Medical school is tough enough as it is even before the pandemic has forced educational systems to switch to online learning. And although online learning can be challenging for any student, difficult topics in medical school are often better explained in in-person classes. Nevertheless, keeping up this system of learning is crucial to keep people safe from the virus, as is with other physical distancing guidelines.
Whether you are studying in one of the top-performing osteopathic medical schools or just about to start your freshman year, it is imperative that you know how to handle distance learning while the pandemic situation is still uncertain. Here are some tips that can make online medical school less challenging for you.
Improve your time management skills
One of the keys to succeeding in medical school, whether online or not, is good time management skills. The ability to divide and organize your time between your priorities is what will help you accomplish your work on time while avoiding burnout due to cramming. Moreover, proper time management in medical school will help ensure that every assignment is done with full effort, as opposed to rushing through it when the deadline is fast approaching.
There are more distractions when taking online classes than there are when going to school in-person. Smartphones, Netflix, family members, and social media are just some of the common sources of distractions for students taking online classes, not to mention the distractions that are out of your control, such as bad weather and neighborhood noise.
While you can’t eliminate all of the distractions around you, you can minimize them to the best of your ability. Turn off your phone during classes, close the door to your bedroom, wear noise-canceling headphones, clear your desk from clutter. The fewer distractions you have, the better you will be able to focus on lessons, which is crucial especially in medical school.
Reach out to your classmates
If there is anybody who understands what you are going through, it’s going to be your classmates. Your peers know how hard it is studying medicine, let alone taking online classes. Hence, they will be the first people who can offer emotional, social, and academic support while you’re all trying to keep up with classes.
Connect with your classmates both inside and outside of online school. Form study groups through video conferencing platforms, start a file sharing drive where you can send academic resources to each other, reach out when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and encourage others to talk to you when they need help. While you may not be seeing each other in person, there are still a lot of ways to connect virtually, at least for now.
Communicate with your professors
In medical school, it is crucial that you ask for clarification from your professors if there is something that you don’t understand, or if you just simply have trouble keeping up with the class in general. It can be intimidating to ask your professors during classes, and if you can’t speak up during the session, reserve your questions and e-mail them to the professor instead.
If necessary, don’t be afraid to ask for a one-on-one session to address whatever it is you’re having trouble with. Your professors will likely be more than willing to help. However, keep in mind that they’re having trouble with the current situation as well, so be sure to message during business hours and avoid taking up more of their time than necessary.
Organize your files
Medical students often have tons of reading material to pore over on a regular basis. To make it easier for you to accomplish your readings on time, organize your files into separate labeled folders as soon as you download them.
Distance learning is the reality that we are facing right now. But despite the challenges of this type of system, you can still achieve academic success by learning how to handle those challenges effectively, starting with the tips mentioned above.