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THOUGHTS AND RANTS: What is the "perfect" medical student?

I was listening to a podcast by this uni student on pressures, which gave me the idea for this article and advice to give out.

It makes sense - whether you are just joining uni and trying to find where you fit in, have progress tests coming up, or just trying to adult, as students of the social media age there seems to always be something that could pressure us.

What really interested me when listening to this podcast was the common themes:

  • Work pressure:

    • exams

    • not feeling smart enough

    • not knowing what speciality you want to do

    • dealing with our own finances

  • Social pressure:

    • drinking culture

    • looking like you have loads of friends and you're always out

    • being single or dating.

  • Personal pressures:

    • family expectations

    • expectations of yourself

    • expectations from society

Like mentioned, social media seems to have a huge part to play in all this. It's opened up a whole other minefield of opportunities to compare ourselves to others - if it's not what someone's doing on a Friday night that you aren't, it's some med student influencer going to the gym at 5 am in the morning.

Even writing all this makes me frustrated, to be honest - when does the rat race end? However, things that come to mind are all the same wise advice you probably have heard before and are annoyingly true.

Firstly as medical students, we are like a chest of gold (cringe I know) - so if you’re the gold at the top of that chest or the bottom you're still gold. Or, if you prefer more directly, once you graduate, you will have the same degree as that guy you're comparing yourself to. At the end of the day, the fact he studies harder or the fact he went out more doesn't matter - you all graduate the same.

Secondly, think about what you actually want for yourself - we're all made differently. If that 5 am gym makes you happy, then go for it - if not, don't. If you actually look forward to going out on the weekend and socialising, do that. If you just want to be in bed watching Netflix, no one should tell you otherwise. If studying fewer hours but enough to pass is good with you, go for it. Similarly, if you enjoy going deep into a topic for hours on end, do that.

If you’re the gold at the top of that chest or the bottom you're still gold!

Basically, we're all different and society through social media has created one 'right' which is plain stupid. It's like you're trying to fit into a box you're not designed for so of course you're going to feel pressured.

On a more practical level, try writing down stuff you're currently filling your life with, then write out stuff you actually care about and make you feel happier - how much do these lists match up?

Hope this has helped someone.


By Muwi Adoghe

Health and Wellbeing Lead

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