One of the essay prompts for a medical school application was, “Tell us what you do with your free time.”
I got stuck. I called my mom for help. Her response was, “Clare. WHAT free time?!”
I’ve always thrived being busy. I enjoy lots of things and so want to do lots of things. Heck, that’s what inspired the name of this blog! And it worked before med school. I was able to to squeeze in all the things I wanted to do, keep up with work, and still have plenty of fun.
But recently I’ve been struggling to make it all fit. With boards coming up, on top of regular classes, I need to start paring things down. The problem is there are even more things I want to be doing! More projects at school, more writing opportunities, more volunteering, teaching more yoga, doing more yoga, and the list goes on . And these aren’t things I feel like I need to do or should do for my resume; these are all things I genuinely want to be doing.
But what has to happen is more studying! Period. That’s the #1 priority and the only requirement for me right now. I’ve been able to put off studying for boards by saying, “Oh it’s not even that close yet! Everyone else says they waited until closer to Thanksgiving or Christmas to really start.”
Well…November is next week. I can’t put it off anymore. And this isn’t one of those tests where I can just kind of float by and know that I’ll eventually get the studying done and it’ll go okay. This is big. This requires months and months of 100% focused, dedicated studying. It requires changing my habits. It won’t just be fine. Plus I don’t want just fine — I want to feel confident and know I gave it my all.
So I’m trying to figure out how to make it work.
What am I willing to give up? What opportunities can I say no to and what things would it be wrong to pass up? How much free time and sleep can I give up without completely losing my sanity? I take the test in April, so it’s just 6 months, right?
Be A Yes
In Baptiste yoga we say, “BE A YES.” The counterintuitive thing is that being a yes often means saying no. If we are overwhelmed with to-dos and commitments, we don’t give ourselves the space to think, grow, and be our best selves. Sometimes we have to say no to some things order to to be a yes to others. It’s not a forever thing — where we send our energy and “yes” to will change as our lives do.
I know that everything I do will contribute to my abilities as a future physician. All my volunteering, research, yoga, and writing will affect how I care for and relate to patients. But the number one thing I have to do is do well in classes and on boards. I have to know my stuff. So where can I say no so that I can be a complete yes to medical school right now?
To be determined…