The busyness involved with being a medical student is something we are all familiar with. In addition to the time spent studying often there are other things which take up our time. Living out of home, I work part-time each week to support myself financially, and am involved in various personal and university projects. With all of this, my time was precious and I was getting increasingly stressed without being able to fully admit it to myself.
The realisation came to me when I was visiting home one evening and bumped into my neighbour talking to my brother. Happy smiles turned tight lipped as a few minutes chatting turned into ten minutes and then half an hour. In my mind, I didn’t have this time to waste. In my annoyed and stressed state, when I finally walked back into the house I got frustrated at my brother who I hadn’t seen for a couple weeks.
The incident made me realise not only how much I was overcommitting myself, but the amount of time I was spending on things that had become a chore and did not make me happy. In contrast, I was spending less time with family and friends and more importantly, having less down time for myself, meaning I never gave myself a chance to relax and unwind from everything I was doing both at uni and then outside of it. ‘You make time for the things that matter’ – trite though it may be, it is a saying that we need to constantly remind ourselves of. This re-evaluation has forced me to consider my priorities and make time – to read, write and reflect, and to see the people who matter to me (yes, even if it means cutting something else from your life!). Personally, having that quiet time is so important, but equally so is being surrounded by supportive people who can help me wind down and ultimately keep me sane.