Reflections on the First Semester Back

Now that the semester is over, I wanted to write about a few things that I’ve learned over the past few months.  I’ve learned a few things over the course of the past few months and I’d like to share some of them with my readers.  Hopefully, my readers will be able to benefit from some of the lessons I’ve learned this past semester.

  1. When I was an undergrad, I never really read the textbook before lectures.  I learned primarily by taking notes during class, office hours, and then homework.  In hindsight, I believe I would have done better, particularly in my first year science courses, if I had made a habit of reading the textbook prior to coming to lecture.
  2. I’ve mentioned this several times before, but I had an awful chemistry professor that watered the course down to less than what would be expected out of a high school student.  Not a big deal – bad professors are a fact of life.  The mistake that I made was in letting a bad professor make me change my game.  Even if your professor has lowered the bar for your class, don’t use it as an excuse to not work hard or go the extra mile to learn what you need to.
  3. The importance of proper nutrition, exercise, and rest simply cannot be overstated.  Between working full-time, classes every day of the week, and studying, it got really easy to neglect my diet and fitness.  I ate crappy food, slept strange times, stopped riding my bike, and it really took a toll on me.  I spent 9 hours a day at work hunched over a computer and then 5 or 6 hours a night hunched over a desk studying or reading.  After a semester of this, the muscles in my back, neck, and shoulders started to spasm and I’ve had varying degrees of pain for the past few weeks because of it.  Make proper diet and exercise a priority and I guarantee that it will pay large dividends on the quality of your study time.  You’ll retain more, stay sharper, and ultimately be a better student if you do.
  4. Make time for your friends and family.  It’s really easy to let school and / or work commitments consume all of your time and keep you from continuing to cultivate the relationships that are important to you.  Becoming a doctor is an important goal, but it would be a real drag to spend years working towards it, only to realize you’ve destroyed every relationship in your life getting there.
  5. The pre-med world is consumed with competition.  This was my first experience interacting with hardcore gunner types and I have to admit, they’re every bit as draining as I figured they would be.  Don’t let the competitive spirit that pervades everything they do get to you, otherwise you’ll go nuts.

Summer session starts in another week, so after a bit of a break, I’m headed back into the fray.  General Biology 2 for eight weeks followed by another brief respite, before headed towards the main event…..Organic Chemistry.

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