Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Life Outside of Medicine

It's official. I need to get a life. This isn't an epiphany I've had after getting particularly excited about some trivial scientific finding or having yet another rant about the misuse of apostrophes (although I confess they are both frequent occurrences). This is the realisation that when several senior, experienced people tell you something often enough, they are quite likely to be correct.

I did, once upon a time, have a life. When I was doing my first degree I was very involved with the drama society (committee positions, acting, directing...), I was a class rep on numerous occasions, I did all sorts of things with the student's association, I volunteered for several charities... In and around all this, I managed to somehow do enough work to get a good degree, had a job and went out a fair amount.

My descent into loserville began quite slowly but started at about the same time I got into medical school. As I was staying at the same university, I'd been elected onto the drama society committee again. Unfortunately, because the medical school is on a different campus to the rest of the university and because I had a fairly full timetable, I wasn't able to make the majority of meetings, so I had to resign almost immediately. For my first couple of years, I was still quite involved in the student's association, but as fourth year started and I got busier, I had to take a back seat with committees. Irregular holidays which no longer occurred at the same times as school holidays meant I was no longer able to volunteer at holiday play schemes.

I don't say any of this to moan - it's hardly an unusual set of circumstances and I'd be surprised if a lot of other medical students haven't found the same thing. Towards the end of last year, when I was revising all hours for my exams, I basically stopped doing everything - drinking, socialising, going to the gym...

This has got to change. I may sit here argue that medicine is what I enjoy and what makes me happy, but I'm only kidding myself when I say that I'll get through my foundation jobs without some other hobby or thing to do. My social life has taken a bit of a battering this year because my friends are on placements here, there and everywhere so there are fewer people around to do things with.

From now on, I'm going to make a concerted effort to do things. Non medical things. Things that I'm not doing to help me with exams or boost my CV or make contacts. Things that I'll be doing just because I enjoy them. Tonight, I'm meeting with a friend I haven't seen in years for a drink and a catch-up. As I haven't been out socially since before Christmas, I feel that this is a decent start. I'm also looking at local bands/orchestras to see whether there is anything I could join. I was really into music whilst I was at school but have neglected it recently. I've had a bit of a dodgy chest recently, but once that's cleared I'm going to get back into going to the gym. Rather than just doing my own thing though, I'm going to try and get to some classes, that way I might meet new people as well as exercising.

I'm a bit out of ideas for now but I'm definitely going to take this "getting out more" things seriously. Oh, and I'm not doing any revision at the weekends anymore. Not until nearer exams, anyway!

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