Congratulation! Your New Med School Year Begins the Next 3 Weeks

Before starting your first year of medical school, especially your being an international student, this three-week preparation helps you to familiarize yourself with mental health services on and off campuses. Don’t skip it for good.

WITH A FEW PRECIOUS days of summer to go before some of you begin your first year of medical school, you may be wondering if there are any last steps to take to prepare for the long road ahead.

While it is definitely best to relax as much as possible and to resist the urge to begin studying, taking a few moments to explore some topics that are bound to pop up as you begin your coursework may ease your transition into this new phase of your education.[ 

Here are three tasks to complete in the week before starting medical school:

  • Seek out spaces where you will be able to complete academic work.
  • Find and familiarize yourself with on- and off-campus resources for self-care.
  • Develop a list of last-minute questions to ask at orientation or review orientation notes.

Seek out spaces where you will be able to complete academic work. Identifying or creating spaces that are dedicated to academic work can help you stay on task more easily when studying during the school year.

Check out the on-campus spaces available to you. Is there a library designated for medical student use, and will you have access to it during the times you like to study? Is there a quiet space at home with a comfortable chair and good lighting in which you can see yourself working?[ 

Also seek out spots that will be conducive to collaborative studying and group projects. Some medical schools have conference rooms you can reserve for group studying ahead of time, and other places like on-campus cafes may be great spots to grab some coffee and tackle coursework with friends.

Going to a particular place that you associate with focus and productivity can help you buckle down and engage with your work once classes start.


Find and familiarize yourself with on- and off-campus resources for self-care. Medical school is an all-consuming and intense endeavor. You will inevitably miss social outings, birthdays, graduations and the like as you pursue your career as a physician. Because of the sacrifices inherent to a medical career, maintaining your well-being either through recreational activities or through mental health care is of utmost importance.

Before beginning your first year, familiarize yourself with mental health treatment resources on campus and in your new community. Know what services your health insurance will cover and whether you will have access to on-campus counseling.

Additionally, find out about local opportunities to pursue your interests that have nothing to do with medicine. Consider joining a local running group, a pottery studio or any other activity that might help you step outside of studying for a little while each week.

You may find that intentionally carving out time for yourself helps you return to your tasks with enhanced productivity and focus later on.

Develop a list of last-minute questions to ask at orientation or review orientation notes. It is easy to forget questions you meant to ask during orientation while so much other information is being thrown at you.

Before heading out to that first welcome lecture, take inventory of any concerns or questions you might have as you begin the school year. Jot these questions down in a notebook and bring them with you to orientation, making sure that they are answered by the time orientation wraps up.

If your orientation is already over, however, go through any notes you may have taken to better familiarize yourself with the aspects of your new school and education that seemed most important to you.

If you find that you have any lingering concerns as classes begin, reach out to an upperclassman, dean or another source to get the information you need before you are swept into the intensity of your first year of medical school.

Source: US News