GUMS | Wellbeing Stories: Year 1
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Wellbeing Stories: Year 1

16 Aug Wellbeing Stories: Year 1

Wellbeing Stories: Year 2
You were not the Imposter

For Blue Week this year, we asked people at different stages of their journey through medicine to share their wellbeing stories unique to their stage of medical education or career. Through various stages of medicine, we all face our own unique challenges and although it may sometimes feel like we are all alone or the only one struggling, this is often not the case. Each of us has a Wellbeing Story that describes the challenges we face and how we approach them. Sharing these stories creates a community that is positive, understanding and supportive as we work together to create a healthier environment for health professionals. As you navigate your own challenges, we hope these stories encourage you and empower you to talk and share with others.

Story 1

I definitely had issues with time management and fatigue, especially in the transition between ISM and Systems! With the start of anatomy, pathology labs and an increase in the weekly lecture load, it was hard to adapt the schedule and routine I had in ISM to this semester. With the increased workload, it’s definitely a tough battle between wanting to prepare/study as much as possible and then suddenly feeling demotivated when I’m overwhelmed by how much there is to do. Trying to keep up to date with all the things that come with living alone like groceries, cooking, laundry and still trying to be fit at the gym (emphasis on the trying!!), and then juggling work on top of that, has been a little stressful :’) COVID also is not on our side for sure. Socially, I really want to branch out, meet more people and have new experiences, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult. The restrictions and the limited chance to meet people from my cohort, as well as the fact that – at this point of the year – all the groups seem so fixed, means that forming those really strong friendships is hard.

I knew at the back of my mind that second semester will definitely be a hit compared to first semester, but how much of a change – I was not ready for. Changing PBL groups meant that the way I learned and studied content changed also, and I had to sacrifice a bit of sleep to make sure I could prepare enough for the labs. Silly me signed up for the same amount of work as in semester 1, which, in hindsight, was not the best idea, but I’ve tried to cut down a lot more (saying no to work is always tough, especially when rent is expensive and I love teaching so much!). I noticed the impact when I started feeling more exhausted, very sleepy and unmotivated. I relied a lot more on coffee this semester and overall felt a little left out of things. In terms of management, going back to my parents place every month or so helps! I am blessed to be living not too far from home (something not all of us have) and eating home cooked food cures everything. I love to gym and attending group work out training ensures I always go (I love the trainer there too much!). I’ve also tried to meet and reach out to people for coffee, for lunch – having the courage to get to know more people always reminds me how much we are all in the same boat. I also have the greatest best friend in the world who is always with me (to study, to eat and all) and keeps me grounded – I don’t know what I would do without her. Oh, and generous naps. Stress baking. Watching Hospital Playlist (an amazing korean drama) always kicks up my adrenaline levels and passion to study too.

Story 2

The key struggle that I’ve experienced in medicine so far is uncertainty and not knowing what to expect content wise. Not having a clear outline can sometimes make me a little bit anxious. I realised that this was an issue in semester 1. I found myself not being able to answer every question and hearing terms and concepts that were new to me that weren’t so new to my fellow medical students. This lowered my self-esteem and I felt disappointed with myself, which impacted on my daily mood. When I realised that this was an issue, I started writing down a list of things that I need to complete daily and weekly. That way I made sure that I was always on top of everything. I also talked to friends in other year levels to ask for advice about dealing with these challenges. As I started using these strategies I felt more comfortable with studying, more confident in my knowledge and realised that we all experience these challenges to varying degrees.
Story 3
At this stage of medicine I find that I feel quite overwhelmed with the magnitude of content and expectations. I am finding juggling my time and prioritising what information to learn to be quite challenging. As a result, I am left feeling quite stressed and often compare myself to the people around me to see if I am on the right track and focusing on the right things. While I did anticipate the first year of medicine to be a struggle, I didn’t realise it would be due to lack of direction rather than difficult content. When I start to feel really lost and overwhelmed, I realise I start to close myself off from those around me and procrastinate the important tasks I have to do. To manage this issue, I find making a plan and really just making a start on some sort of work (as well as talking to my friends) gets me back on the right track. By identifying when I am feeling overwhelmed early on, I am able to reach out to others sooner rather than spiral into procrastination.

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Image credit: Eesha Bajra

Wellbeing Stories: Year 2
You were not the Imposter