Staying motivated during medical school can be really tough. There are many days that all I want to do is just sit on the couch and binge watch Law & Order: SVU and snuggle my pup, when I really need to be studying. Here are a few tips on how to keep yourself motivated----even when that light at the end of the tunnel is nowhere in sight.
1. Take breaks. When I make my study plan for each week, I always schedule breaks. It is important for me to have something to look forward to when I have so much material to get through. I usually try to schedule a 15 minute break for every hour of studying. This also allows me to focus more during that hour because I know that I will have that 15 minutes to check Facebook, grab something to eat, check my phone, etc.
2. Silence your phone. This one sounds silly, but it helped me so much! I use to always keep my phone on vibrate. I would be sitting in class, hear it go off, check my phone, and completely lose focus. Once my focus is gone during lecture, I am done. It is so hard for me to refocus, so I will often just end up checking my email or shopping online (terrible habit). Feeling like I got nothing out of that lecture can really take its toll on my motivation level, since I now have to put even more time into that material.
3. Talk to your classmates. No one knows what it is like to go through medical school better than your classmates. Don't hesitate to share how you are feeling with them. Maybe they can even give some advice or share some tips!
4. Treat yourself. I really like to make goals for myself with rewards. I do this for almost everything in my life! If I clean the house, I'll reward myself with a trip to Target to wander the aisles (this is really one of my favorite activities). If I workout consistently for the entire month, I get to buy a new workout outfit. If I make it through all of my lectures that I wanted to get through, I might have a girls night, or watch a movie. It is all about balance!
5. Accept your weaknesses. Now this one is hard. Like really hard. Most people in medical school have always excelled in school, so it can be really tough when you get that first bad grade. It was my second exam of first year that really did me in. Third week of school, and I was ready to check out. I cried, and really questioned if med school was right for me. I was reminded that being a great physician isn't all about having the best grades in the class, it is about being compassionate, caring, and many more attributes that aren't tested in school. Don't let a couple of bad grades allow you to forget why you are on this path to becoming a physician. You got into school because someone believed that you could do it!
What helps you stay motivated?