Sharing my tips on how and why I balance medical school with working part time jobs, aka “side hustles”
“I don’t know how you do it all!”
I get that a lot. And my initial gut reaction is, “Oh my goodness, I don’t!” It’s not very common to work during medical school anymore. (My mom worked her way through medical school though!) So, when people see that I also have a blog, Beautycounter business, and teach yoga, I suppose it seems a little crazy. But while I keep myself very busy, I definitely don’t have it all together! I constantly feel like I’m falling behind and not doing everything I want to be doing. I go through phases where I feel like I should be focusing on school more, or times that I hate that I’m totally neglecting my blog and other work. It’s a constant effort at “fitting it all in,” if you will. 😉
Today I wanted to share a little more about how and why I have “side hustles” during med school.
Why I Work During Medical School
#1: It’s my personality.
I have always loved to be busy. When I was in grade school I asked my mom to home school me so I would have more time to do other activities (didn’t happen!) It’s just my personality to get involved. To me, being productive is relaxing! I look forward to getting things done on my days off. I find it exciting and motivating to own something and work at growing it.
#2: It’s good for my mental health
Research has shown that finding purpose and meaning prevents depression. You probably know that I have struggled with anxiety and depression, and now I’m pursuing a field known for it’s high rates of burnout and mental health issues. So, it’s important that I make efforts to keep myself happy and healthy. While medicine is a field that is full of meaning and purpose for me, medical school is a little different. It’s exhausting memorization of facts, test taking, and feeling relatively useless while we’re in the hospital. It’s being evaluated by everyone around you, working early and long hours, and being constantly stressed about The Match.
By having meaningful side hustles, I maintain that purpose in my life. My blog allows me to share important mental health messages, share my journey as a non-traditional medical student, and connect with others struggling with similar situations. Practicing yoga changed my entire outlook on life (not being dramatic!) and provides such immense mental calm and appreciation for my body. I love that teaching yoga allows me to share that with others. And now with Beautycounter, I can support a company focusing on getting healthier, safer products into the hands of everyone. I can promote more scientific research and self-care, and educate and empower others to make the best choices for themselves and their families.
#3: Having an income is important to me, especially as an older medical student.
I worked full time prior to medical school, and it’s hard to go from having an income to not having one. Being a non-traditional student also means have private loans from my post bac, car insurance, and health insurance to pay for. My side hustles allow me the flexibility to still do things I enjoy and be a little more spontaneous than I otherwise would. There are so many weddings, weekend trips, and dinners out that I would have to miss out on. There are trips to visit my boyfriend, my yoga classes, and the ability to by nice gifts for family and friends. By working during medical school, I can more easily afford things that are important to me have a little less day-to-day stress around money.
How I Balance Working During Medical School
#1: Choose part time jobs that work around your schedule.
That is the biggest one. I am “the boss” in all of my side hustles. The only one that wasn’t 100% flexible for me was teaching yoga, and I stopped doing that this year (MS3) when my schedule got more regimented. Right now I only substitute teach when I am free. Both the blog and Beautycounter are personal businesses that can be set aside when school gets too busy. I like to keep them up as much as possible since the income is better when I’m more consistent, but there are times that just can’t happen. So my number one tip for wanting to work during medical school is to find something that can be done anywhere at any time. Preferably when you’re the boss that decides when you work and when you don’t.
#2: School is always the priority.
This one is hard to do, since there are times I’d rather work on my side hustles. But, school ALWAYS has to be the priority. Period. There are periods during the year where school requires more work than others, and those are the times I can put a little more effort into my other jobs. One of the best things I’ve done is institute a rule for myself. At the beginning of the week or month, I write down all the studying and other school work I have to get done. Then I split it up into daily tasks. Each day, I had to finish my school work before I can work on my side hustles. Of course I can post an Instagram or send an email if I have a minute or two, but no major blog or Beautycounter projects get going until the studying is complete.
#3: I Give Up Other Fun Things
I’m very rarely not working on something. I never just watch TV on the couch and I don’t have time to read for pleasure. (That’s one thing I miss!) If I’m watching Netflix, I’m also working on a blog post. I’ve also missed some nights out or parties because I have work to do. Being productive is stress relief for me, so I choose to do this! It definitely wouldn’t be the same for everyone. I still make sure I get my down time through workouts, yoga, walks with friends, and sleep. I will admit that I wish I had a little more time to meditate and just be I but right now l’m at a busy point in life and this is just what works for me.
So there we go! Things constantly change as my life does, so I’m sure my side hustles will adapt as I start my residency and beyond. I really enjoy them and hope they can actually become a part of my future healthcare career in some way, shape, or form.
I’d love to get your take on how you balance everything you do with medical school. What are your side hustles or part time jobs? Or do you choose to use your spare time in some other way that is right or you? Let me know!!