paper format or in electronic format. I followed along in this book for every topic we learned in class. And you will see when you start, that EVERYONE will have it. Totally worth the purchase!
3. Now is also a good time to make all those accounts for school that they have been emailing you about. I remember when I was starting I felt overwhelmed by all the different passwords I had to make. Don’t wait until orientation week if you already have emails piling up about online training and account setups. It’s a good idea to save all of these in one place – because I can tell you that there were some accounts I didn’t use until months later and then I had no idea what password I had made for it. Caused me lots of stress when I was trying to login to take a test! There are “password wallet” apps that you can use to be on the safer side.
4. Start browsing neighborhoods that you will potentially be living in. This way you have a good idea of which apartments or houses you will be applying to live when you start. If your school has dorms, then you are set! My school does not have dorms, so I spent a good amount of time planning where I was going to live. Doing this early saves you a lot of stress in the long run. If your school started a google doc on people who are looking for roommates, start talking to people on there to scope out for potential housemates that mesh well with your personality.
5. Make a checklist of things you need to get done before moving away! I made a list of all the furniture I needed to buy, the school supplies I needed, the paperwork I needed to turn in. Every email I received that had a requirement went on that list! This keeps you organized and makes sure you don’t miss anything. Keep a special eye out for that financial aid paperwork to ensure you get that money you will need to survive! Your FAFSA should have been done by now, but the school has supplemental paperwork they make you fill out for school specific aid.
As you can probably tell by now, the best thing you can do to prepare is to take care of your mental health, come ready to learn, be ready to ask for help, and be confident! Walk into that first day of class knowing that YOU BELONG IN MEDICINE and you did NOT get there by mistake! Please enjoy self care to the max while you can! If you have more specific questions don’t hesitate to reach out. I hope you all are staying healthy in these uncertain times; I am always here to talk if you need me!