I remember during undergrad when I used to scan the different perspectives and insights on Medscape’s blog, The Differential. I thought it was helpful to get some idea of what life would be like in the upcoming years. As those who begin medical school put in the time to gain admission, we all had a different degree of understanding of the culture in medical school.Some of my classmates are the third sibling and fourth generation in their family to study medicine and others, like myself, are walking a somewhat foreign path with no other family in medicine and discovering as they go. So as I begin writing I hope to be a helpful voice for premedical and other medical students. I’ll aim to remain as honest and authentic while hopefully providing some perspective compelling enough to be beneficial to most readers.Now that I am nearing the end of medical school, one thing that I am much more conscious of is daily self-renewal. I suspect this realization could also be attributable to becoming a more mature adult and handling the tribulations of adulthood… Everyone in medical school is here because they are achievement oriented to some extent. Ideally this achievement orientation is connected to a bigger meaning and purpose and not for narcissistic reasons – for the future of medicine and our own happiness.. Academically and to the outside eye, an individual may be excelling. But on an emotional or mental well being level, they may be bordering a state of burnout. I believe everyone experiences this to some degree throughout medical school at one point or another. This phenomenon is not exclusive to medical school either it happens to individuals everywhere. In order to sustain being at my best, I think it took me about two years to make it a habit of taking mindful steps on a daily basis for self-renewal.I think one of the biggest misconceptions so many in our generation hold, is the belief that once they reach the next big accomplishment, THEN they can be happy. Whether it be scores on exams, one’s top choice on their match list, or that next job – none of those accomplishments will suddenly transform us. I recognize that those things are very important but like many diseases in medicine, the medications we use have a marginal impact on altering natural history of a disease in comparison to preventing a disease and maintaining optimal health before the progression begins. Some of the essentials I have found for finding self-renewal are routinely investing time with friends and family. This social capitol makes a big impact for refueling your mind to jump through life’s hoops and challenges throughout medical school. Being proactive about it allows you to balance having a social life and still doing well in medical school. You may not always be the most spontaneous individual among your friends but it’s very doable. One other thing I find very meaningful is planning fun by investing time and money on experiences rather than things. Experiences are unique, social, and they improve over time because we adapt to them slowly unlike the way we grow accustomed to material items. These self-renewalhabits are not profound but they are easy to ignore amidst becoming a doctor or simply a morebusy, mature adult.
Here’s a link to a TED talk about some wisdom on the impact of relationships. https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness?language=en#t-381735
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.