Getting Ready to Start Medical School

It’s one of the most common questions asked by soon to be medical students…. “What should I do to get ready to start medical school?

Set up your environment

The amount of material you will be asked to master in your first year of medical school is more than you’ve ever been asked to master before.  You have to approach it with a different strategy than you used in college.  One critical component of this strategy will be to keep up with the material – starting from the first day.

If you try to hook up your cable, organize your electricity and straighten out parking at your apartment during the first week, you will fall behind.  Take the time to come explore your new environment and get settled in at least a week before classes start.  A week doesn’t sound like much to miss, but it’s a significant amount of information in medical school! One of the important tasks to check off the list during the week you are settling in is to set up your study area.  Make sure you have a computer that meets all your needs and an area to study that is pleasant, ergonomic and comfortable.  Most students find a dual screen to be very helpful as you are moving through notes and slides to study.

You’ll be spending 1-2 hours studying (at a minimum) for every hour of class.  Given the number of hours you’ll spend studying, you might want to think about an “active” desk that lets you stand, walk, or pedal as your study.

Develop (or strengthen) an exercise habit

Use this summer to develop a daily exercise routine that you can take into your new (and crazy) schedule.  Your goal for the summer should be to develop a balanced exercise program (cardio, strength training and flexibility) that works for you.  If you’ve never done any strength training, hire a trainer and learn about it. If you develop a balanced exercise routine this summer, it will be much, much easier to continue this once you start medical school or your internship. Commit to doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day this summer and it will be a lot easier to continue once the pressure of school really kicks in.

Link to a Beginner’s Guide to Running

Running is one of the best (and most convenient) cardio exercises for medical students and residents (because it’s cheap, efficient and effective)  Use this summer to become a runner. If you hate running, find another good cardio exercise habit to develop instead – but pick one!

Link to 9 Ways To Make Bike Commuting Easier

If you don’t own a bicycle, think about getting one.  There will be places to ride for fun when you have time off.  You can also use your bike to commute to school which is a great way to sneak in exercise and save money.

Link to Learn to Love Cooking (and Save!!

If you don’t know how to cook, learn.

Good nutrition is an important part of doing well academically.  It’s hard to concentrate and learn if you are eating junk. There is one simple trick to eat well during medical school: Learn to cook.  This is a skill that will become progressively more important as you enter your clinical work in medical school and then move on to your residency training.

Learn some basic skills to cook simple things.  If you have good cooks in your family, have them teach you.  If you don’t have family members who can teach you, find cooking classes near you and sign up.  Many high end grocery stores and gourmet stores offer classes for beginners – look on line for classes near you.

Why Doing Nothing Is One of the Most Important Things You Can Do

Come to medical school rested.

Do not study. Seriously.  We will give you what you need and nothing you can do this summer will make it any easier.  It’s far more important to arrive rested and ready to go than to try to learn material that may or may not be relevant. Take a real vacation (or two). Visit family and friends – take a road trip and connect with people you haven’t seen in a while  Hang out on a beach, go for some great hikes, read some great novels.  Sleep in late, eat well, and just rest!

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Sitting is bad for you – Even if you exercise.

New findings about sedentary behavior have real implications for medical students, who spend a lot of time sitting during the first year or two of medical school. This is also an important issue for residents and practicing physicians, particularly those in the more sedentary fields of medicine like pathology, psychiatry and radiology.   However, this problem affects us all, regardless of specialty.  All physicians have become more sedentary due to the time we spend at our computers.

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The goal is to move on this continuum from less activity to more… in other words, to become less sedentary.  Here’s some ways to accomplish that goal:

  1. Make sure you move at least every hour.   Breaking up sedentary time is important. Although just moving (even a short stroll) is good, if you have time and the inclination do something a little more strenuous.  Walk up several flights of stairs, do 10 squats and 10 pushups, or whatever catches your fancy.  Try to find ways to incorporate more activity into your day on a regular basis.
  2. Stand when you can.  Stand when you are reading, working on the computer (with an adjustable desk), or just hanging out.
  3. Walk instead of looking up data on the computer on rounds.  I’ve recently discovered I can access our EMR (Epic) on my iPad by installing the Citrix app.  I’ve started taking my iPad with me on rounds, rather than sitting to look up notes, images and lab values.  I’m still not to the point where I write my notes on the iPad, but I’m going to work on it.
  4. Walk to meet instead of sitting around a table. Rounds are obvious, but we have lots of other meetings as well.  There are even physicians who have started doing a part of patient visits as a walk.
  5. Consider ways to move while you do your “sedentary” work:

 

Adjustable desks. Although there are a lot of these on the market that are really expensive, there are some that are more affordable, including desks marketed for kids in school.  Or be creative and make your own adjustable desk.

