Grand Rounds

SMHS Student Affairs & Admissions News

Medical Student and Growth Mindset

Medical school is often described as drinking from a fire hose. Between the volume and speed at which material is presented, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially at the beginning of your medical school journey. But since the beginning is past and now you’re in the middle of your medical journey, it’s important to reflect on your personal and academic habits to be successful in medical school.

A great way to succeed in medical school, and in life, is to adopt a “growth mindset.” This is not a default mindset for most people, but you will want to develop your growth mindset by practicing this skill. Aim to learn how to have a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.

As a medical student, you will come to realize that the medical field is constant learning and changing. Protocols change, science changes, and discoveries are made. It is up to you as a medical professional to stay on top of the latest research and, ultimately, become a self-directed learner. With that mindset, it’s essential to recognize that dedication and hard work allow you to continue to develop, and that attitude will help you to enjoy learning. If you are caught in a fixed mindset as a medical student, you will find that you feel like you cannot adapt to the difficulty of the material, which can cause an incredible amount of stress and a sense of failure. Becoming somebody with a growth mindset will allow you to break through barriers and recognize that your shortcomings are simply moments to grow and develop.

It is important to understand that medical school is a safe place to make mistakes, and it is designed for you to learn from your mistakes to prepare you for the clinical world. Make use of your mistakes to grow and learn. Medical school is about learning the material and learning how to think like a physician.

Medical school often feels like an individual journey as you study independently, and maybe live alone. But you’re not alone. Medical school is such a unique experience that it can be very hard for people on the outside of it to understand. Being close to your classmates allows you to have people to give advice, to encourage you, to tread with you through the hard times, and to celebrate the great times.

Most importantly, ask for help. Find a counselor or therapist if you need emotional or mental health support, or if you simply want to chat with a third party. There are professionals who can help you when you are struggling emotionally or simply help prevent you from enduring any emotional or mental health struggles.

Even when you feel that you are alone on your medical journey, keep in mind that you are not! In fact, you are supported by your peers, your medical school faculty, your friends, and your family.

by Val Becker