Medical School: Is The Juice Worth Its Squeeze?

Students who desire to enter medicine are doing their best to excel in studies with the help of online tuition, consultation sessions at school, private tuition and so on. Though math tuition and science tuition can help students achieve excellent results, one needs to have the passion for medicine in order to pursue it. Some students may truly be attracted to this profession while others may simply work for the glory of it.

True passion and interest in human anatomy and physiology, and a service mindset will be the only thing that can enable a student to sustain. Students are aware that the medical school curriculum is strenuous. And this makes them wonder if the pain endured will really be worth it.

So, is the juice worth its squeeze? Let’s find out!


“Learning in med school is like drinking water from a fire hydrant.”.

This is a common phrase that medical students use to describe their struggle. Every subject from anatomy, embryology, histology, pathology all the way up to general medicine is content heavy. Even the smartest kid needs to revise his content over and over again as the details cannot be easily retained in the mind.

The pace is fast and students need to learn how to keep up with the rigour. This means students need to learn how to optimise their study techniques. Passive reading of textbooks does no good at all.


Second-year syndrome, also known as “Medical students’ disease” is a condition whereby medical students perceive themselves to be experiencing the symptoms of the disease that they are studying. This is purely a psychological issue and it’s perfectly normal to go through.

medical students

Continuous exposure to information about illness and death can cause the mind to wander off and think negatively most of the time. For example,

  • A normal viral fever might be confused with typhoid fever
  • A scaly hyperpigmented patch on the skin may be interpreted as a psoriatic patch.

 These personal confusions stem from a fear deep down in the mind and over time, this will resolve by itself as students get used to it.

Some medical students may feel demotivated when they faint at the sight of blood or have a vasovagal syncope during a dissection class in anatomy. This is not something to be embarrassed about as its common. It’s certainly a challenge, but it’s one that can be overcome.


When the professor or the senior asks you for the diagnosis of the patient, you need to be able to assess, analyse and present the case with accuracy. This is only possible with a good knowledge of at least basic human anatomy, physiology and pathology. The integration of concepts and correlation of topics should be understood clearly.


Students need to also recall content easily and arrive at differential diagnoses easily. These require strong understanding of all subjects in medicine and critical thinking skills as well.


As a medical student, sleep deprivation and chronic stress is unavoidable. Your health may get jeopardised in many instances and it will take a toll on you mentally as well. However, this is an excellent opportunity for students to discover their limits, and to physically experience the importance of good health.

In older to perform well in school and maintain good health, it takes immense amount of self-discipline. Over time, students get better at handling multiple tasks and taking care of their health.


Adaptability and self-discipline are essential to make a smooth transition from textbooks to actual hands-on clinical practice. From taking medical history, to performing physical examinations, coming up with the diagnosis and possible treatment options, students need to be able to recall what they’ve learnt with accuracy.

teaching hospital sustainability

In the wards, professionalism has to be practiced and students also need to be alert and observant. The health profession is has to be taken seriously and thus students need to do their due diligence to keep with the demands.


The struggles and challenges are great opportunities for students to realise their potential and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Students develop self-discipline and become so much more matured as compared to how they were when they started off. The process may be arduous, but it’ll be all worth it when a patient says “Thank you for saving my life.”.