At times studying can be very exciting. Other times, not so much, it can seem daunting and monotonous. In medicine, consistent studying is a necessary evil because there is SO much information that you must know cold. However, the practical application of what you learn from your studies is extremely rewarding – which is why most of us pursue a career in medicine.
Yes, studying is a necessity, but over-studying is absolutely a real thing. Overstudying tends to happen in transitions of your education; for example, from high school-to-college, college-to-graduate school, and so on. It’s not always because of the content, but also because of the change in environment and volume at which the material is being delivered. Sometimes individuals believe that study habits that were developed in previous education experiences translate directly. However, it turns out that most individuals must still adapt their study strategies as they advance in their education. Most students are unaware of the need to adapt. Instead, they will try to compensate by either studying countless hours or just try to cram. It may sound cliché, but there really is a way to study smarter, not harder.
Over-studying leads to time wasted, which usually leads to a lack of sleep. Lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation, has been proven to have detrimental effects on cognition, including alertness, memory, and executive function. An individual’s attentional lapses become longer and more frequent. It can also cause an individual’s mood to become more labile by lowering frustration tolerance. Yes, sleep deprivation has all of these effects on the body and more. Can you imagine how this can affect an individual who is trying to study new material? This can lead to poor performance on exams, which exacerbates (test) anxiety. It is a horribly vicious cycle.
It addition to this, people with aspirations to go to medical school or people in medical school are often at fault for over-studying. Many students get lost in this culture, creating added pressure to be an overstudy-er. It may be hard to believe now, but this is what we’ll leave you within this article:
If for no other reason, it would behoove you to learn how to study efficiently sooner than later. While a consistently sleep-deprived student is a disservice to themself, a sleep-deprived physician is a disservice to the community and their patients.