As far as I am aware of, at least most medical schools have it so that your first semester would consist of the basic science courses. In other words, it is second semester when you start going more into a system based system, studying the illnesses and drugs for that system. Since they are differently structured, how does second semester compare to the first?
You will hear a lot of different things because everyone is a bit different, so take what I say with a grain a salt. However, so far, second semester has been tremendously better. Now I know it is still the beginning, but I remember my state around this time last semester. Compared to that, I feel a lot more at ease and confident in learning the material, it also has a logical flow to it which is vastly different from the subject jumps you get with all your basic science courses.
Of course, there is an element of you getting used to the barrage of material. Furthermore, you do get better at studying and managing your time. At least you really should, else you will feel the burn again. However, with everything mentioned above, things will start to follow more of a smooth path and you start finding some time for yourselves, and this is very important. You need to take care of yourself, otherwise you might not be able to take care of others at optimal capacity. It doesn’t matter what it means to take care of yourself, though I’d say healthy eating habits, sleeping habits, and exercise are the biggest three. However, there is the mental aspect of it as well. That means some people find relief from eating out with friends on occasion, or playing video games for an hour a night. Find a way to do that while not compromising your studying, then you will find yourself able to continue to study for longer periods of time because there is that reward.
There might be several of you who know all this before school, because you learned it in undergraduate, high school, wherever. In that case, good for you! I truly mean that, I am just speaking of from what I had to learn about myself within just one year. This path definitely requires some maturity growth.