Surviving the Homestretch
April 10, 2013
It’s officially Spring! Although those of us in the Upper Midwest have yet to see any weather that even slightly resembles spring, the changing of the seasons heralds what can be the craziest time of year for any student who is simultaneously applying to medical school while taking the MCAT in April, May, or June.
Other times of the year, studying for the MCAT has the potential to be stressful, but in May that stress can reach an impressively high level. In the next month and a half most students will have hurdles such as finals, graduation, moving, asking professors for recommendations, writing a personal statement, finding a job, and researching positions or internships, all while trying to maximize their MCAT study-time.
The real question is- what can be done to reduce stress and allow an MCAT student to work to their full potential?
Here are some tips for stress-busting in the upcoming month and a half
1. Make a list- As you may be able to tell from my blog posts, I am a proponent of making lists to organize information and stay focused. This is especially important at this time of year when you have to keep track of tons of small details that could potentially have major consequences. I suggest making separate lists for school, MCAT studying and med school applications to keep each topic organized.
2. Meditate or reflect daily- One of the most stressful feelings is when you get to the end of the day and it feels like you have not accomplished anything. You look at your lists (see tip 1), and there are still a bunch of things that are not crossed off. Taking time to reflect each day on the tasks you have accomplished can help soothe your nerves and allow you to sleep better at night.
3. Stay healthy- The last thing that you need right now is a killer virus taking advantage of your overwhelmed body; so, get enough sleep, eat right, exercise and remember that there is an end in sight.
4. Utilize your outlets- All of us have different activities which help us to relieve stress. Make sure you know what your personal outlets are- exercising, cooking, chatting with friends, reading a book- and utilize them. It’s important to engage in these stress-relieving activities even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Hopefully this helps you all make it through the next 1.5 months! If you have any stress-busting tips of your own, I would love to hear them.
Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over six years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a second-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.