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1. Plan Ahead

  • We’re not in undergrad anymore…. Just when you thought budgeting your time was hard enough taking 18 credits on your road to a Bachelor’s degree, now medical, dental, physician assistant, and nursing programs condense their curriculum into dense material to be learned in a short period of time. In these programs, time is precious and there is seldom of it. 

  • How to tackle this? In order to flourish as a healthcare student, you need to learn how to budget your time. Everyone prioritizes their time management skills differently but there is a standard, synchronized way in which you can ensure you are using your time most effectively - no matter what your day-to-day schedule is.

    • The first thing you are probably expecting to read from this post is “create a schedule..” While, yes, this is true, I recommend that you become comfortable with setting yourself accountable. Then ask yourself, “If I planned out my every hour, would I actually follow it? If I planned out a general outline of my week, what will cause me to get side-tracked and lose motivation?” For me personally, I find it easiest to plan out as much of my day as possible. Often times we have countless assignments, quizzes, exams, projects, meetings, classes to be present for. Then somehow we have to make time for ourselves - dinner, gym, study, sleep, repeat. It is easy to become side-tracked during your busy week and ignore your to-do list. All you need is:

      • 1) Any organization app: Todoist, Due (my preferred)

      • 2) Calendar: Journal, Google, iPhone, iMac Stickies & White Board (my preferred)

  • Take about an hour every Sunday night to plan your most highly prioritized tasks for the upcoming week - For me, this is usually class times and any exams or project due-dates. Then I schedule in realistic time (always over-estimate) required for me to complete a task. Second, I schedule in any meetings or potential events I need to attend. Lastly, I schedule my workouts. It always helps to plan what you will be working out or what fitness class you’ll attend to help with accountability and give you more motivation!

2. Amplify your strengths and convert your weaknesses to strengths

  • Out of all places, the last place a student wants their weaknesses to be pointed out is in a healthcare school setting. We worked so hard to get here and already feel the competitive nature surrounding us constantly - whether you think it’s there or not. Could this ruin your career? Will people think differently of you?

  •  How can you overcome them?

    • Instead of dwelling on your weaknesses, learn to maximize your undiscovered strengths. These are things you perform well at, but don’t use often enough. Look for any opportunity to utilize these strengths more frequently. Even if you are exceptionally good at one thing, you might not enjoy it either. However, you can balance your energizing and draining activities. Just because you could, doesn’t mean you should. 


3. Apply what you learn

  • It is important to implement what you learn in any healthcare curriculum because one day, you will be responsible for another person’s health and well-being. It is hard to with all of the dense information being thrown at us all of the time. But it certainly isn’t impossible. 

  • There’s a huge difference between absorbing information and putting what you’ve learned into practice. 

    • Begin by applying your strengths. Next, find a classmate who you can speak to about concepts and receive feedback. Speaking about material in a conversation often helps to understand and retain information more applicable to “life.” ALWAYS ask why. When you understand why something is the way it is, you will have a much harder time trying to forget it. Lastly, get out there and make mistakes. It is all normal and the most critical part of your learning experience in the healthcare field.


4. Network - Network - Network 

  • Yes, networking can feel extremely uncomfortable at times. Networking is about establishing and maintaining, long-term mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet. It is common for schools to hold networking events, where it may feel even more uncomfortable because there are more students than faculty members and the competitive environment begins to kick in. But don’t forget that networking can take place anywhere - coffee shop, supermarket, down the street! If you keep an open mind, networking opportunities are around you every day. It is up to you to seize them.


5. Surround yourself with people that make you better 

  • It is always important to keep in good company, not only for your mental health but for your life experiences. If you were to write down the qualities of the people you spend the most time with, would you be happy to say those qualities about yourself? Will these qualities help you reach your goals? Take the time to think to yourself if the people you hang out with have supported you and had a positive impact on your life. It’s as simple as that. When you’re surrounded by good people, you will be less stressed and find more joy in daily things. Learn to let go if need be and make yourself a priority. 


6. Reserve Alone Time or Don't forget about yourself 

  • A main reason why I find this to be essential as a habit to success as a healthcare student is because alone time helps to increase your productivity when you actually are at work. Having something scheduled for after your busy workday is what can keep you motivated to accomplish your tasks to the best of your ability. Think of “me time” as a reward. This will allow you to feel more in control of your life and realize that there are other important parts of your life that you shouldn’t neglect. Remember, you can do whatever you want during your time, but make sure your free time is of equal priority with your very important tasks. 

"Work Smarter, Not Harder"

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