Ah summer 2020. One that will undoubtedly be one of the most interesting or …. summers that we’ve ever experienced, but as it slowly comes to an end most aspiring pre-med students are making their way to their various basements, dinning tables and backyards for the return of the school year.
Unfortunately, for some students, the overwhelming task of having to juggle psychology, sociology and molecular bio in one semester might be over shadowed by attempting to do so with libraries and coffee shops operating under healthcare restrictions , but as a student who took various course over the summer I was privileged to have interacted with numerous pre med students as well as some med school attendee and various student enrolled in a graduate program. From our conversations, I’ve able to pick out six (6) habits to develop before September.
What Habits Are you thinking of Or Are Currently Building In Preparation for The New Semester.
Personally, a habit I am currently building before going back to school is planning out my time in a day ahead of time. For one, with a lot of courses coming online, I know it’s definitely easier to say “I’ll listen to this lecture podcast later” and put things off until who knows when. Staying on track with coursework is generally a good idea, but I know when it comes to pandemic season it may be a lot harder to find that self-discipline and remain productive during the day. As someone who is looking to try being productive on most days, making a schedule is one way that I am able to make sure that I am using my time effectively while keeping track of tasks that need to be done during the day. Above all of this, it is also important to have a schedule to prevent burnout from working too much. From a webinar I recently attended hosted by Dr. Ron Friedman, he mentioned that oftentimes when planning a schedule, people focus on when to start the next task as opposed to when to end your current task. I definitely agree with that statement as oftentimes I find myself continuing my work beyond my scheduled end-time “just because I still can.” Something I realized recently is that it’s actually very important to remember to stop working. While you may be able to accomplish several more items in that extra 20 minutes you took to work on a task, building this habit over time is going to be very draining and exhausting if you never take a break, which can be damaging to your mental health. So overall, I’m working on planning out each day, not only for accomplishing tasks but also to make sure I take breaks.
- Deans’ Honour List
- Won Best Design at StarterHacks 2020
- McMaster’s President Award (2019)
- Top Ten Finalist HOSA EMT event (2019)
- 2nd Year McMaster biomedical engineering and health science.
With most universities including my own transitioning to at least one semester of online classes I’ve decided to stay at home rather than continue to live near my university, One factor that I ignored in high school which I now value and give a lot of importance is the distinction in physical space and mental mindset for work versus relaxation. Home with my family is typically relaxing as a University student in terms of academic work therefore I spent countless hours setting up methods for me to gear into the work mindset, creating a certain space where I only use it strictly for academic and work purposes, rather than allowing myself to work anywhere in the house. This helps with family distractions, and my own focus. The habit of work and personal life distinction and separation is one that I’ve just taken seriously and highly recommend for any student regardless what level of education they may be currently pursuing.
- Mcmaster University Honours Biology and life sciences
- Host of TellMeAbout Podcast
- SciNapse USCC finalist
- 3rd year Mcmaster Life Science
I’d say one of the best habits to form right now would be a proper sleep schedule, with classes online I feel people will underestimate the importance of waking up early but I’ve found that getting in the habit of starting bright and early, having a decent breakfast, and getting to work does wonders for your performance and health
- volunteered on a medical mission to Bolivia
- I placed second in the international HOSA competition in pharmacology
- Won the J. Frank Brookfield Scholarship for Excellence in Biology in first year of University
- won the Robert & Margaret Forwell Award at St. Jeromes
When my university announced that most of our courses would be taught through online/distanced learning, I was quite nervous for this transition due to the fact that I still struggle with my time management skills, which is something that is essential in order for you to be successful in an online learning environment. After a bit of experimentation, however, I discovered the best way to maximize my productivity is to take note of the general times when I am at my most productive and least productive state.Then, I would schedule my higher-effort tasks into my “productive time slots” and my lower-effort tasks into my “chill time slots.” I find this to be very effective because it allows me to stay focused on my work for a longer period of time without overwhelming myself with a large amount of work. Since an online learning environment provides us with a lot of flexibility on how we schedule out our days, I strongly believe that if you maintain the habit of completing every single task that you have outlined for yourself on that day, it will save you a lot of time and stress for future tasks!
- Top Ten Finalist HOSA Forensic Medicine Event (2019)
- Wheelchair & Courtesy Services volunteer at a local hospital (2019–2020)
- Finalist at the Ontario Science Innovation Challenge (2020)
Here are some key takeaways
- Set up a schedule the day before to increase productivity for the following day.
- Designate a separate workspace for work and relaxation
- keep up with the sleep schedule !!!!
- Remember to eat before you start the day !!!! (The Brain needs that glucose)
- schedule higher-effort tasks into “productive time slots” and lower-effort tasks into “chill time slots.
- and last but not the least, rather than leaving you with a habit, I will like to emphasize that as a pre-med student, one should continue to put themselves out there whether it be going to office hours, messaging professor about research positions, or volunteering with an organization. Don’t relax or slack off on being a pre-med because of the pandemic.
We hope that this interview provided you with some interesting habits that will aid you in your strive for success during the coming semester! if you’re a high school student reading this blog and would like to know more about pre-med programs, then signup for our webinars that will take place from August 24th — August 28th. Stay tuned for more blog posts from OYMS! Be sure to check out our new website, and follow us on Instagram at our handle @ontarioyouthmedsociety.
About the writer : Opeoluwa Ajiboye is a first year Life science student at the University of Toronto. As an aspiring trauma surgeon, Ope has always had a keen interest in medical related activities due to his desire for helping others. This has led him to participate in various medical competitions such as HOSA as well as volunteering his time with organizations like WE Charity. In his free time, you can find Ope dissecting the true meaning behind living a better and more productive life either on his blog (“From the ground up”) or his podcast. You can also find him watching random YouTube vlogs of doctors or binge watching The Good Doctor and Umbrella Academy. To keep up with Ope, follow him on Instagram @joseph.isdone