5. Exercise = Better academic performance. You sit on your bum all day, your poor postural muscles are strained, you are literally studying ALL DAY! I noticed that my grades and ability to focus skyrocketed when I incorporated exercise into my life. Check out this awesome literature review on the effects of exercise on academic performance: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16363467. I took advantage of the student discounts that many yoga studios and climbing gyms offered. There’s so much incredible hiking in the Southwest too! As doctors, we will be asking so many of our patients to incorporate exercise into their own busy schedules and so I’ve learned a lot about how to sustain balance in medical school through making self-care a priority. ALSO: You may discover that you have a love for exercise medicine, I certainly did. (Note: talk to your doctor before making any healthcare changes).
4. Maintain a spiritual practice. Many of us come from all over the country to go to medical school and there are times when you hit rock bottom and wonder why you moved across the country (or world) to go to medical school. It’s okay, these moments are natural. One of the things that helped me was my spiritual practice that involved giving thanks for all the opportunities and blessings I have in my life. One of my favorite ways to give thanks is by volunteering my time, I would volunteer with NWB, N-ACT, the community acupuncture clinics and at a local raptor (bird of prey) rehabilitation center.
3. Become part of the greater student community. I was chapter president of the NMSA, coordinated the national NMSA conference in 2010, was active in N-ACT, attended leadership retreats and herbal medicine and philosophy conferences. These were enriching experiences and I made contacts with so many students at the other schools. Not only that, but I was able to contribute to the NMSA while they were still in the process of launching their website and incorporating the entire naturopathic student body into their organization. I think about all the students I met with fondness in my heart and excitement as I watch them transition into becoming doctors.
2. If you are applying for residency, try to take a couple of shifts with doctors you jive well with. They will be so enthusiastic about writing you letters of recommendations once they know how incredibly competent you are (and you know you are ;o)). Also, ask them earlier on because some of them have a cut-off for the number of students they would like to recommend for residency.
1. WEAR YOUR ENTREPRENEUR “HAT” STARTING DAY ONE. We’re in this profession to help people and many of us are guilty of forgetting that we have bills to pay starting from the day we graduate. Be on a lookout for healthcare trends, how successful doctors are practicing and envision your future practice. Think about patient hand outs, protocols, target patient demographics, and programs you can offer as you breeze through med school.