Three ways to stay sane while studying medicine

First year medicine student, Eddy, shares his crucial tips on how to remain as sane as possible while studying the Doctor of Medicine. If you are interested in studying medicine at UQ but not sure where to start? Check out, How to study medicine at UQ or get in touch

1. Don’t waste time - make friends!

Medicine friends. That's me, second from the left.

There’s way too much to keep up to speed with in medicine, from the intense lectures to those pesky assignment due dates, all while remembering to wash your hands at the start of a cardiac exam. Friends are an invaluable resource for keeping you on top of your med game, as well as providing vital stress relief and banter.

There are a million opportunities available for you to meet new people right from the start of 1st semester.  As you’ll be studying together for four years there’s a good chance you’ll be making some life-long friends – may as well get the ball rolling right away! The Medical Students’ Society kick off the year with Sports Day (not the type that you remember from high school). This involves a pub crawl dressed in scrubs, followed by a smashing time in Dutton Park involving jelly baths, slip and slides, and a jumping castle; perfect social lubricants involving all four year levels.

There are many more parties that they organise throughout the semester (including med Camp) so stay tuned and get involved, but don’t stop there. Be proactive – hang out with your peers after CBL tutorial (case-based learning), start a conversation with whoever you sit next to in a lecture, sacrifice a few bucks and buy someone a coffee. The important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same situation; nervous about starting medicine, often new to Brisbane, and shy about sparking up a conversation with a stranger.

2. Get away from uni

North Stradbroke Island

Being an interstate student, my favourite thing about studying at UQ is the location. There are so many great places to check out on weekends. The beaches close-by are rated as some of the best in the world and include the options of going north to the Sunshine Coast, south to the Gold Coast or even out to Stradbroke Island. Whichever option you choose, it only takes about 60-90 minutes to drive/ferry to blue waves and breath-taking beaches. The Gold Coast is also only about an hour train ride if you’re lacking a vehicle or are an environmental warrior.

If sand between your toes doesn’t do it for you, then you could always get back to nature in the plethora of national parks scattered around Brisbane. From rock climbing in the Sunny Coast hinterland, to waterfall chasing inland of the Goldy, or - if you are really keen - how about a sneaky hike up to Mt Coot-tha for a beautiful view over the city. There’s something for everyone with a taste for the outdoors in beautiful sunny Queensland. My personal favourite weekend getaway listed here is North Stradbroke Island. It’s a bit more effort to get to (drive to the bayside, then a ferry trip) but it is worth the travel time with the great surf, beautiful walks and minimal crowds.

3. Eat oats


Studying med can be consuming – from the long days to the sleepless nights. There’s often not much time to work… or eat… or sleep. Oats are something I have learned to swear by; packed with nutrition they’ll keep you full through those six-hour prac days when you only have time for snacks between classes. They only take a minute in the microwave and are oat-rageously delicious (see recipe ideas below). At less than $2/kg, one packet will get you through a fortnight worth of breakfasts. Here’s a summary of just a few of the nutritional benefits:

  • Low GI – to power you through those long days and sometimes nights.

  • High in fibre – helps to control your blood sugar levels throughout the day.

  • Protein – studying med doesn’t mean you can’t bulk.

  • Magnesium – great for managing stress levels.

  • Vitamin B1- which converts food (carbs) into fuel (glucose), giving you plenty of energy.

    A personal favourite recipe idea of mine: Add to your oats; sliced pear, dates, orange rind, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and some crushed walnuts for those brain-loving omegas and protein.  Check out @theoatmealappeal for more recipe ideas.

About the author…

I'm Eddy, currently in my 1st year of Medicine at UQ. I completed my undergrad at Melbourne University with a bachelor of biomedicine and a major in neuroscience. Melbourne is my home town, but I've also spent a semester abroad in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia. Passions of mine include surfing, camping, cooking and playing guitar. My ultimate goal is to work around the world as a doctor, treating and educating in third world and developed countries. As such, I'm considering further studies in the area of public health.

Last updated:
23 January 2017