OUM’s cohort of new medical students went through Orientation Week in July. While they gained a lot of advice from University leadership — from the University’s founder to the Vice Chancellor, and regional Deans — student leaders got right down to business in sharing their keys to success with the 51 first-year students, the medical school’s largest incoming class, to date. Their advice? Learn how to study, build community, take time for yourself.
“Just get in, have a go. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reach out for help if you need it,” said Jessica Bell, third-year student and President of the OUM Student Association.
Learn how to study
Jess also advised her new peers to work out a study plan.
“It’s going to feel like a lot. There’s a lot of information to learn. So, take these early months and try what works for you. I tried a few different study techniques until I found the one that worked for me, and it’s worked for me ever since. But it probably took me a good six months to work out exactly what that was, and then to learn about each lecturer, how they teach, and how you can learn from them too,” Jess said.
Incoming students also had the opportunity to meet OUM’s Student Ambassadors, peers who share their time chatting with prospective students and helping first-year students transition to medical school, answering their questions about the curriculum, remote exams, future clinical rotations, and more about study plans.
“Before I even started, I looked into how to be efficient in studying, especially for medical school,” said Ambassador Seyifunmi Afolabi, preclinical student from Western Australia. “I looked at different software that could help me organize. At the moment I’m using Notion and Good Night to consolidate learning. I also looked at different study techniques and how to summarize massive amounts of information.”
“Time management skills really come into play, but by the end of your second year, you’ll realize you’re pretty good at it,” added Ambassador Norman Chu of Queensland. “
And be proactive. Try to stay ahead of your reading and lectures,” said Ambassador Walter Ikealumba, clinical student from Western Australia, who also discussed the importance of your mental health. “OUM is a very supportive community. There is always someone you can reach out to.”
Connect — Build community
Members of the July cohort were told to form groups, and make connections.
“Small study groups, large WhatsApp groups, and always take the opportunity to get together if you are in the same areas,” said Jess Bell.
“It’s important that you take the time to get to know each other, connect, and start study groups early on,” said third-year clinical student and Student Ambassador Nabil Hashemi of New South Wales.
Take time for yourself
Second-year student and Student Ambassador Phillip Newman from the US reminded members of the new class to set aside time to take a break.
“Make sure that you factor in how busy your schedules are going to be and to highlight those opportunities when you can take a step back and take a deep breath,” said Phillip. “As an example, we just finished up one of our SBMs (system-based modules) where we had many cases that we had to participate in, plus I’m doing travel nurse practitioner jobs right now to pay tuition. I’m currently working in the State of Washington so I decided to skip a day of studying and go to the Space Needle in Seattle. It was just the kind of deep breath that I needed to get back on track. So, give yourself a break, give yourself a pass every now and then, because you’re going to need it.”
Student Ambassadors shared their email addresses with the new students, encouraging them to be in touch with questions. More information about this and other OUM student support programs may also be found at https://oum.edu.ws/about/who-we-are/#studentsupport.