Application season is a stressful time for everyone: admissions tests, personal statements, eight rounds of five minutes interviews at up to four different locations. This process lasts at least a month, not to mention the prep for years before with grades and work experience and volunteering. And if the tasks for interviews weren’t enough, then the pressure of how much is riding on your application will generally set in and will cause some stress.
The truth is that this is an important time to relax and will be a good indication of your ability to handle high stress situations in your future career. So, what do you do to relax while keeping up with all the commitments and deadlines that are pressing?
The single most important things you can do is come up with a priority list of when things are do and how important they are towards your application. This will not only help with visualising outstanding tasks, but it will give you a list to to let your mind ease, i.e. If you spend enough time to actively prioritise your tasks, then you can depend on the list (maybe make more than one copy) and let your brain relax knowing you can work from your list and haven’t missed anything.
Most of your tasks will have deadlines and due dates. Schedule things as you get them. You are far more likely to transpose a date or time or schedule the wrong task on the wrong day the further you are from learning the information. In that case, why not take the minute to write it down or put it in your electronic calendar with some reminders to keep you on pace? Again, letting your mind relax and not have to think about these dates constantly will help you focus on what you need to, and relax when you’re not working.
This may seem strange, but works well for electronic calendars in particular. If you are committed and you have a friend that knows and understand this, or someone else applying to medical schools, why not buddy up and share your calendars with each other? When you are accountable to someone, you become a bit more empowered to keep on track. And if you forget, someone is always there to remind you because they will get your automatic reminders as well.
Most of these probably seem like common sense but in the stressful situation of application season and trying to focus on writing, studying, and practicing interviews, it’s nice to have some of the more simple thoughts taken care of for you so that you can put that brain power to better use. So take note of the above, take the time to set yourself up and organise now, and ride the wave throughout the season, knowing you’ve put yourself in the best position to succeed.