How to stay sane in medical school? Not a guide.

Friday, June 15, 2018

It's that time of the year again.

Few more days and we're back in school again.

Medical school can take up so much of your time that sometimes you forget to enjoy your life. This year, I made a promise to myself to live my life in the best possible way I could despite the hectic schedule in school – to watch as much movie as I can, go to places that I've always wanted to visit, eat on restaurants that I've always wanted to try, etc. Doing all these without compromising my performance in school. It is a tough thing to do because you have to discipline yourself in order to make things work.

Now, the question is: how do you keep yourself sane as a medical student?

Make a study schedule and stick to it.
During my second year, exams were pouring in almost every month with just a week (or two) of rest. It was almost always never enough. Everyone I know, including myself, was having a hard time studying because we would usually have 2-3 exams every day. It was very stressful, I swear. After the second module exams, I realized that the best way to overcome this problem was to make a study schedule and stick to it. I always list down the schedule of exams and prioritize things. Which subject should I focus more? Which topic should I run through again?

Be consistent and stick to your study schedule. Know when to study and when to take breaks, but never beat yourself up if you can't do that perfectly. At some point you might find yourself questioning your abilities, and think you’re incapable of doing anything. Just shrug it off and always do your best in every exams so you won't have any regrets later on. Always remember your reasons why you wanted to become a doctor. Never lose touch to your dreamy self before med school.

Rest/Sleep if you must!
When studying, sometimes I tend to lose track of time especially when there's caffeine in my system. My mom would always remind me about this. I was never the student who prefers studying late at night. I was the kind of student who studies after class and sleeps at wee hours of the day. There were few times that I was not able to get proper sleep and I always end up getting mental block *kroo*. Just remember that resting well is just as important as studying and working hard.

Always have a positive mind set.
Most of the days would be shitty, but don't let this get to you. Always let go of the things that doesn't make you happy. Having a positive mind set attracts good vibes and having good vibes attracts good grades. Despite having a bad day, always look on the brighter side of the day. Never listen to that voice inside our heads telling us that we aren't good enough, smart enough, etc. Look for reasons to be thankful for and remind yourself that your grades does not define what kind of doctor you will be in the future. Always be humble and compassionate.

Avoid comparing yourself to others.
Much of the stress in med school occurs because we look at others and feel inadequate compared to them. In med school, grounds will never be equal. There will always be someone smarter than you but that does not mean you are inadequate. Understand that everyone is going through something, everyone has their own insecurities. It might look like they have everything under control, but you have no idea what is going on in his or her head. Everyone has their own struggles, no matter how put-together they look. Be kind and learn to appreciate rather than hate.

Never isolate yourself.
Stay sane by spending quality time with people who matters to you. Whether it’s your family, significant other, classmates or friends, make an effort to be with other people and never isolate yourself.

There is so much that needs to be done all of the time and every time, you will never feel fully satisfied. Between learning the flood of information, keeping up with extracurricular activities, maintaining relationships in your life, having a healthy and active lifestyle – all the while performing all of them well, at a certain point it is simply impossible. It is no secret that med school is tough. It will break you apart, tear you into pieces, make you cry buckets of tears and question your abilities, but it will also teach you a lot of things about yourself, about life, about people.

Always remind yourself this: It is not just about having good grades. You also have to prioritize your well-being. Take a break if everything overwhelms you. Meditate, pray, find your balance, find your peace. Keeping yourself sane in this long and unwinding road to MD is not impossible. Your overall health is as much important as getting good grades.
In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.

You Might Also Like