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Wellness Words to Live by in Medical School


What do family, self-care, friends, running and dancing have in common? Wellness, of course! The Orientation Committee, a team of second-year medical students, is excited to welcome the Class of 2022 to the IU School of Medicine family. To set you up for success, they’ve shared some of their top wellness tips… and words. What are your wellness words?

Wellness Word: Family

Orientation committee member: Rebekah Roll
I am not going to lie, first year is hard. The pace and depth of the material can be a whirlwind. Not to mention, this could be a transition to a new city, away from your usual support system. While I was fortunate to get to stay near my family and in my hometown, I had to adjust to all the new things that come along with medical school.

To keep myself going, I always made sure to make time for my family. A coffee with mom. A dinner with my parents. A night out with my siblings. A midnight conversation on life with my husband. All the above. It could have been very easy to say no to these small dates that seem to take up “too much study time.” However, always make time for the people you love. It kept me grounded. Whatever family means to you, make time for them. It will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the rigors of whatever lies next.

Wellness Word: Self-Care

Orientation committee member: Jarrett Campbell
Though I have never been one to watch “Parks and Rec”, if there is one motto by which I live my life, it is “treat yo self”. Now more than ever, it is so important that you establish routine ways to maximize your self-care. In starting medical school, some of you may find it difficult to adjust to the rigor of the work but know you will not be alone in this! Establishing a routine that does not neglect your well-being is essential to optimizing your performance the next couple of years.  As someone who struggled this past year with maintaining a schedule especially when it came to getting adequate sleep, I will personally testify how much self-care matters, and that being said, here are my five quick tips to maximizing your wellness through good self-care.

  1. You do you: Don’t compare yourself to your classmates. Do what is best for your success.
  2. Take time to splurge: It’s ok to buy that diet coke from McDonald’s to get you through the day.
  3. We’re all in this together: If you are having trouble establishing a routine, ask your classmates to hold you accountable.
  4. Go into hibernation: If you need that extra hour to be productive during the day, you take that extra hour.
  5. Step by step: Take the days one at a time, don’t constantly stress on the future, and truly try to cherish and enjoy medical school.

Wellness Word: Dancing

Orientation committee member: Gabe Gerena
The wellness word that perfectly sums up my wellness experience for the 2017-2018 school year is dancing. From the time I was six years old, my mom would encourage my siblings and I to dance salsa with her every morning before heading out to school. By the time I was 10 it was routine: wake up, eat breakfast, salsa (not the food), school. Repeat. Little did I know that these same practices would help me decompress after a long day of meetings and studying in medical school. I truly believe it is important for us to hold onto those things/hobbies we love as these are the things that keep us grounded and human. It is very easy to get caught up in the life of studying all the time, but I can reassure you that holding onto those things you love doing will make your medical school experience much more enriching!

Wellness Word: Friends

Orientation committee member: Eric Galante
One thing I’ve learned in medical school is that the people you surround yourself with make a world of difference in terms of your ability to enjoy the year. Med school is hard – that is something we all understand and deal with. But making friends who you share this experience with, both in good times and harder times, can make it much easier. Some people might be coming in knowing more people in the class than others. If you’re like me, I came in not really knowing anyone. Through anatomy lab, late nights at the library, lunches in Daly, etc., it’s safe to say I’ve already made some life-long friends here at IU School of Medicine, and I know you all will too.

My picture is of a hike that a bunch of classmates did on a Saturday after a neuroanatomy exam. We hiked, cooked lunch and played sports at McCormick’s Creek State Park. Whether it be a large planned activity like in the picture, or just a small get-together to grill out at your apartment, spending time with friends and participating in wellness activities is vital to getting through school. You’ll hear this echoed by everyone throughout your medical careers (not that I’m speaking from experience, clearly, just a confident assumption). If there’s one thing to take away from all of my babbling, it’s to not go through this alone. Find a support system of friends and cherish it.

Wellness Word: Running

Orientation committee member: Emily Cage
When I think of wellness, I think of running. Two years ago, I made a random New Year’s resolution to run a 5K. I was definitely not a runner, and I felt like passing out after a quarter mile on my first day of training. However, it slowly became easier over time, and eventually running turned into something that I actually enjoy (crazy, right?). I’m incredibly slow, and there are days where I really struggle, but I still love it. This photo was taken as I was finishing my first half-marathon earlier this year. Never in a million years did I think I would ever be able to do something like that, but it felt amazing!

Although medical school can be stressful and overwhelming sometimes, I make it a priority to exercise regularly. To me, this is a key part of wellness. Running (and other forms of exercise) can be a good study break and stress reliever, and it feels great to get up and be active after sitting at a desk and studying all day. It also helps if you make exercising fun! Long story short: if there’s something that you enjoy doing now, don’t give it up in medical school just because you think you have to study. Keep doing the things that make you happy – and stay active!

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.

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