It’s the middle of the school year and maybe this time you must be surrounded by a dark cloud of negativity. The pressure is mounting and so are your grade deficits. At this point of the journey, the future seems bleak. Each day you sink deeper in what seems to be a quicksand, that is medical school. So here’s some quick new ideas to help you get out of danger.
1. Minimize social media usage – in case you didn’t notice this is time consuming and mentally unhealthy. Don’t fear on missing out, you don’t have to know what your high school batch mate is doing for his latest escapade. Or your college friend who recently got engaged. These are news that make you sulky for the next 10 minutes. It makes you doubt your choice of taking up medicine when you could have chosen a different path like your “non-showbiz”friends.
2. Friends – we cannot overemphasize the importance of being with the right people, no matter what season of your life you are in. Some are meant to stay; some are meant to only pass by. Those who are meant to leave, don’t clung on to them. Choose your friends wisely. In medical school, those who you are with can make or break you. Choose friends who are sincere and self-giving. Choose those who would not turn a blind eye on your mistakes but lovingly correct you. Avoid people who doubt you. Avoid those who don’t rejoice on your small and big victories. Avoid the fake ones, who kept saying they didn’t study just to give you false hope and comfort that you are on the same sinking boat. You don’t deserve those kinds of people.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33
3. Read books, real books – there are no shortcuts in learning medicine. Your handouts with bullet points may help you survive your exam, but passing the exam is not the goal. Your goal is to be a legit physician. You can never go wrong with reading your books. Set a schedule for it. If you are on semestral break, don’t splurge on TV marathons or social meet ups. Do advance reading for the next semester.
4. Be grade conscious – yes please. Never dull your sparkle because others refuse to shine. All along, maybe you are meant to fly high, don’t let others keep breaking your wings.
5. Study with quality not quantity. While it is important to study as much as you can, it is more important that you understand what you have studied. It doesn’t matter if you have stayed up until 4am if you can’t explain what you have read, it is not counted as studying. The game does not give score for most handouts highlighted rather it rewards those who have mastered most (if not all) of the topics.
6.Believe in yourself – believe you can because you could. How you define yourself determines your actions. If you see yourself as a loser, you act like one. But if you see yourself as a doctor, you start acting like one. You start acting with passion, compassion, eagerness and love for learning. Right now, reflect on how you see yourself.
7. Don’t make ranting a hobby – because this is emotionally tiring. It also affects people around you. Your rant might trigger anger, frustration or sadness on others. School is making you physically and mentally tired enough. You don’t want another aspect of you getting tired. Get a stress ball. Go to your room. Cry. Pray. Call a friend or mentor, to tell how you are feeling. Move on. Tomorrow is another day.
8. Rest – always make sure to put margins. Sleepless nights, while it sounds studious, is not healthy and is over the top. You have to sleep. And besides that’s how you convert your short term memory to long term. Do not be insecure that you have had a good sleep the night before a major exam (for as long as you studied).
9. Stop wishing for it to be over. Live in the moment. Maximize the season of you’re life that you are in medical school. Once it’s over, there is no going back. Find ways to enjoy it. Be without regrets. 10 years from now, when someone asks you “given the chance, would you choose to go to medical school over again and be a doctor?”, hopefully, your answer is a resounding, “YES!” It is difficult but it was one of the best days of your life.
Wether you will reach the finish line alive depends on a series of small decisions you make. Your everyday are the pixels that make up the big picture. It’s up to you if you want the image dark and gloomy or alive and vibrant. Don’t die for your dreams, always live for it.