10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Medical School

Hello, everyone!

I am back with another post! Since this time last year I received my acceptance letter from U of T, I wanted to share some advice with you about things I wish I knew before starting medical school.

Before I begin my list of advice, I would like to send a huge congratulations to everyone who has been accepted. You have worked so long and hard for this and you should be so proud of yourself! All the things you’ve missed out on because of studying, extracurriculars, and research to strengthen your application, has all paid off. I am so happy and proud of you!

In this post I thought it would be fun to offer some advice to incoming medical students, since I was in your shoes last year! Here are some of my tips/pieces of advice (might be more relevant to UofT and helpful to the 2T2’s):

  1. YOU DESERVE THIS. You worked hard and dedicated so much of your time towards this goal of yours. Don’t think you don’t deserve it for a second because you do!
  2. GO TO O-WEEK!!! O-Week was one of the best times of my lives and I met such amazing people during that week who will be lifelong friends. You have to go!!! If I could go back and relive that week, I would in a heartbeat.
  3. Condo hunting will be hectic, but you have time. I would also recommend waiting until you know which academy you are going to be assigned to OR pick something close to campus/subway line. Ideally you’ll want a move in date of August 1st to get yourself settled, but if that doesn’t happen please don’t worry because many people had to move in during class and it ended up working okay!
  4. Which brings me to the next point: YOU WILL USE THE SUBWAY. A lot. If you are a suburban girl/guy like I was, don’t think you can avoid transit! Get a presto card and consider living near one of the subway lines. FYI: there are student deals for the presto card that lower your fare, take advantage of that!
  5. No matter which academy or hospital site you get assigned to, you will have an amazing time and get an amazing education. Don’t be upset if you don’t get your top choice, all of them are great! I am in the Peters-Boyd academy, which was my last choice, and I love it! Knowing what I know now, I would have definitely ranked it first!
  6. Take time during yourself and enjoy living in the city! This is so important for you to understand. I know if might be hard since your premed brain has been wired to work day and night, but this is not undergrad. You don’t need a 4.0 GPA anymore! You just need to pass! I found it difficult to grasp too, but trust me on this. Please do things you love, get involved, and take time for yourself!
  7. Failure and mistakes are okay. If you fail a bellringer or fail one of your exams, don’t beat yourself up. These things happen and the most important thing you can do is be resilient and learn from your mistakes. Don’t ever think you’re not cut out for medicine because of a bad mark.
  8. Stay on top of your independent learning modules and pre-week learning modules. It is (so!!!!) easy to push those modules off until closer to the exam and just tell yourself that you’ll get to it later. Don’t. The worst is when you’re extremely behind and have to catch up/learn new material before an exam. Stay organized and follow the syllabus.
  9. You won’t touch your stethoscope until January… but you will learn how to use it… eventually!! Speaking of which, you don’t have to get the fanciest, most expensive stethoscope. The Littmann Classic III will work just fine. Save your money and don’t fall into the same trap as I did!
    •  You can find them online here  and I would also recommend getting a case for it too from here 
  10. You will be fine. You may think that the transition into medical school is going to be extremely challenging and you’re going to be studying all the time, and that is not the case. You will be fine. Take a breath and enjoy the amazing journey you are about to begin!

Those are my pearls of wisdom after one year of medical school. I hope you all enjoy your time as a medical student and enjoy your summer before starting! Be social, make new friends, and take advantage of your time as a first year medical student. It is so special!


The Girly MD (to be)



  1. Julia
    June 9, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    Hi there!

    Can you do a blog post or video explaining finances, students loans and/or line of credits for Canadian medical students?


    • thegirlymd
      December 10, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      Hi! I can definitely do that. I might make a YouTube video instead of a written blog post, so keep an eye out for it! 🙂

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