Studying medicine can be isolating for students both socially and geographically. The large volume of study required can render students time poor meaning that they simply don’t have spare time to spend with family and friends. Additionally, your medical school or clinical placement might be in a city or state far from where your social circles are based.
Scenario 1 – Not enough time
I’m spending so much time studying and trying to stay on top of the workload that I don’t have anytime for people who are important to me.
Every university has a student and academic support services unit that can help students improve their study techniques and manage their time effectively.
Although studying medicine requires a significant amount of time and dedication, it is important to stay physically and mentally healthy. Making some time for family and friends as well as pastimes is very important. All medical students struggle with maintaining a positive work-life balance at some stage during their studies. There are many productivity apps that can help students keep manage their time as well as study objectives. Apps such as Evernote, Wunderlist and WorkFlowy are just some of the helpful apps commonly used by medical students.
Scenario 2 – Geographic Isolation
My clinical placement this year is rural and I am a long drive away from my family home and where all my friends live.
Skype, IM apps, email, etc
Become involved in the area you’re placed in. Do things that you would normally enjoy at home such as joining a gym or sports team.
You don’t always have to go back to your family home/area to catch up with people. Encourage friends and family to visit you in the town/area you’ve been placed in.
Build and establish a new network of friends and colleagues in the area you are based. Students in higher year levels and junior doctors can make for great friends and mentors.