By Oshadhi Rodrigo
A happy AND productive medical student? Yes it’s possible, and no I’m not lying. Medical school can be tough. The long hours spent reading and the rest spent at the hospital can be exhausting at times, but you don’t have to put your happiness and mental health at stake to perform well! Here are my tips to accomplish both.
Plan your week ahead and plan it smart! Write down your top priority goals for the week so you can allocate enough time to prepare for those. As your week goes by, have a mini task list for the day with not more than five things to do. Staying organized and being aware of your plans will give you mental clarity and it will keep you on top of your game!
Find the time of day you have razor sharp focus. It can be any time of the day, early mornings at your desk, afternoons at a coffee shop, at the library or late at night. These are your super hours! You will understand and remember your material better during this time rather than pulling an all-nighter.
Take one day at a time. It’s pointless asking medical students not to stress so I’m not going to. But you don’t have to stress about everything at once. Worry about one thing at a time. It’s impossible on a human level to get everything done in one day and it’s alright.
Take refreshing breaks. Step outside and get some air, talk to a friend, exercise, dance, Have a snack, sing your lungs out! Do something fun and something that you love. It helps to avoid burnout. While you recharge, do not think about work.
Keep your cheer squad close! There are going to be days you don’t feel your best. It happens to everyone, you’re not alone. Having friends and family who have your back is a blessing during tough times.
Have mentors. You need expert advice and guidance from pros. They have been there and gone through the same process. It will give you new insight about things.
Don’t chase perfection. Circumstances won’t be ideal all the time. There will be last minute changes of plans, some things will be postponed, some will be rescheduled and sometimes the situation will be quite uncertain. So start with what you have, with what you know, do your best and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself! It’s okay to not have everything figured out.
Have hobbies and interests completely irrelevant to medicine! It can be cooking ,painting, hiking, yoga, writing… even fifteen minutes spent on these daily will help you calm down and rejuvenate.
Celebrate all your victories! Doesn’t matter how small. Reward yourself. You’re doing your best!
It’s important to take time to relax and have a healthy mindset about everything. If you’re happy and content there’s nothing that you can’t do.
Oshadhi Rodrigo is a fourth year medical student at Tbilisi State Medical University, Georgia. She is interested in pursuing a surgical speciality and is an advocate for empowering ladies in surgery. In her spare time, you can find her watching a sunset or playing with her fur babies. Instagram handle – oshii_rodrigo
Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.