Before I started medical school (so basically three weeks ago) I had no idea what a typical day would be like. Would I go to class? How much class? Did I just study all day? What else is there to do?
So, I thought I’d put together a day-in-the-life for a new first-year med student (M1 or MS1). This is a pretty typical Wednesday, though you’ll see some of my classes were just recordings which isn’t usually the case. Right now we are taking Cellular and Molecular Biology as our main course, but also have a few less-academically rigorous courses like Epidemiology and Biostatistics as well as Applied Clinical Skills thrown in some days. Also, electives and volunteer work aren’t in full swing yet, so in the future those will likely take up some time as well.
Each day is different so most of us uploaded the class schedule to our calendars and check it regularly to keep track of where we are supposed to be. Here is this past Wednesday….
6:30am: Alarm goes off. I actually got to bed at a decent hour last night so I set my alarm early to workout before class. I lie in bed and debate what I’ll do for my workout. I had planned to go to the gym and do legs, but it suddenly seems dumb to make my legs really sore if I plan to run the next day. So I decide to switch…run today, legs later this week. Glad that’s settled.
6:08am: Hop out of bed, pop in a Nespresso capsule (vanilla mmmm) and head to the bathroom.
6:12am: The internet in my apartment is horrible. Of course it isn’t working. I grab my lap top and coffee and head to check our extender and set up camp in the living room instead of my bedroom, where it usually works better.
6:15am: Check emails, Read the SKIMM, Map My Run to find out some good routes in the park nearby since I’ve never run there, decide to start writing this post ….
7:09am: I’ve procrastinated long enough. Time to chug water, get dressed and run! I planned out a 2 mile route that I hope works, and then will do a few sprints at the end before heading home.
7:57am: I’m back! I LOVE THIS FALL WEATHER! What a lucky, beautiful August we’ve had here in St. Louis. The park was beautiful and full of other runners, walkers, dogs etc. It’s going to be a great place to explore.
8:16am: I’m showered, have a VEGA smoothie in hand, and am at my little vanity area to dry my hair. Make a J.Crew Factory shopping bag that will never get purchased.
(Yes my mirror has marks on it. It came that way. I don’t love it.)
8:35am: Shoot I’m running late! Take my anxiety meds, my Nova Scotia Organics vitamins, and throw on a stupidly preppy outfit. Throw food in my lunch bag while chatting with my roommate, then head to class.
8:57am: I’m at school! Apparently the class after this is just a recorded lab, and then our 11am lecturer isn’t coming so his lecture is pre-recorded too. I think a lot of people decided to stay home, but I’m glad I didn’t realize that and came anyway. (You can watch everything on a program called Tegrity so you don’t ever have to come to class, but lots of people do. I like the social aspect plus it makes me get out of bed.)
9:00am: Time to learn about blood coagulation!
9:50am: Finished. Good lecture. Lots of semi-confusing pathways but I think I actually understood most of it!
10:00am: I’ve migrated with some friends to a study room to watch the lab together.
10:40am: Lab is pretty short, and now I’ve got some time until our next in-person class at 1. I want to stay around for a lunch meeting on an ER program, though, so I decide the best use of my time is to take an Epi practice exam. We have a test on Friday, and I want to see what I know and what I still need to review.
11:30am: Some friends join me at my table and we chat and eat lunch. I’m still on my kick of bringing rice cakes with avocado and chicken. I also had some carrots and a hardboiled egg earlier.
12:00pm: I go inside to a meeting on an Emergency Department Ambassador elective. It was short, but sounds really neat! I’m definitely going to consider it.
12:30-1pm: Go back outside and study a little, but mostly laugh with friends until class starts again. Thankfully no one is super stressed about stuff right now so we don’t feel the need to study 100% of the time.
1:00-2:00pm: Epidemiology and Biostatistics. It’s our final class — this is only a three week course. Our exam is this Friday so we learn the last bit of material. It’s mostly on interpreting medical literature.
2:00pm: I normally would stay for the small group session for Epi, but it’s optional and I am not feeling well. I think I’m starting to get sick and I’m a little nauseas, so I decide to go home to get some meds and maybe take a quick nap. (Thursday update – Yep I’m definitely sick. Got a cold.)
2:15pm: Home. Grab a handful of dark chocolate chips and take some tylenol and allergy pill in case that’s what’s going on.
3:30pm: Wake up from my nap. Wow!!! Immediate guilt…I should have been doing work! But apparently my body needed sleep and I do feel better. I have taken more naps since starting medical school three weeks ago then I did maybe all of last year….
3:45pm: Grab another Nespresso since I’m groggy, put on Pandora (currently loving the Lunasa station. Check it out if you’re into Irish music) and study for my Epi and Biostats exam.
5:30pm: Grab a rice cake with almond butter as an easy snack. Chat with my roommate and her friend in town visiting for a few minutes. My roommate is making homemade curry and it smells SO good.
6:10pm: My dad calls me. We chat about my day and other random things, including the difference between nauseous and nauseated. (Look it up!)
6:20pm: Register to join Notre Dame Club of St. Louis. I’m good at finding ways to not study, but I did get a fair amount done.
6:30pm: My roommate invites me to come have some curry. YUM! I sit in the kitchen and chat with her and her friend while we eat.
7:00pm: I go to a Christian Medical Association meeting back at school, which is a great group of people that come together for a Bible study and to pray for each other. This is totally outside my comfort zone, but something I feel like I’m supposed to do, and it was an awesome experience. I’m excited about continuing to attend!
9:09pm: I’m home and dug into the Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream that the friend brought. Ice cream doesn’t make my stomach feel great, but I can’t pass up Graeter’s. It’s THE BEST.
9:13pm: Watch this John Oliver video that a bunch of people told me about today. Put a coat of clear on my nails while I watch.
9:30pm: Start watching a lecture from today on hemoglobinopathies (the 11am prerecorded one) and take notes.
10:20pm: Mom calls. We chat about my day and getting shower and wedding gifts for one of my friends. Then back to work.
11:22pm: FINISHED. That was a dense lecture! Thankful for the recording so I can pause it and make sense of it all. Medical School is COOL. Gosh. I mean it’s a lot and some of it is confusing but I just love that I get to learn all of this.
11:34pm: Bedtime routine is complete. Hopping into bed and will likely read for a few minutes before I fall asleep (or i’ll probably just scroll through Instagram, let’s be real.) Thankful I don’t have an early workout planned tomorrow!!
And there is a typical day. I’m excited to do more of these in the future to see how my days change as my classes rotate and I settle in. Hope this was helpful to any pre-med students wondering about med school life!