Outside view of the Lincoln medical school

You’re finally a medical student

Well done, you made it! You have all worked extremely hard to be here. Applying for medicine is not easy, and with such a rigorous application process, it can be one of the most stressful things many of you have ever gone through. Now it is back to being a little fish in a big pond. There are a multitude of things I wished I knew, but here are my top 3 things I wish I had put more emphasis on when I first started at the new Lincoln Medical School.

1.         You DO belong here

Some of you will become familiar with the term imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is essentially a voice in your head telling you that you do not belong here, that you’re not good enough. It is particularly common amongst medical students and black students. It is crucial that you remember how hard you worked to get here, and that you would not have received an offer if the university did not deem you worthy of a place.

To help combat these feelings you should try not to compare yourself to your peers. Whilst you are all medical students at the same university, you are all on different paths and have different goals in life. Recognise that you all worked just as hard as each other to get here and that you are all deserving of your place at this medical school.

More specifically to black students, It is easier to feel like you do not belong at medical school. For many of you, it was normal to not see a doctor that looks like you. For me, this was the root of my imposter syndrome. It was only speaking to other black medical students that I realised that I needed to be the change I wanted to see, that one day someone will see me as a doctor and realise that it is a profession that is achievable for them. Do not let doubt be the reason you do not get the flying start you deserve.

2.         Do not make studying medicine your whole world

Whilst medicine is not an easy degree, you need to separate yourself from it from time to time. Many of you would have come to a new city not having many friends from home. Making the most of fresher’s week, joining societies, and getting involved in the local community will be a great way to meet people at the university that are not on your course.

Four people sat together outside smiling

Sometimes to alleviate yourself from the stress of the course, it is useful to be in the company of people who study something different, but still have similar interests to you. It is nice to have hobbies that do not include studying for the next formative. Studying medicine can feel very intense at times, staying well rounded so you do not burn out is crucial, it is important to have a life outside of medical school.

3.         Preparing for lectures is VERY helpful

Medical building lecture hall. Shows rows of seating facing a blank projector screen.

One thing about medicine there is a lot of content, which means that lectures tend to be very fast-paced. It will be helpful to skim through some of the PowerPoints ahead of the lecture, and/ or do the pre-reading. You don’t have to try and learn the information, but this will give you a basic understanding of what will be covered. it will help with not getting so lost and keeping up with lectures, ensuring that you can make the most out of the time you have.

Overall, this is an exciting time, most of you will be moving away from home to study a new course. I hope these tips help with making your first year of study here an easier and more fun experience. If you want any more specific advice it’s always good to talk to someone from the year above, we’re always happy to help.