What I wish I knew as a fresher by Alice Richens

What I wish I knew as a first year medical fresher

Your first year of medical school will fly by, final year student Alice Richens from Nottingham
Medical school shares her top tips for making your first year a successful one.

Make the most of your first year – find a society you enjoy and get involved. It’s a great opportunity
to make some friends outside of medicine and you’ll be grateful for a different perspective as the
course gets more intense (also don’t forget they have ‘medic’ sports teams which might work better
with your schedule than varsity teams).

Keep your focus – it’s easy to end up lost down the rabbit hole, if you stick closely to the learning
objectives then by the time exams come around you’ll know you’ve covered all the essentials
(without wasting your time on details which not even a consultant needs to know).
Find your own learning style – use the first year to figure out what works best for you! It’s worth
spending some time trying different things rather than realising it isn’t working for you later down
the line.

Pick your battles – make the most of every experience, say yes when you’re offered an opportunity
(and if they don’t offer then ask). But know when you’ve got everything you can from a situation,
don’t feel like you need to stay on the wards till 6pm every day. Your time is valuable, and you
should use it wisely.

Run your own race - everyone works differently and it’s easy to get caught up in what other people
are doing. Try not to compare yourself to those around you, we all have our own journeys and
perfect exam results are not what will make you a good doctor.
Most importantly enjoy the journey – try not to forget how hard you’ve worked to get here. As
things start to get busy it’s easy to get caught up in the stresses of exams and assessments. But a
medical degree isn’t the only thing you’ll get out of the next five years. The friendships you build and
the memories you make will last you a lifetime.

Thank you for your contribution Alice – The Next Step Team