Assessing Priorities for Balancing Personal Life, School of Medicine | Medical school admissions doctor


Identifying the activities most important to a fulfilling life can help medical students avoid burnout and achieve career success.iStockphoto

Wondering if your life is over while you are medicine School? The answer probably depends on who you ask.

After I graduated I heard students say something like, “I’m glad I did, and I’m glad I didn’t know how demanding that would be until I started.

In reality, medical students must be disciplined to take time for life while studying. Learning how others do it is always a good idea. Understanding the aspects of life that matter most to you is the best place to start.

Let’s say athletics is one of your basic life necessities. At the Cleveland Clinic, we have a group of freshmen who get up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym. These students are in class at 8 a.m., study in the afternoon and early evening, and sleep well to get up early.

Their camaraderie motivates them to support their friends by keeping their commitment to fitness. As a result, they are alert in class and stay in good physical shape.

Another student trains competitively while not studying for board exams or on a full-time clinical rotation. During her research period, she has more control over her time and may even consider spending an extra year in school to make room for more flexible hours.

Others describe “real life” as having children. While there’s no perfect time to have a baby, non-clinical rotations offer more flexible planning – and once the baby sleeps through the night, fulfilling the requirements of non-clinical rotations, such as studying medicine. preventive online or write a scientific report, becomes easier to manage.

Of course, the timing does not always meet expectations. I had a baby in August of my internship year.

I thought I could come back after a month, but it took me seven weeks to come back. In recent years, many new moms have chosen to stay home longer and extend their total training time.

Other medical students still enjoy having the same social life they had as an undergraduate student. To be fair, this is not viable in most medical schools and not possible once the night call begins.

I have known students who left medical school because they found his demands to reduce their social life unacceptable. Even students who are “good with patients” may not want to sacrifice so much freedom.

After speaking with advisors, they left to pursue careers in music, consulting and cooking. One student preferred to drop out of medical school rather than give up his competitive status in various video games.

Romantic relationships and family life are important personal factors, and the long-distance relationships that often accompany medical school can be difficult, especially when finances and education determine how often you visit. A father drove three hours each way visiting his children almost every weekend for a full year before his family could move out.

Another intern visited his partner’s town every two weekends. Most students don’t have the money to steal, but the internet and video chats make it easy.

Watching TV, going to bars, and communicating on social media are all activities that can waste valuable free time. My advice is to consider what matters most to the life you want to live.

Time with my partner and family, proper exercise, and a little community service filled my schedule outside of work or school. Even though I liked to cook, I had to find acceptable and quick alternatives. Choral practice was swallowed up by other obligations.

So how do you define the life you have? My husband defines a meaningful life as learning something new every day, taking opportunities to make a difference and having fun with the people you work with. There are many learning opportunities in medical school, but it’s up to you to set priorities that will allow you to derive true meaning and joy from your experience.

Kathleen Franco, MD, is Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Case Western Reserve University. Previously, she was Director of Residency Training and Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic. She is certified in psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and has attended Ohio Medical College – Toledo.


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