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Classes

I think the most effective way to study for medical school is to learn something from every class each day.  Optimally, one should strive to learn everything covered daily in order to stay on track and not fall behind.  Lol, but things happen. If you are not able to study the way you want because of time constraints at the very minimum you should try to read the equivalent material in the BRS or watch relevant materials from Kaplan, Dr. Najeeb, Doctors in Training, etc . . . On my best days I was studying 6 hours or more a day, not including Gunner Training, about another hour.  On my worst days . . .  like 2 to 3.  If you want a subject-based study plan I suggest reading “Home Stretch“.  This is the study method I used for the remaining of the semester.  The only advice I would add is; do not be afraid to use Youtube.  The Shotgun Histology series on Youtube was a lifesaver for reviewing Histology slides for the lab exam and final.

In regards to study style, I would suggest studying alone daily and then in groups when it’ time for exams in order to review.  Studying with friends can be hit or miss, some days are effective and some days are a total bust.  I suggest waiting until the end of the semester before joining a study group.  By then, you will be able to identify those who are serious and those who are just playing games.  I don’t suggest taking notes while reading because it’s not that efficient or effective.  If you need to find the information, it will be there in the book where you read it in the first place.  My suggested study method would be to read the book, watch supplementary videos, or read BRS, then do question after question.  Practicing recall is the best way you will learn and get everything in your head.  You’re not going to have much time for that if you spend it taking meticulous notes. In medical school the goal is to work smart and not hard.

Housing

I was able to find my house on ValueMD in the classified section.  Doing it that worked out really well for me, but not so well for others.  Make sure you ask your future roommates/landlord questions about amenities, utilities, rules, personalities, study habits, cleanliness, and pictures of the place from the inside and outside.  If you feel renting a place that you’ve never actually seen sounds sketchy I would suggest coming to Guadalajara early and driving around and taking down numbers of places that say “Se Renta”.  There are always places for rent down here.  You should expect to pay between $250 – $500/ month for rent.  Anything higher than that, you should start asking questions.

I suggest trying to find roommates that are in a semester above you.  Living in a house with people who know their way around the school, the classes, and the bureaucracy will save you many headaches.  Living with only first semesters can be like the blind leading the blind at times, plus there will be way less drama.  You already see all the same people in class all day, some you love and the others not so much, could you imagine seeing them when you get home and on the weekends.  For some of the people you meet, that won’t be a problem, there are some classmates I wouldn’t mind living and others I like to keep on a touch-and-go basis.  You won’t really know whom is which until the end of first semester, if that.

Friends

Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Try getting to know everyone in your class.  Now that doesn’t mean becoming their best friend or anything, but amiable.  Try to introduce yourself to the person or group and have small talk.  You never know who’s help you’re going to need in the future and you don’t want to be labeled as “stand-off-ish” or “stuck-up”.  Keep an open mind and don’t take anyone too seriously.  It’s easy to link yourself up with a group in the beginning because of desperation and a fear of being alone, but don’t fall in to that trap.  First impressions mean a lot, but there is more to a person’s character than that.  People who I thought were put-together and fun at the beginning of the semester have turned to be anything but. And there are those who I thought uninteresting and unrelatable and they are some of the coolest people. Just remember you don’t know these people.  Everyone is putting on their best faces, the real them won’t come out until after the first exam or so.  That’s when things get real, and people will be too stressed to fake it.