Medical school is no piece of cake. So many people used this analogy to describe medical school: drinking water out of a fire hydrant. Although I came into med school last year extremely skeptical of this (because literally everyone told me this so I thought it was just a cliche!), I have to concede that often times I do really feel like that! There is just an incredible amount of information we’re expected to learn in such a short period of time that I feel like every day passes by so quickly (because I basically just study all day when I’m not in class!).
Everyone has different study methods and habits as well as different ways of time management, but one thing I’ve tried really hard to do to keep a good work-life balance in spite of all the crazy workload is that I try to get a lot of work done over the weekdays so I can do relatively little on the weekends. In fact, during my first year, I can probably count on the fingers of my hands the number of weekends that I actually did a good amount of studying. Obviously I studied a lot if I had an exam on a Monday, but generally, I tried to get most of my work done Monday through Friday so that I could spend my weekends with my friends (especially friends outside of med school since I couldn’t see them any other time!) and my boyfriend (who has a regular Mon-Fri job so typically has weekends free). At first, I admittedly felt guilty when I would see other people working hard over the weekends, but I grew to learn that it was counterproductive and unhealthy to compare your study habits to others (probably one of the most important lessons to learn in the first year of med school, in my opinion). What works for you may not work for anyone else, and there’s no need to feel like you should do exactly what everyone else is doing. Working harder on the weekdays to have weekends relatively free to spend time with people I couldn’t during the weekdays worked for me and I enjoyed this system, so I kept it! Second year has been a little busier so I’ve had to do some work every weekend, but I still like to spend most of my weekends relaxing and spending time with loved ones. It’s tough to find this “work”-life balance that works for you, especially in med school where if often feels like no amount of studying is ever enough, but it is so important to take care of yourself and do what makes you happy, like I was when I got to relax during this vineyard outing!