Life After Medical School~What To Expect.

By berrysmotivation - May 30, 2019

I remember the start of medical school, I felt really excited and ambitious. I liked the whole white coat idea from first year, I sent multiple pictures home on my first day in med school wearing my white coat. It was a very exciting period for me and I didn't really feel the stress but pushed myself even more to get good grades. On summer holidays, I would go back home to Nigeria and before I even get to a place, I would be introduced as a medical student, soon to be medical doctor. There was so much pride and prestige at the time, most of my demands met and I felt really supported by my family. Going further in medical school, even though I remained ambitious, I noticed it wasn't as it was in my first year. I needed motivation to keep going so every time I would go on placements in hospitals just to get the boost of energy I needed to push further.  It was a smooth journey in all but it could have been better. In final year most of us started to get really anxious, we didn't have a plan, we were confused on the path to take or what to expect after graduation. Upon graduation, it was like reality suddenly struck, not having much to work with in terms of mentors and guidance or even options to play with. I faced a whole new world of challenges, decisions and massive change. I really didn't know what to expect so I faced the challenges as they came. If I had to go back in time, it would be to have the opportunity to get told those things I wasn't told, to have a better plan on what exams to take, to have involved myself more in things that would be beneficial to my career, to have a mentor and to get guided in every way possible.

So what really happens after graduation?

1. Independence: Depends on your background and more but all the pocket money stops or reduces because your are obviously not in school anymore. Some parents are happy to guide you till you find your feet but some have other responsibilities that yours may become secondary. To deal with this, you have to be ready mentally and of course be ready to face the real world. You have to be ready for more responsibilities.

2. Exams: There are multiple exams to write. It is endless as long as you aim to become a consultant. I studied out of my home country and to work as a doctor in my country Nigeria I needed to take the licensing exam. I decided to practice medicine in the U.K afterwards, that also required me to take series of exams(PLAB) to get licensed in the U.K. Getting into residency, I needed to take exams to get in and it hasn't ended as before I finally qualify to become a GP, I have few more exams to take, so the stress in med school is just the start of it. Upon graduation I tell people to mentally prepare themselves for what lies ahead. Deciding early enough on what exams you plan to take and how to prepare for those exams saves you so much time and energy. This is where the berrysmotivation online counselling comes in handy. Sign up here

3. The Real World: By the real world I mean, a world of independence as I said before, a world filled with multiple exams, a world of increasing responsibilities, challenges, big decisions and in some cases career change. You can't fully prepare yourself for this but being aware that it isn't going to be same as being a student gives you a great percentage of preparation to face the real world. I had a friend who totally left medicine. Real life happened when that decision was made, there was the obvious guilt and thoughts to return to medicine but she had to stick with what she wanted. It took lots of sacrifices and much more challenges than anticipated but eventually she did find a path that worked for her. In this case some people may be left hanging, caught between making certain decisions and may be left stranded in the end. That is the real world, when things don't go as planned.

4. Family: After medical school, you move at least steps closer to starting your own family, having children and being a parent if you have plans to start one. With my African background, I knew I was going to be constantly reminded of the need to start a family early (when will you get married is the non stop song that you keep hearing every time you get that phone call from home or you visit home) you have to face this because it is life as we know it. Starting a family may slow things down, I mean just a little or so much it all depends on you. Having kids whilst in training may slow things even more, so the best way to deal with this is leaving medical school with a plan. Know where you want to be, know what exams you want to take, know when you want to start a family and be prepared. These plans help you make decisions faster so when you meet your spouse you plan in line with what you already have planned out and you both can work things out.

5. Uncertainties: Things may not always go as planned. There may be delays in passing some exams, or even getting a job. Funds may not be available, changes will occur. After medical school I was lucky to have things pan out the way I wanted. I finished exams, internship and NYSC at the time I wanted and luckily I started a family just at the right time. Not everyone around me got lucky, some had delays, some had spouses that wanted to remain in certain parts of the world and that wasn't in tune with their plans but they certainly had to compromise. To be aware that things can change is the first step to dealing with changes when they occur. Be flexible with your plans but know what you want and what you hope to achieve.

Becoming a medical doctor is amazing, an experience that cannot be bought. To enjoy the journey, you have to be prepared and start well. Do not leave things till later. Take exams early whilst you can, seek opportunities early enough but make sure you enjoy every bit of the journey.

You can benefit from the BERRYSMOTIVATION ONLINE MENTORING SESSIONS. If you are a medical student, seeking guidance on a path to take, exams to write, what country to practice or you just need to be guided as you make progress in medical school then you can get in touch by sending an email to or simply feel the contact form here 

Dr Mute.

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