I know, that if you are reading this post, you are a medical student and you are very much struggling with stress in medical college.
Just like me and a lot other students right now.
Well, I wasn’t going to write on this topic any time soon, but some days ago I saw a comment on my blog- a helpless junior asking me how to deal with stress.
So here I am, writing about dealing with stress as a medical student so that at least some of my juniors will be prepared for the ‘unexpected’.
Let me explain:
The truth that nobody tells you…
To every NEET aspirant out there- I know they tell you that getting into a medical college is the only difficult part, but the later college life is actual heaven.
That it’s going to be all fun and games the whole 5 years.
That the course where you learn about life and death and everything in between is easy, fun, relaxing, noble, blah blah blah…
I know this because they told me the same- and I was naive enough to fall for it.
Disclaimer: things might be a little more different in a government medical college. Some are not blessed with that boon, like your girl here 🙂 And there might be regional differences as well. I’m writing this mostly based on my experiences studying in a private medical college. If you found your experience different, you can let us know by replying in the comments below. Thank you!
So let me break the bubble for you- getting into medical college is stressful, studying medicine is even more stressful and getting a PG is far more stressful.
And don’t even get me started on life as a doctor!
I’m not trying to scare you, but am not sugar-coating the truth either.
This is no game- this is a serious course where you have to work real hard to survive. There will be days when you can’t even lift a finger; days when you can’t even sleep.
You might end up sacrificing a lot of things that made you happy before.
But the thing is, there also will be days when you have learnt how to deliver a baby; when you’ll be thanked for because your intervention saved a life; when you’ll be proud of making all the right diagnoses.
You will have to make tough decisions that can decide the fate of aother human being.
So, just like I said before, I’m not trying to scare you way.
I’m telling you the hard truth in all it’s glory.
If you are going to be a doctor might as well be prepared for the best and worst.
And I’m trying to equip you with that in this post.
What is stress?
Stress is our body’s response to pressure.
There is also something called as work-place stress, about which the WHO talks more in their website.
Why do we get stressed in medical college?
- The workload
Yes, we do have 19 subjects to study in the 4 years.
it’s not easy, studying about hundreds of diseaes in a meager amount of time.
So, yes, the oworklod is over whelming for most of us, and it’s difficult to manage due to the limited availability of time.
- Constant pressure from the faculty
I know that our faculty means only good for us, but sometimes their tactics to teach are a little bit farfetched.
Sometimes it might feel as if they were giving us undue pressure.
And we also have bad days on top of that.
- Tight schedule with no breaks
From 8 to 4, its a marathon. And after that, again taking cases and writing them up, then studying and ta-da! the day is over.
I say that we don’t get enough time for oursleves on most days.
In our college, we only get sunday off in a week.
Saturdays are filled with lectures and postings too.
I’m not saying to abandon classes or postings, but it would be nice once in a while if we got a proper break.
- Close packed deadlines and exams
MBBS now means making a lot of seminar presentations, taking exams, making ppts and agan taking exams.
Sometimes it might be difficult to actually set a balanced life schedule for yourself amidst exams and stuff.
- The cycle of burnout because of above reasons
We get burnt out so easily in medical collge.
Although we can beat burnout, it’s still a vicious cycle once you are a medical student due to the reasons aforesaid.
Dealing with stress in medical college- a guide for medical students
Accept that Medicine is going to be a bit stressful
Let me tell you, I’m not scaring you away or telling you to hate medicine.
You shouldn’t, because it’s too precious to be called just a course to study.
We learrn to handle lives here, and that is not a simple thing, so as I said before you’ll have to take hard decisions soon in the future- so accept that medicine is going to be stressful.
From my experience, if you accept that something is bad, it makes it easier to deal with.
Here in this case, stress will be your companion for a very long time, but you can learn to cope with it.
Take long, meaningful breaks whenever you are stressed
You might be scraping by for some motvation if you are very stressed, and if you can’t do your work satisfactorily, it might stress you even more.
So, stop doing anything for some time. I can’t give an exact duration because, hey, we all are different. Do what works for you.
Go home, talk to your parent and friends, spend time with your pets, take a relaxing trip to somewherre peaceful…
Do what you think is best for you.
Make sure you are completely okay before resuming college life.
Most of the time, our unresolved issues raise their heads at our most weakest of the situations.
So many conflicting thoughts can rise up if you are very much stressesd.
Just be aware of this and try to talk about personal issues, if any, with the people who you are very close to.
Pursuing your hobbies and passions
These are what makes you, YOU.
Your interests, your skills- these matter. And in some way or another we all are jack of all trades.
These little things can effectively bring you happiness nmore than you think.
Having a hobby can actually avoid developing stress to an extent.
You can read about pursuing hobbies and passionns in your life as a medical student in this post here.
Excercise and yoga
These are gems, if you ask me.
As a medical student, the one thing that surprised me was knowing that how getting your heart pumped up every day can actually ward off almost all diseases!
it’s true. And excercising daily can actually boost your mood, memory and energy which is going to help you a lot.
And try some yoga- i do yoga wenever I feel like I want to calm my racing mind, and it works.
Be mindful of your life
Correction- be mindful of every moment of your life.
Be present here, right now, in this moment.
Feel every incident, big or small. Journal about it. Talk about it. Think and enjoy all the little things in life.
You can’t just learn to be mindful by reading a book- it’s a habit, a prctice.
Try it yourself for a couple of days and feel the difference.
Because when you are being mindful, less chances of you freaking out over unfinished work and more chances of you figuring a way out to balance everything.
Have clear, well-defined goals about life
This helps keep stress at bay.
Trust me when I say this- having an idea about your goals can enbale you to organize your life accordingly which can make you more efficient.
Achieving smaller goals can further motivate you so it’s an added benefit!
DO what works for you.
Both provide an ample space and alone time for you to reflect over your everyday life.
It’ll give you a definite purpose if you are looking for one.
Guided meditation videos are available on YouTube, if you are unsure what to do.
I would always, always tell you to get enough sleep.
And you know what everyone says- get 7-8 hours of sleep, but I’m nobody to teach you because… you know, exam time and lots of caffeine and no sleeping 🙃.
Take your time and be patient
Getting control over stress and burn out is not an overnight process- it takes time, so be patient.
Learn to find your own rhythm and act accordingly.
Tell yourself where you need to work more, or where you need to tone down a bit.
What you should keep in mind:
Oppose alcohol and substance abuse
Stressful life environment can actuaally put you in a difficult situation- but please do not follow the path of any substance abuse.
Instead, develop a new skill and work on it.
Many students are substance abusers due to the undue pressue they are under.
It can ruin your mind and body prematurely.
Your life and it’s purpose is too good for such a fate.
I know I’m not the same person I was in first year now.
I’e come long way from being a shy, Indian village girl to a person who is striving to be a good doctor one day.
And along the way there were ups and down, days wen I wanted to quit medicine, endless weeping throughout exam seasons… but in the process, I got better.
I learnt my likes, dislikes, weaknesses and strengths. Developed new concepts and learnt new disciplines.
These help me remind to stay on track and work toward my goals.
What I am saying is, with proper discipline and determination, you can beat stress anywhere in your life.
Take your time, learn to calm your mind, and eventually you can cope with the pressures of this profession.
So, that was my take on how to deal with stress in medical college as MBBS students. What do you think? Comment below!