Nov 10, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

You’re so close to finishing medical school, graduating, and moving on to the next phase of your training. How do you spend your time? A lot of it is at the hospital or clinic and you’re practicing medicine—you’re achieving your dream of becoming a physician.

How can you stay involved in your medical school? Why should you? You’re going to need that network once you graduate. 

Let’s take a look at five strategies to stay involved in your medical school as a late-stage student.

1. Stay in touch with your peers

As a late-stage student, you may feel burnt-out meeting new people. Don’t. Yes—you’re busy, but not so busy that you can’t make an effort to hang out with other people once a week, or maybe even twice.

You don’t have to have an extravagant social life, but putting yourself out there and having coffee with a friend, or meeting for a quick breakfast before that morning class may keep you sane.

One piece of advice? Say yes as often as you can—and don’t be afraid to say no if you truly can’t do something. As an advanced medical student, make time to drop by and visit a professor, or meeting with your first-year roommate, or even attending an event at someplace new.

Keep it simple—but do it.

2. Get involved early—and stay involved

Remember all those welcome events you attended at the beginning of medical school? Choose one or two and stay involved in their activities, even if you don’t attend meetings regularly.

There’s nothing stopping you from attending an occasional event, talking with your peers, or listening to a great speaker.

Take the opportunity to step outside the world of the hospital or clinic, budget your time, and put yourself out there. You never know what you’re capable of until you do something.

3.  Participate in a mentoring program

The key here is that you do this early, even if you didn’t start until later in your medical school career.

It’s never too late.

Mentoring matters more than you may realize.  You have the opportunity to learn from an expert, ask questions, and develop positive relationships with faculty, staff, and alumni.

Mentors can offer you help when you need it, or sometimes just to listen if you have a problem or question that you need to discuss to solve.

If you don’t have a mentor yet, find one. Not only will you benefit professionally, you’ll have a keener sense of how to make sense of your medical school experience.

4. Don’t overburden yourself

The end of medical school is tough. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Remember: your first priority is school. Focus on that—and find a balance.

Your calendar shouldn’t be filled with coffee dates and dinner parties all the time. Figure out what you need, don’t be afraid to meet with people, or spend time with friends, and know that you are the master of your time.

Figure out what’s important to you, how you want to spend your time, and who you want to be involved with—and try to relax, even just a little.

5. Stay involved as alumni

Be the support you had during medical school to someone else going through the process. At the end of medical school, you have a wealth of knowledge about the application and admissions process, the low-down on academics, and how to balance your social life and school life.

As an alum, you can empower future doctors to take the reins of the education, just as you did. 

 

 

 

 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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