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Under the desk pedals are inexpensive, and are particularly effective if you are reading and studying.
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Put a desk on your stationary bicycle. Work while pedaling on your stationary bike.  If you have a bicycle, you’ll need to by a trainer to convert it to a stationary bike.  I recently bought  a desk (FitDesk Pro) for my spin bike and it really works.  If you don’t want to spend the money, there are other ways to use your laptop or read while you are on a stationary bike like using an ironing board, or putting your bike under an adjustable desk. I particularly liked this idea of a bicycle rack that doubles as a desk.

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Fit Desk.  If you don’t own a stationary bike, and don’t mind spending $200, look into the Fit Desk.  Friends who have tried this say it is very stable while pedaling.

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Treadmill desk.  This is the most expensive option, but for practicing physicians is not at all a reach.  For students and residents, if you can find an old treadmill, you can build this for $39.

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The Best of Wellness Rounds 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

Advice for interns

Why I hardly ever drink diet drinks

How to choose your specialty

What to do on your day off

Studying basic sciences – strategies for success

Studying clinical medicine

Getting (and staying) motivated to exercise

How to succeed on clinical rotations

Gifts for medical students and residents

Why I’m spending more time on Twitter

How not to have sore feet after a day in the hospital

This Week’s Highlights from @drmlb

Twitter has become a wonderful way for me to send out a variety of ideas and links that I think are helpful (and/or interesting).  Here are this week’s highlights!  If you are new to Twitter RT means Retweet (just “forwarding” it as is) and MT means Modified Tweet (“forwarding” it with a comment).

  • “This is definitely a 15 minute video every medical student should see.” The art of the physical exam bit.ly/nnmaTN @drmlb
  • Comments one makes to colleagues: as important as the interview. Professionalism = doing the right thing when no one’s watching. RT @MedPedsDoctor
  • Beginner’s mind in medicine. How to keep what we do exciting! MT@KevinMD bit.ly/qle7SJ
  • One flight of stairs = 16 calories burned. One day on call = ?10 flights ?20 ?30)..it adds up! @drmlb
  • Epidemiologist with humor?!? This is a great talk about drug development. bit.ly/ovkPyS @drmlb
  • “…small things often adds up to produce a far greater impact than any of us realize.” Surgery through different eyes bit.ly/q5XUkh  @drmlb
  • “..those of us who spend our emotions at work are not the kind to view our work as “just a job.” MT@Kevin MD bit.ly/pRAbmm  @drmlb

How To Succeed In Medical School

Yesterday was the first day of orientation for the new medical students at Baylor.  One of our traditions is to announce the winner of the DeBakey Scholar Award at the beginning of orientation.  The DeBakey Scholar award is one of the most prestigious awards given at Baylor; it is awarded to the rising senior whose academic success and character best emulates Michael E. DeBakey.  This year’s award winner, J. Mason Depasse, was asked to give some advice to the new class of medical students.  His remarks were so exceptional I asked his permission to post them here.

Welcome and congratulations on your admission to Baylor College of Medicine. My name is Mason, and I spoke to many of you during your interview day and second look weekend, when I told you why I loved Baylor. I hope that, after your retreat, you are already beginning to love it here as well. You made an excellent choice, and you will appreciate that more and more as you progress. I could go on and on about what makes Baylor great, but today I’m not here to talk about that. Today, I’m here to talk to you about how to succeed in medical school.

I remember my first day of orientation, and I know the mix of anxiety and excitement you are all feeling. I’m sure you have been told about the flood of information coming your way, and many of you may already be bracing yourself for the impact, particularly those who have had time away from biology or those who have an eye for a highly competitive specialty. While nervousness is perfectly natural, I want to stress that, when the material starts building up – and if you remember nothing else from this talk, remember this – you should not panic. Don’t freak out. People from all manner of academic backgrounds do it every year, and no matter what you’ve been doing or studying for the past four or ten years, you will get through it. It might take a little elbow grease, but you’ll make it.

