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  • Medics & Me

Be Kind to Your Mind - Looking After Your Mental Health When Applying to Medicine

Updated: Jan 29

Applying to competitive courses such as medicine can sometimes create toxic environments . In my experience I found a lot of people are unwilling to share resources and help each other but also compare themselves to others in the application cycle . For your own mental health it is important that you don’t make this application more difficult than it already is and comparing yourself , your scores and your offers is the worst thing you could do.

Set boundaries for yourself

It is so important when applying to medicine to set boundaries for yourself . If someone for example asks for your UCAT score you don’t have to share it and you don’t have to hear about others scores. The UCAT is a really mentally demanding process and it can be really demotivating comparing the scores you are getting to others scores .

During the application to medicine there are so many opportunities for your specific strengths to show. For example you may struggle academically but your empathy and passion and motivation is likely to come through during your interview. Please remind yourself that there is only one of you and you are unique. Grades can be improved but not everyone has the skills that you have!!

Grades are not the most important thing in the world

Grades are important for applying to medicine but despite this , if medicine is truly what you want , you will get there eventually . There are a lot of different options and pathways to get into the course . It can be hard and demotivating but you are resilient !.

Don’t feel guilty for having fun sometimes

If this makes you feel better med/ dental schools actively seek people who can show evidence of having a balanced life and aren’t always doing academics. They want to know you can cope and excel in a really hard and demanding career and degree. If you ever start to feel burnt out , take some days to relax and try and do something you enjoy .

Manage your time wisely

You might find yourself with many stressors and deadlines that need to be completed at once and it’s important you prioritise things that have to be done and forget about things that don’t need to be done straight away . Make lists that are realistic of what you plan to achieve that day and manage your time wisely. If you know you will be very busy in weeks to come , start on deadlines earlier to get them out of the way . When completed an activity tick it off on a list , completing goals increases dopamine levels . If you are close to experiencing burn out : Set very little tasks that need doing but don’t require a lot of energy and tick them off as they are

completed. With time you will get better at recognising low energy tasks and completing them with low energy to conserve your energy for more demanding tasks . It is important you prioritise and distribute your energy well to prevent burn out and if you reach burn out ensure you give yourself time to recover and gain energy .

Ask for help sometimes

Especially if you are like me , and often take on a lot of tasks and jobs at a time . This is your reminder that it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to ask for extensions on deadlines and delegate tasks that don’t need to be done by you. Drop things if you have to because it’s better to do less things well than many things badly .

And lastly….

Make sure you constantly remind yourself why you are here and what the end goal is !

By Sharon Inyama August 2023

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