I’m having a case of the Mondays, so therefore I decided to procrastinate studying for a few minutes…
Habits are the hardest things to form and the easiest to break. I’ve made it my goal to lose weight and be fit. I also strive to be the best possible student I can be. I’m not perfect, but I try my hardest. How did I form my habits?
1). Set a goal.
In order to start a new habit, you have to have a goal in mind. Set your goal and make sure it’s a SMART goal. Check out my post about https://heatherbergdahl.com/2014/11/06/setting-goals/
2). Find an accountability partner.
I always need an accountability partner, whether it’s studying or working out. I need someone there to make sure I get my workout in or read all of the material.
3). Be very specific about what you want to achieve.
I write down all of my progress in my notebook, be specific about what you’re trying to achieve and the time frame you’re going to do it in. I know exactly what food I eat everyday and how much. I know what workouts I did at the gym and how much studying I accomplished. Before the day is over, I set my expectations for the next day to keep myself on track.
4). Challenge yourself to new levels.
Make your habits live improvements, they should be difficult but doable! It took me 9 months to lose 52 pounds, but I made incremental goals, once I hit one goal, I made a new one! It takes 21 days to make a habit, I was determined not to give up!
5). If you get off track, it’s ok! Keep going!
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to stay on track – especially a diet/workout plan. I would give in to ice cream, but ONLY once and a while. Everything in moderation, right??
6). Keep track of everything.
Write it all down, track your progress. You’ll be shocked at how far you come! If you’re losing weight, take all your measurements. Sometimes when you don’t see your work reflected on the scale, it’s because you’re losing inches.
If you have any other tips and tricks for conquering those hard to establish habits, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
24 hours before a big exam. What to do… well don’t panic. Hopefully by now you’ve put in the time, studied the material, reviewed multiple times, practiced questions, participated in study groups and are moving towards mastery.
1). Organization is the key to success.
Plan your day accordingly – schedule breaks, group study sessions and self study time appropriately. Write it down!
2). Light Full Review.
I always do an entire review the day before an exam. I start early in the morning and work through all of the lectures. I also put specific time limits on each lecture to make sure I get through everything.
It’s the night before a big test – you know your material- you’ve been reviewing it the entire semester. Focus on picking out a few minute details and take it easy.
4). Talk to a calming loved one.
Do not call someone who is going to add extra stress to your plate. Always call someone who is in your corner and wants to succeed – preferably a positive, motivating person.
5). Go to sleep early.
This is extremely important. I’ve found that I perform so much better on an exam when I sleep versus pulling an all-nighter. I have an easier time understanding the questions and choosing a correct answer.
This morning I got up, got dressed, poured myself a cup of dark brew and refocused my brain. Today, I am wide awake, de-stressed and feeling good because I actually got a ton of sleep last night (7 ½ hours)! I am ready for the challenges ahead.
The first day back after midterms is like jumping right back into the deep end of a swimming pool filled with icy cold water. It’s cold, you know it’s cold, yet you jump back in anyhow! The temporary warm and cozy comfort zone provided by the end of midterms – testing is quickly becoming a fading memory. That temporary reprieve from the pressures of med school has ended as I once again begin treading water to keep from drowning! I now understand the drill, so without really thinking I instinctively go right back into “med school” survival mode .
It’s hard to believe how stressed out I was 72 hours ago in comparison to how I feel now. Today is an “on top of the world” day. I’m awake, ready and prepared for class – I always am, but for some reason, today I just feel a bit more comfortable. It could be all the sleep I got, or it could be the fact that it’s a new block.
In any case, I enjoyed my day of relaxation from all the stresses and pressures of med school but now it’s time to buckle up my life jacket, dive back in, and start treading water once again with everybody else!
It is 1:19 AM on Friday night/Saturday morning, as I hazily glance around the library, there are only a handful of oil-burners left. My heavy hands grace the key board and getting heavier with each stroke. I think to myself: “come on, you have 26 minutes until the bus arrives, you can finish the review, you won’t be happy tonight if you don’t at least finish it.” I press on. The half full red-bull is calling to me, but I know it’s far too late to even think about drinking it. My eyelids are starting to close and my posture is less than perfect. The chair feels so comfortable, but my conscience won’t let me rest. A friend stops by my spot in the library and tells me to go home, I couldn’t even tell you what I said. Probably something to the effect of “I can’t, I’m not done yet.”
I frantically hit the backspace, typos all over the place. I take a quick peak around, the closest human is about 40 feet away. Google is going slow as molasses… only 17 minutes left.
The lights flicker and my phone buzzes, it’s only 1:40AM they’re early! NO! I quickly type out the last bits of information- I’m finished! YES! It feels like I just ran across a finish line. Anxiously, I click the save button more times than necessary. YES YES YES! I grab all my things and sprint for the bus to head home. I have a brief thought to throw out my half full red-bull and then I think: this is like gold and I clutch is as I race home to bed.
This semester has been like running a marathon, and I plan to run all the way to the finish line!
I took a break to entertain myself with memes of course… It was so strange last night around 8:00pm I felt drained, like I couldn’t keep studying. I kept at it and then of course around 11:00pm, I had a BURST of energy. I was literally WIDE AWAKE, on the edge of my seat, furiously learning. How does that work????
I had almost 10 hours of labs, class, and small group discussions. I felt like running out of the room screaming. I stared wide-eyed at the professor as his mouth moved a mile a minute. I felt alone, even though I’m in a class of about 600+ students. I previewed the lecture; this material shouldn’t be freaking me out so much. As soon as lecture was over, I grabbed food and headed to the library. I started to pour over the slides determined to shove all the information in my head. I was tripping over the information and I wasn’t able to retain the information from one slide to the next. After about the 10th slide, I stopped what I was doing. “Come on, Heather, study smarter not harder.” (my self-talk in my head, certainly NOT out loud). I whipped out my notebook and 8 different colored pens. Let’s chart this out.
After spending a little more time, charting out the different aspects, I successfully started to retain and learn. YES! I’m on the right track. This motivated me to keep moving further along. Two hours later, I’ve completed the lectures from the day and now working on BRS questions to cement the knowledge.
Learning how to study the different topics in medical school is difficult, but not impossible. It’s trial and error- it’s all about what works best for you. Test your knowledge after an hour, if you don’t remember a thing you just read chances are you need to switch up your study style.
Happy Studying Ya’ll!