To help you get started on the right foot, I’ve compiled a short list of things to keep in mind as you begin the basic science curriculum.

First and foremost, try to keep up. This is far harder to do than it may sound, but try your best not to procrastinate. The easiest and most reliable way to successfully tackle any seemingly overwhelming task is to break it into stages, and absorbing the enormous volume of information in basic science is no exception. In college, most of the testing in the sciences focuses on concepts, particularly for upperclassmen. You studied a set of rules for how to calculate electric fields and… something about nucleophiles, and you demonstrated that you could apply those rules. You all have the aptitude and the study skills to succeed in those courses, or you wouldn’t have gotten into medical school. Unfortunately, these skills will not be as effective here because you can’t outsmart basic science. You can’t do it. It’s a whole world of knowledge, and as our professors told us, you just “gotta know it.” You have to put in the hours, and keeping up with the material by regular studying makes this manageable. Get into a routine, and try to stick to it. And when you get a bit behind, and we all get behind at times, catch up as soon as you can.

Second, find a way to study that works for you. This may sound obvious, but I’ve seen students become concerned that they are not in a study group, or aren’t making flash cards, etc. But study groups and flash cards may not work for everyone. There is no “wrong” way to study; if it works, then you’re doing it right.  Your PRN leaders can give you all manner of suggestions for study tips and tricks, and you should feel free to try them out. You have a practice diagnostic exam before your first set of real exams, and you should use it to determine whether your method is working. But even when you find a strategy you like, your study method may not always work. Medical school is a long haul, and there are a lot of different challenges to face. Keep in mind that succeeding here is about adapting and persevering in the long-term. I wasn’t always happy with my performance, I was frustrated at times, but I found that it’s not worth beating yourself up about it. Adjust and prepare for next time.

Third, use your resources. Your professors will provide you with documents and powerpoints of their lectures, and these will sufficiently cover the material. However, you may find it helpful to supplement your reading with outside sources. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but there are all manner of texts and reviews available. Even looking over a topic in First Aid, the Bible of USMLE Step 1, can be helpful for solidifying your knowledge. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Baylor has a culture of cooperativity. Your classmates, your PRN leaders, upperclassmen, and professors are all here for you and will be happy to provide advice and support.

Fourth, stay balanced. Medical school can be very demanding, and it is easy to burn out if you don’t take care of yourself. Go out with your friends. Join IM sports. Go to the gym. If you’re applying to orthopedics, go to the gym again. Whatever you do, take a break. Two productive hours of studying are far more effective than four hours of staring blankly at the same page. Believe me, I know. There will be weeks along the way during which you will work a ridiculous amount of hours and balance isn’t really feasible, and when those come along I recommend trying to make it up afterwards.

Finally, once you’ve gotten settled into a routine, be aggressive. You’re here because you want to be physicians, and you’re paying through the nose for it – though not quite so much at Baylor. Thankfully, you chose an institution with just about every opportunity for research, service, and clinical experience that you can imagine. Seize them. Join student groups. Email professors you want to shadow or work with in the lab. Go to Ben Taub and learn how to start IVs and suture. When you’re on clinics in what feels like forever from now, I want you to remember that you are the only member of your team who is paying to be there. So get your money’s worth. Know your patients, and I mean really know them, and imagine that you are making all of the decisions. Think of your own treatment plans, and ask questions if yours differs from the final one. Medical school shouldn’t be four years you just have to get through in order to become a physician. Don’t let medical school just happen to you. Medical school is your chance to sample the spectrum of clinical medicine and gain the experiences necessary to begin forming more concrete career goals. So once you’ve got your rhythm going and you’re comfortable with your routine, I strongly encourage you to get out there and explore.

J. Mason Depasse, MS4

 

Motivation to Exercise

For several weeks my schedule has gotten the best of me and all efforts at working out have fallen by the wayside.  So, I decided to think about fitness, motivation and the “MED” (minimum exercise dose) to maintain fitness.  Here’s what I came up with:

1. Consistency, not quantity is essential.

  • 10-20 minutes “every” day (i.e. 5 or 6 days a week) is really better than 60 minutes once a week.  Google “ten minute workouts” and you’ll find a huge number of workouts to do (or buy).
  • Concentrate on just increasing the time you move. Consider using a pedometer (cheap) or one of the more expensive monitors, like the Apple Watch.

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2. Planning helps.

