Medical Students Reveal the Dark Side of Medical School

We spoke with medical students and uncovered these candid thoughts on what’s the hardest part of medical school!

Updated 23 Feb 2022

Medical Students Reveal the Dark Side of Medical School - Feature-Image
This is part of our ‘Medical Students Reveal’ series, where we speak to 30+ medical students to find out the real deal behind medical school.

Many of you are either applying or (at least) pondering over the prospect of enrolling to medical school - but what is it really like?

For some, it’s the vivid image of hefty materials flying at you, the endless tests that seem to be always lurking around the corner and the grievous rejections of social invitations in place of study marathons.

Whichever portrait you identify with, you can certainly dread to look forward to a concoction of heavy coursework, labs as well as clinical work that (unfortunately) only intensifies by year.

But hold up! Do not be disheartened. Despite the gruelling vibe, it is possible to scrape together time here and there for personal relaxation.

Hear it from our medical students as they reveal the hardest bits and pieces of medical school (and how they are pulling through)!

#1. Gruelling hours of study and mountains of notes to cram

Compared to your comrades from the business department who might be breezing through university, such will never be the case for medical students. Studying will be a compulsory task that will perpetually occupy space in the corner of your mind!

The Challenges of Medical School - Grueling hours

#2. Realising that doctors are only humans

As much as one can spend hours hitting books after books on anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology, it remains a fact that the human body is an extremely complex entity. So complex that it seems a tad conceited to think that one person can learn it all.

The Challenges of Medical School - Doctors Are Only Humans

#3. Keeping the motivation and fire to hit the books

Medical students might be the chosen ones who can endure the demanding academics and coursework, but like the rest of us, they too, need an extra nudge to remain motivated.

The Challenges of Medical School - Keeping the Motivation

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#4. Wrestling to tread the fine line between study and personal life

Not surprisingly, medical school is notoriously known to overload its students with content. Other than the workload, your social life can be one of the most daunting prospects of medical school. If you have a tendency go out every night of the week, you will have to reconstruct your definition of a social life.

The Challenges of Medical School - Study and Personal Life

#5. Racing against time in medical school

As a medical student, you’ll often find yourself having insufficient time to cover numerous activities and multiple deadlines. But you must also keep going on, day after day, being on the ball always. With so much to do, time management seems to be ever-elusive. However, if you want to survive med school, you are going to need to do a major re-evaluation of your time management methods!

The Challenges of Medical School - Racing Against Time

#6. The shock of a new and foreign environment

Arriving at medical school can take the wind out of your sails. You are now a small fish in a big pond. The pace and style of teaching will be a 180-degree twist from your pre-uni programme, and the size of your year group will (at least) double in number. It will somehow be like starting high school all over again, but don’t worry, everyone’s in the same boat.

The Challenges of Medical School - New Environment

Ultimately, being a medical student will involve working fiercely and harder than you’ve ever worked in your life - but chances are, it will also rope in more fun than you’ve ever had before. Undeniably, there are many realities about being a medical student, but it can also be equally gratifying, stimulating and highly rewarding.

Now before you take every word to heart, please bear in mind that these are merely personal experiences. Ultimately, everyone goes through medical school differently and the opinions above may not accurately depict your journey as a medical student. They are simply offered as additional insights.

If you are still in two minds about taking a medical course, then spare a few minutes on our Medicine quiz to find out if a Medicine course is the right one for you.

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    Grace Chan

    Grace Chan

    Writer. An ardent follower of Carl Jung & Rumi. A green tea junkie whose daily dose of therapy include binging on the divine fluid. Grace also feeds on Psychology and will give away just about anything to cuddle with furry felines.