Many people, even those who aren’t studying medicine, are aware of how difficult the path to becoming a medical doctor is. It requires an immense amount of mental fortitude and endurance. We often hear about the obvious requirements in getting into medical school, but it is not very often that we are exposed to unique and creative steps that can be taken to get there. Here are five ways that you can stay focused and hopefully achieve your dreams of making it into medical school.

Make a timeline of both short-term and long-term goals that you plan to accomplish from now until you make it to medical school

In making and keeping a timeline, it’s hard to lose track of the things you need to accomplish by a certain time. The goals kept can be as short-term as turning in a paper on time to as long-term as dates that you plan on submitting parts of your medical school application. When doing this be sure to mark the more important or long term goals with a specific color so that they will attract your attention more easily and you won’t forget about them. Just a pointer.

Have an accountability partner, preferably someone who also plans on going to medical school

Having someone to hold you accountable is extremely important when working towards any goal you want to achieve. It is easy to get distracted and end up wasting a bunch of time, especially when the task that you are supposed to be doing isn’t exactly fun or desirable. Having somebody to keep you in check can greatly reduce the time you spend messing around.

Take one step at time. In other words, focus on one thing at a time.

When looking on the path to medical school acceptance, there’s a dreadful lists of things you need to complete, and that’s not even considering the 15-19 hour course load you’re already dealing with. If you’re a freshman or a sophomore, three’s no need stressing over the intricate details of the MCAT. Focus on your courses, volunteer hours, shadowing experience, or research, there’s a time for everything. The more you try to tackle everything at once, the more you will tend to get bogged down by the immense amount of work required.

 Keep in contact with people who have done it before

If you know a doctor or a medical school student, you already have an advantage. Communicate with these people. They have already gotten accepted to medical school so off the bat they already know the key to acceptance that you’re so desperate to figure out. Keep in contact with these people to ensure that you’re doing the right thing at the right time. There is no better guide to accomplishing a goal than somebody who has already accomplished that specific goal. Find someone and hang tight to them, they could be the difference between acceptance and rejection from medical school.

Lastly, keep your eyes on the prize

Remember how appealing the end goal is. Becoming a doctor- if you’re on the premedical path, should be your dream goal and occupation. If you keep in mind that after the long grind and all the hard work, that you will finally be able to wear that white coat and officially be a doctor, it will be much easier to get through the tedious coursework and demands that you are faced with on a daily basis. Keep this mentality and it will be very difficult to lose focus. Of course, this last, and probably most important step, is only possible if you are able to delay gratification. However, once you are able to do this, you will experience growth and thrive on your path to becoming a medical doctor like never before.