I think the most important thing for any incoming medical student to know is that there is absolutely no shame in getting tutoring. Some of the smartest people I know have gotten tutoring at one time or another during their time at UAMS, whether formally through Dr. Vuk and her awesome peer tutors, or just through friends who seem to understand a particular subject better than others. The thing about medical school is that it’s a whole new style of learning with an overwhelming number of resources – and the resources that work for your classmates may not work best for you! Doing well in medical school is a constant process of refining your method of studying, and getting help from people who have gone through it before is one of the best and most efficient ways to do this. Each and every one of you will struggle at some point and feel like it is impossible – just know that eager and non-judgmental help is available with a simple phone call, email, or bat signal.
If you are considering becoming a peer tutor, I cannot tell you enough how much it benefitted me last year. If there is one thing I have learned over these crazy challenging past two years of medical school, it is that the best way to learn something is by teaching it to another person. In order to teach someone a concept, you are forced to understand something deeply enough to put it into your own words and answer questions you could never think of yourself. I am absolutely convinced that my success so far has been largely due to teaching others, whether through Dr. Vuk and formal peer tutoring, or just by explaining a difficult concept to a close friend. Plus, it’s a great way to make friends with underclassmen you may not normally get to spend much time with and feel like you are making a real difference for those in the same place you were last year.
So, to sum up – whether you are considering getting tutoring or being a tutor, you should absolutely do it. If you find it’s not for you, you can always stop at any time; my bet, though, is that you will be surprised at just how much you find yourself benefiting from it. Good luck this next year, and if you ever need any help please feel free to ask any of us!Natashia Bottoms, College of Medicine Class 2017