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3. Having a goal works better than not having a goal.

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4. At some point you just have to decide it’s important.

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Advice for New Interns

The summer is the time that the roughly 16,000 new doctors in the United States start their residency training. For all new interns, even though it doesn’t feel like it, you are ready!  The first year of medical school gave you the “vocabulary” you needed for this new language. The second year gave you the “grammar.” Your rotations in the clinics taught you the “language”.  Now you get to actually use it every day!

This year will be one of the most profound transitions you will ever make…. and it will also be a year of intense and fabulous memories. Take some time to write down the stories, or take some photos (but not of patients unless you have their permission!). These notes and images will be precious memories in the future.

In talking to other physicians and thinking about my own experiences, here are a few words of advice for you as you start your internship:

Learn from every patient.

As an intern, you will need to know a lot of detailed information on your patients. You’ll need to use a system to keep track of all this information so that when you are asked, you know the last potassium level, which antibiotics were ordered and what the ID consultant said. If you have a system you developed as a 4th year medical student, great! If not, start with 3×5 cards. Keep one card per patient, clipped together or held together with a metal ring. In the era of the EMR, much of the information you need can be easily accessed… but not really organized the way you need it. If you have developed a good system that doesn’t require physical cards, please send me a message so I can see it!

That covers the information, but not the learning. Learning is something that should be actively integrated into your day, not something you do at night when you are falling asleep. Work on a system that lets you record what you are learning during your daily tasks in a way you can review later. 3×5 cards are a simple, cheap and very effective system for studying medicine, which I’ve described in a previous post. Make a separate card (or use the back of your rounding card) to list something (anything) you learned from every patient you see. p.s. Don’t lose your cards!!!! (HIPAA violation)

Don’t confuse gathering information with studying information. Taking notes is a critical part of learning. Don’t just store chapters and articles in your Google drive… summarize them to review later by taking notes.

Be the doctor for your patients.

This may sound obvious, but in the everyday world of the hospital, it is really easy as an intern to get lost in the details of patient care… and forget about caring for the patient. Stop every once in a while and remember that you really are their doctor. Take a few deep breaths and put yourself in their shoes for a minute to ask something about their family, hold their hand, or just sit with them for a minute.

It’s very easy to get swept away by the velocity of the work most interns experience and lose the “big picture”. When you are confronted with something you haven’t seen before, push yourself to make a plan before you call your upper level resident or the attending. What if you were really the only doctor around? What would you do? Spend 2 minutes on UpToDate if you have to, but don’t just be a clerical worker – be their doctor.

Part of being a good doctor to your patients is to recognize your own limitations. You should never feel bad about calling someone with more experience, no matter how “dumb” you think the question is.  It’s the right thing to do for the patient.

Be deliberate about learning your field.

From day one, commit to an organized plan of study to cover everything you need to learn in your field. Make a plan to read (and then study to learn) a textbook every year. Make notes that are easy to review, so you don’t have to go back to the textbook to review the material.   Whatever system you use, make it easy to integrate the notes you are making in the hospital (e.g. the 3×5 card on each patient) with your organized study system. Adding articles into the mix is fine – but only after you have mastered the basics. Don’t let reading the latest finding take the place of really learning the material in the textbook.

Be kind and be part of the team.

Hard work is made easier when it’s done with your friends. You will all be tired, you will all be stressed, but be kind to each other. Staying 5 minutes more to help out a fellow intern is an investment that will help both of you. Look for ways to apply the golden rule of internship:  “Help others the way you would liked to be helped”.

Make your bed.

Do this simple act every morning to remind yourself to take care of yourself. Find time to consciously take care of your emotional, physical and spiritual health. Take good food to the hospital for your nights on call. Find ways to get stress reducing exercise into your weekly schedule, or at least find ways to increase your activity while you are at work. Watch your weight – if you are losing or gaining, it’s a sign that you need to focus on your own well-being by improving your nutrition and working on your fitness. Nurture your relationships – make your family and friends a priority. Take care of your spiritual needs in whatever way is best for you, but don’t ignore this important aspect of self-care.

Smile!

You have the enormous privilege of caring for other people and learning the art of medicine. Take a little time every day to notice the moments of joy in this work and, if you can, write them down to look at on the days you are tired.

Congratulations to you for all you’ve accomplished thus far!  Enjoy this incredible journey!

