By: Anonymous Medical Student
“Wellness” is a big buzzword in the medical community right now. In order to better understand how medical students are able to achieve wellness in their busy lives, I spoke with eight 3rd year medical students about their personal wellness routines within the four main “wellness” areas: financial, physical, social, and emotional.
Sam: Money is something I’ve never thought about but have always had. I knew I wanted to be a surgeon since before I can even remember; both of my parents are surgeons, so I guess you could say it’s in my blood! But yeah money is never something I’ve had to consider; Mommy and Father just send me a check every month, and my credit card bills go straight to their home, so I never even see them. I can’t imagine how stressed I would be if I had to pay my own bills; I highly recommend all medical students have their parents pay their bills – it has done wonders for my financial wellness.
Taylor: I’ve taken out the maximum amount of student loans every semester since my first year of college and still had to work throughout all of undergrad. I’m literally paying for the privilege of doing scutwork on rotations. I eat a PB&J sandwich for lunch every day and a tortilla with refried beans and sliced tomato for dinner every night. I found $5 on the street last week, and at first I thought about saving it because I remembered all the articles I’ve read about how my generation will never be able to afford a home or retirement because of all of the avocado toast and lattes we buy with our spare cash, but then I also remembered that I’m already hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and thought, “F*ck it, I’m going to treat myself with this $5“ and decided to buy organic refried beans at the grocery store today instead of the usual 99 cent brand, because #selfcare, amirite?
Alex: I’m all about #physicalwellness. I eat 10 hardboiled eggs for breakfast before hitting the gym at 3am, which gives me plenty of time to do my morning weight lifting routine plus shower before pre-rounding at the hospital at 5:30am. I usually finish for the day around 6pm, which is when I go home, eat 10 more hardboiled eggs, and then hit the gym again for more weight lifting plus some cardio. I finish up around 9pm, which still leaves a few hours for some UWorld questions. I only sleep 2-3 hours per night, but that’s okay because right now it’s all about the #sacrifice, #hardwork, and #dedication. I’m #blessed to be where I am today, and I thank the Lord for helping me on the path of becoming a future #orthopedicsurgeon.
Jordan: I plan on going to the gym every day, but unfortunately I’ve missed the last 492 days. Yesterday I thought about doing a jumping jack, but instead I decided to spend two hours lying on the floor and regretting all of my life choices that have led me to this point. They say that exercise will help with both my physical and mental health, but why go to the gym to get my heart rate up when I can just have a panic attack instead?
Jamie: My friends are my life. I can never do anything or go anywhere without them, nor can I hang out with them without documenting it on my Instagram. Medical school feels like I’m back in high school, which is great because I loved high school. I was class president AND voted most popular in high school. I’m already class president of my med school class, and I plan on introducing superlative awards next year so I can win most popular again!
Corey: I had dinner with my best friend last night. We made plans to meet up again a year from now. We may or may not text at some point before then, depending on how busy we are.
Casey: I’ve been trying to do deep breathing exercises when I feel stressed or overwhelmed, which seem to be helping because I only cried three times today. My attending also told me that I’m “not entirely incompetent”, which really gave my self-esteem a boost. Yesterday I saw the sun for the first time in 6 weeks (albeit it was as it was rising as I drove to the hospital at 5am, but still). It was nice. I had forgotten that the sun even existed.
Drew: The only emotions I’ve experienced over the past year or so have been anxiety and apathy. I attended a mandatory wellness lecture today, and one of the main takeaway points was that I should use any free time I have to call my grandma. I found this message to be incredibly inspirational, so today on my drive home I called my grandma. My grandma is 98 years old, has severe dementia, and didn’t remember who I was. Now, in addition to anxiety and apathy, I also feel intense guilt about abandoning my family for 4+ years to pursue a career in medicine. Thanks, wellness lecture!