Avoiding Medical Downfalls as a First Year Student

Acceptance into medical school is a great accomplishment. First-year medical students need to be aware that even if they have good grades, medical school can still be a challenge. Knowing how to avoid common medical school mistakes can help make the years go by smoother. Below are 10 common mistakes that you should steer clear of as a first-year student:

1. Do not ignore support networks

Starting medical school requires a lot of concentration and dedication. However, you should not isolate yourself from your usual contacts and activities. Staying connected can help you create a more balanced life.

2. Do not get a job 

common mistakes of first-year medical studentsTo be successful in medical school, you should remain focused on school activities. Working can make it difficult to keep up in school.

3. Do not memorize health information

Every student studies a different way but it is important to avoid memorizing information you are taught in class. You should learn to manage this information in order to receive a passing grade. In the future, you will hold someone’s life in your hands – often at times when they are most vulnerable.

4. Do not fall behind

Medical school during the first year can be overwhelming. Juggling laboratory work, lectures and practical activities can be tough on anyone. For such reasons, it is important to stay organized and start developing better study habits.

5. Do not select a practice area

Waiting to figure out what you want to specialize in gives you a range of careers to choose from. Hold off on making any decisions as a first-year medical student. Once you have made your choice throughout the years, it will have been based on your own experience of going through medical school.

6. Do not hide mistakes during practical activities

Making a mistake in medicine is not the same thing as making a mistake in other types of work. A person’s wellbeing is at stake and so it is extremely important to avoid hiding any mistakes or blaming them on someone else. Admitting what you have done is essential for your future in medical school.

7. Do not think that you know everything

Medical school is challenging. Even if you are excelling and achieving
your goals, do not let your confidence turn into arrogance. There is a lot to learn when it comes to medicine. The world of medicine is constantly changing and if you think you know everything, you will run into trouble.

8. Do not argue with your colleagues or mentors

If you have a difference of opinion, there are other ways to express it without becoming hostile. Keep in mind that your professors and colleagues are the ones that will help and support you throughout the years. Building better relationships will make you a better doctor.

9. Do not be afraid to speak up or ask a question

Make the most out of your education. Try stepping out of your comfort zone during the first-year. This will make it easier and easier to communicate with others as time goes by.

10. Do not get overwhelmed or let your confidence drop

As a first year student, you may do poorly on a test or fall behind on studying. This is not the end of the world. Dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes. Be proud of your accomplishments and always keep believing in yourself.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.