Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Student Life

The habitats of a medical student

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 02 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l2426

Rapid Response:

The habitats of a medical student: abating the concerns of a medical student through first year

Dear Editor,

As a 4th year medical student, I found this article very enjoyable and an interesting read.

I still recall the exciting but daunting 1st year emotions, and I believe that this article would be really helpful in abating some of the daunting part. The neat sections of 'What to expect,' 'How to prepare' and 'What to bring' for each major component of 1st year sums up the important information in a very presentable way.

It offers all the key points in an organised and bite-size fashion, making it easy to absorb - especially by an overwhelmed and confused fresher who has probably received myriads of advice from those around them.

The insider information and advice regarding Med Socials could be invaluable to freshers who are very uncertain of what to expect socially, and the encouragement to participate may motivate a less confident student.

The fact that you validated that some medical students prefer to engage in other means of relaxation, with the example of ‘sitting and chatting’, will help such students feel normal and belittle any preconceived notion that they have to ‘party hard’ as a medical student. Added social pressure is the last thing a stressed student wants at a time when they choose to relax.

Regarding the section of what to prepare for lectures, I have a an additional suggestion. For the first few lectures in 1st year, I agree that no preparation is usually necessary - unless other instructions are given. However, with time and through trial and error, students will form their own methods of learning from lectures - which may include preparing beforehand, such as making notes on the slides or just reading them. What I and my colleagues in 1st year found distressing is that we did not know how to benefit from lectures in the most time-efficient way. Yet, once we had all settled down with our own unique methods of doing so, we could thrive. Another key message is therefore to find your own study method and not look too much at how your neighbour has approached that lecture. Each person learns differently from lectures, and these will be so new to undergraduate first years, so take the time to settle down and discover what works best.

Thank you for considering my response,

With best wishes,

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 January 2020
Sophia G Raymond
Medical Student
St George's University of London
Cranmer Terrace, Tooting, London SW17 0RE