Fast Easy Exercise: The Daily Fitness Solution

I went in search of an exercise equivalent for “fast easy recipes” and came up with a good find.   The Daily Fitness Solution provides 20 minute workouts that don’t require a gym or equipment.  It’s written by Reinhard Engels, who works in bioinformatics visualization at MIT.  So, as you might expect, his program is logical, simple and without hype.

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The workout program is more than reasonable, with rest days built in (which could be swapped with a workout day if you are on call)  No matter how busy you are, you can probably find 20 minutes!

I also liked his approach to weight loss – the  The No “S” diet:

The No S Diet, also known as the “Grandma Diet,” the “Why Didn’t I Think of that Diet,” and the “No $ Diet” is a program of systematic moderation I invented for myself that I imagine might work for similarly minded people.

No funny science or calorie accounting involved, just a few simple and mnemonic tricks for giving your willpower the upper hand.

There are just three rules and one exception:

  • No Snacks
  • No Sweets
  • No Seconds

Except (sometimes) on days that start with “S”

That’s it.

How could something this simple possibly work? Precisely because it’s simple — or rather, following the Einsteinian dictum, “as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

#HealthyHabit – Get Stronger

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to come up with monthly “resolutions” for myself and for anyone who follows this blog.  Cooking Light magazine (which is one of my favorite sources of recipes and ideas for healthy living) had the same idea, so I am shamelessly borrowing their healthy habits!

Cooking Light’s 12 Healthy Habits

It’s a lot easier to commit to 30 days of a new habit than a full year.  So this month’s goal is to get stronger.  How to get stronger is something that is taught in medical school.  Whether it’s strengthening cardiac muscle to improve cardiac function or building striated muscle to improve strength it’s the same concept – Getting stronger requires a progressive and repetitive load on the muscle that forces it to adapt.

Why it’s important to lift weights

  1. Weight control.  If you are interested in losing weight or controlling your weight, you probably have been told to do more cardio.  Although cardio is important, adding weight training will greatly improve your odds of losing or maintaining weight.  The math is simple.  Fat doesn’t burn very many calories but muscle does.  If you build muscle, you increase your lean mass and, therefore, you burn more calories just sitting around (and a lot more if you are working).   In addition, strength training has an “after burn” that helps; your basal metabolic rate stays elevated for about 1-2 hours after the workout (for an additional ~100 calories worth of calories burned)
  2. Injury prevention.  There are good data that show joints are protected when you build muscle mass.  Most occupational injuries for doctors are related to the joint injury – usually spine, hips or knees.  Strengthening your muscles will increase your stamina and decrease your risk of injury.
  3. Bone health.  Critical for women, but important for men, too. You can prevent osteoporosis with strength training.
  4. You’ll look great. Women worry about looking “big” – but don’t.  You’ll get strong and lean without building bulk.
  5. You’ll feel better. Working out, in general, improves your mood.  But, there is something (literally) empowering about getting strong.


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Beginner or experienced gym rat – here’s what you need to know

  1. Warm up first! Get on the bike, walk fast, just do something to increase your heart rate and warm up your muscles.  5-10 minutes is usually enough…. but don’t skip this important step!
  2. Target specific muscle groups. The goal is to get strong in a balanced way.  Don’t neglect one muscle group in favor of another.  In general, strength workouts are divided into back, chest, shoulders, legs (quads and hamstrings) and abs, but you can get even more specific if you want.  Here is a great list of exercises for each muscle group (and a good anatomy review!):  Exercise Directory from ExRx.net
  3. Pick the right weight. It doesn’t matter if you use machines or free weights.  What is important is to pick weights that are heavy enough.  The goal is to be able to move the weight 10-12 times – but struggle with the last rep or two.  If it’s not hard to finish the set, increase the weight.  You’ll also have to increase the weights as you get stronger.
  4. Maintain your form. If you lift weights that are too heavy, you will “lose form”.  This is classically the guy (sorry, it’s usually a guy) who is trying to bench press too much and ends up arching his back to be able to lift the weight.   The problem is that “losing form” means using accessory muscles to lift the weight instead of just the ones you are trying to train.  This is how injuries happen.  Don’t do it!
  5. Do sets of repetitions (reps). Lift the weight 10-12 times (one “set”), rest, then repeat the set. Three sets of 10-12 reps should be your goal.  There is a good physiologic reason that this works , especially for beginners.  Once your muscles get used to it, though, you may want to change to different patterns.
  6. Lift weights every week. Getting every major muscle group once a week is important.  Twice a week is better.  More than twice a week can lead to injury, unless you are getting enough rest days between workouts.  The ideal goal is to work out every muscle group twice a week.  If you want to split your workouts to do more days (but less time per day) that’s fine.
  7. Rest between workouts. Don’t work out the same muscle group two days in a row.

