13 Jun Your eyebrows look a little bushy
When you think of the period before exams, what phrases do you think of? Maybe, “I’m running out of time!!” or “Why did I decide to come to medical school!!”. Regardless of how far in advance you begin studying for exams, we all go through the same feelings. Feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed, leading to self-blame and even sadness. Often, we think we should’ve done X or Y differently to better prepare. In this blog post, I want to emphasise the validity of our emotions as medical students and even normalise them. I am not alone in this journey and neither are you. We are in it together.
From my own experience, the biggest increase in my stress before exams comes from the loss of my routine. We all have our normal day to day routines. For me, the time before the exam period is a time I feel I have a handle on my social life, my workouts, my healthy eating and my meditation. I felt like I had finally found my balance to help me through this gruelling medical school journey. Out of nowhere, exams start creeping up and all the harmony that I took so long to perfect has gone out of tune. I resort to old, bad habits: I eat a lot due to the stress and lack of time, I stop working out altogether, I don’t talk to friends or hang out as much and I don’t focus on my meditation techniques. Last but not least, my eyebrow sculpting routine couldn’t come to the phone cause it died (if you don’t get the reference look it up). I am only now, after this exam storm, trying to get my life back in order.
I don’t think my story is unique. I’m sure many of you have fallen into similar situations. As a reminder to us all: that process is absolutely unhealthy. Prioritising exams over our basic health and needs is not the way to go. There’s a thin line between excelling in life and taking care of yourself. Anthony Bourdain is a recent example in everyone’s memory. An accomplished chef who seemingly had everything he ever wanted and yet still took his own life. Our academic accomplishments should always be a choice; something we strive for, but they should never come at the expense of our own happiness. Success does not have to equate to misery. Along this difficult journey we’re all on, taking care of ourselves is of utmost importance. No one will be able to take care of you as much as you will yourself. By knowing how to properly take care of ourselves, we will be able to better care for our patients in the future.
Before our next exam season starts, find some things that help you cope! Take time to reconnect with family and friends, discuss your feelings with classmates, make time for your favourite exercise, take time off when you need it and fuel yourself with healthy foods. When you feel things are getting out of hand, REACH OUT to a confidante. There’s never any shame in getting help in order to make yourself better. Life is too short to determine your actions based on pride. In every way you can, live your best life, the happiest way possible.
Keep those brows fleeky.