By Jonathan Batson
Junior Editor, Journal of the Student National Medical Association
The life of a pre-medical student can be quite stressful, but only if you make it that way. However, it does take a lot of studying, a lot of patience, and a lot of perseverance. Then again, if it was easy, then everyone would be doing it.
At times, it may be depressing when you have to limit your extracurricular activities to study for test after test. Though this may be the case, in most instances, this does not have to be. Time management is the key to having a stress-free pre-med career. You have to schedule your studying and class time wisely. For example, if you are not a morning person, try to schedule your classes in the afternoon and study in the evening. If you are a morning person, schedule your classes for the morning and try to study in the afternoon.
It’s also important for you to incorporate other activities, such as family/friend time, as well as extracurricular activities, such as club meetings, events, and physician shadowing.
In my life, for example, I schedule my studying time for every class according to the amount of credit hours and the degree of difficulty of that class. For example, if I’m taking Biology II/ Biodiversity, which is a 3 credit class, I study for 12 hours per week for that class. For every credit hour, you should study 3 hours, and depending on the difficulty of the course, you should add an additional 1 or 2 hours. There are 168 hours in a week; if you sleep 6.5 hours a day, you have 122.5 hours left. If you take 15 credit hours a semester, you have 107.5 hours left for studying and extracurriculars. If you study 3 hours per credit, you’ll have 62.5 hours for extracurriculars. As you can see, there is more than enough time. You just have to manage your time.
• Get at least 6.5 hours of sleep every day
• Eat healthy meals
• Work out at least 30 minutes per day
• Have a day within the week that you can just relax and wind down
• Study smart, not hard
• Make sure you read your notes after every class to refresh your memory
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