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How to get started

If you’ve never lifted weights before, or have limited experience it can be intimidating.  This is particularly true for women, who often feel that it’s just easier to hit the cardio machines than deal with the “foreign language” of the weight room.  But – it’s really important to do this, and – I promise – it’s not rocket science.  Here’s how to start:

  1. Buy a book or go on line.  Learn one or two exercises at a time from these sources then go to the gym.  Start with light weights on purpose so you can concentrate on correct form.  As you learn, add more variety.
  2. Pay for a trainer.  If you can afford a weekly trainer, that’s fantastic – you just hired a combination of teacher and motivation!  For most students and residents, it’s more realistic to pay for just one or two sessions to set up a training program and teach you good form.  Most gyms have trainers, which is probably the easiest way to go, but you can find independent trainers in your area who will meet you at a gym or your house to do the same thing.  You can also ask a friend or colleague who is a seasoned veteran to help you.
  3. Buy weights for your home.  A set of weights is actually pretty cheap.  Add a balance ball or a bench and  you can do a lot of this training at home.

Alternatives to weights

  1. Resistance bands. Resistance bands are probably best used to supplement weight training with machines or free weights, but they can be used as your primary training tool.  These are great for when you are on call (assuming you have 15 minutes at some point for a quick workout) or when you are travelling. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  When you buy a set, the exercise program is usually included or you can find examples on line.
  2. Your body. The Marine Corps (and a lot of trainers) know that you can use your own body weight to build muscle mass.   Some great examples are pull ups and  push ups, among others.

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What To Do This Summer

This week approximately 16,000 US medical students are going to receive their diplomas and become physicians. There are also about 16,000 college graduates who will start medical school later this summer or early in the fall.  Congratulations to you all!

Nearly all of you have a well-deserved month (or two)  to rest and get ready for the next step in your training.  So, I thought it might be helpful to pass on a few words of advice on how to spend your time this summer.

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Do NOT study!

  • If you are starting your residency and you think it might help relieve your (normal) anxiety, here is what to do:  Buy one of the major textbooks and use it to get excited about what you are going to learn.   If you want to, plan how you are going to study for the year.   Skim the book if you really have to do something to feel less anxious, but don’t spend hours studying.
  • If you are getting ready to start medical school – step away from the books!  Seriously, there is nothing you can do that will make it any easier, so just enjoy your time off!

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Take a vacation (or two or three…)

  • Visit family and friends – take a road trip and connect with people you haven’t seen in a while
  • Hang out on a beach, go for some great hikes, read some great novels
  • Sleep late, eat well, and just rest

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Develop (or strengthen) an exercise habit

  • Use this summer to develop a daily exercise routine that you can take into your new (and crazy) schedule.  Overall, your goal for the summer should be to develop a balanced exercise program (cardio, strength training and flexibility).  If you’ve never done any strength training, hire a trainer and learn about it.  Your goal should be at least 30 minutes of cardio 4-5 times/week, 2-3 strength training sessions/week and stretching every day. If you develop a balanced exercise routine this summer, it will be much, much easier to continue this once you start medical school or your internship. Commit to doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day this summer.
  • Running is one of the best (and most convenient) cardio exercises for medical students and residents (because it’s cheap, efficient and effective)  Use this summer to become a runner. If you hate running, find another good cardio exercise habit to develop instead – but pick one!
  • If you don’t own a bicycle, think about getting one that you can use to commute to school or the hospital.

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If you don’t know how to cook, learn.

  • Unless you want to gain a lot of weight, have poor energy and feel bad, you are really going to have to cook for yourself (or at least plan for good food cooked by someone else).  You won’t be able to eat what you need, particularly as an intern, unless you bring the food with you.
  • Learn some basic skills to cook simple things.  If you have good cooks in your family, have them teach you.
  • If you don’t have family members who can teach you, find cooking classes near you and sign up.  Many high end grocery stores and gourmet stores offer classes for beginners – look on line for classes near you.

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