If you read my last blog than you will understand that university study and in particular Biomed can be rather challenging at times. Thankfully in addition to learning about biology, chemistry and population health I have figured out a few other things along the way as well and so here are my 9 top tips (10 is far too mainstream) for ‘How to biomed everyday without going cray cray’. (Not gonna lie pretty proud of myself for coming up with that one.)
1) Focus on you. Don’t compete with everyone else, compete with yourself. At the end of the day all you can do is your best and that is good enough. Personally I avoid asking other people what their marks are because as soon as you start comparing yourself to those around you, you are tempting over analysation and self doubt.
2) Filter out the nonsense. With such an infamous first year course comes plenty of tall stories, myths and straight up BS from your peers and past students. For whatever reason people like to create a lot of hype about things which really don’t need hyping and this generates a lot of unnecessary anxiety for people in first year biomed. For example already this semester I have heard that the first labs for all of your papers don’t count when in fact one did, that the first test for population health is a dream crusher when in reality the class stats showed that most people did pretty well and don’t even get me started on the horror stories surrounding the embryology lab which I personally really enjoyed. At the end of the day I would suggest take everything you hear with a grain of salt and if you’re looking for the facts then listen to your lecturers and course co-ordinators because they’re the only ones who really know what is going on most of the time.
3) Don’t be too hard on yourself. (I say that rather hypocritically, knowing full well I am very guilty of this myself.) In such a high pressure year when everyone is chasing the A+ anything below this really does feel like the end of the world. Just yesterday in the lift I heard a fellow non-biomed student say “Yeah this girl on my floor doing biomed said she did ok, but you know what those biomed students are like they can’t live with anything below a B+.” This made me realise you really have to keep it in perspective, it’s not the end of the world even if it feels like it is and worse things can happen. If you aren’t happy with a mark you just have to pick yourself up, put it behind you and use it as motivation to do even better in the rest of the paper.
4) Be organised. I kid you not I have like 3 planners, one for the semester, one for the fortnight and one for each day. This may sound over the top but it’s the only way I know exactly what I have to do and when I need to do it to stay on top of everything, because it is so easy to get behind and so hard to catch up. Take this blog for example which I started thinking about weeks ago. It’s important that you know when your tests are coming up, what days you have a lab and when assignments are due so that you are well prepared or don’t lost marks for a late submission.
5) Manage your time. Time is money and just like poor students can’t afford to waste money, biomedder’s can’t afford to waste time. If I am doing nothing, I am usually doing it at a time which I have scheduled as free time to do nothing. Furthermore biomed is a constant juggling of priorities because there never seems to be enough time in the day to get through your never ending to do list.
6) Find your routine and form good study habits. It’s important to know what works for you and to make a routine which considers how you operate. If you like studying at 3am good for you, you do that (personally I prefer to sleep at this hour of the morning). If like me you can’t focus after about 7pm, by all means watch the latest episode of the bachelor, but make sure you get up fairly early so you can get your study done while you’re still fresh. Similarly if you’re a crammer (not me) that’s cool, but if you can’t handle the pressure of a last minute scramble make sure you study a little everyday.
7) Be a social butterfly. Or even a social moth it doesn’t really matter as long as you still make lots of friends that you enjoy spending time with and who will look out for you when you’re having a bad day. In particular make some friends outside of biomed as well. Chats about the banes of engineering can be surprisingly alleviating. Also if you are living away from home, keeping in touch family is really important too.
8) Be balanced. Balance is literally the key to the biomed universe. It is super easy to get so freaked out by all the work you have to do so that you just study 24hrs a day and never do anything else. This is the fast track to burning out. Scheduled regular exercise or time for hobbies like music, eating or shopping is really important. Personally I have been getting into yoga. A good thing about being in a hall is you get “free” membership to the uni rec centre which has lots of free classes. As they say at the rec centre ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’ so also eat well and sleep. For many of you, naps will become your new best friend at uni.
9) Take time out for you. Its important to have ‘mental health days’ or at least have a bit of ‘me time’ if you’re feeling stressed out or a bit low. Whether you just chill and watch a movie, do some colouring in or go wild at Bar 101 (or all of the above), I would definitely recommend doing something fun every so often to have a breather and forget your worries for awhile.
Everybody’s different and will have different recipes for success but I hope any future students and particularly biomedder’s have found something to keep in mind so as not to lose your minds when you enter the big bad but mostly good world of university.
Till next time, stay balanced