This semester I am attending university from home, handling a newly diagnosed health condition, getting remodeling done at my house, and my family is moving across the country in a couple of weeks. There is so much for me to do, and on top of it all, I have to make sure I get all A’s. It’s hard, and I’m exhausted. I know that it is said that becoming a doctor isn’t for the weak, and I’m learning that whoever said that was definitely right.
The beginning of the semester was rough. I had plans to get every assignment done as quickly as possible so that I could relax, enjoy the rest of my week, and study at my own pace. When the assignments started pouring in, I did my best to keep up with the plans I had made. But, instead of feeling like I was relaxing on a beach, I felt like someone had dumped me in the middle of a storming ocean like I was drowning and fighting for my life. The problem with my plan was that everyday assignments were assigned that could take up to an hour to do or two weeks to complete. And, each day, I would do my best to finish all of them as quickly as possible. Every day the assignments would keep adding up, and the “time to relax” never came. Since then, I have learned that instead of rushing to do all assignments as quickly as possible, working at my own pace is much better for my peace of mind. I now do a little bit here and a little bit there, making sure to work on at least two classes a day. This way, my assignments get done on time, and relaxation is something I can actually experience..
Now that I have gotten the hang of how to attack each assignment. There is also the task of handling my other responsibilities. I mentioned a little bit earlier than I am moving. So, on top of essential responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, and working, I also have to go through everything that my family owns, decide what we are keeping and what we are giving away, and pack it. Until now, I never realized how much stuff could fit in one house. You know that saying, “family comes first?” yea, I’m believing in it less and less as I feel more and more drained when trying to handle the housework and my school work at the same time.
Many people opt in schedules to make sure that they don’t fall behind with the work that has to be done. But, because I am home, I honestly haven’t been able to keep up with one. I let my parents know when I have a zoom class or when I’m in a test or quiz. But, when I’m not busy with that, they tend to ask me to help them with everything under the sun. These interruptions make it hard to keep on a schedule. Also, because of the renovations that or going on, sometimes I cannot study at the time I had originally planned due to the loud noises that come from the machines that are being used to fix up my house. Because of these inconsistencies, I make a list of things I need to do each day; I need to attend class on time no matter the situation, right after I will study/review and do the work for the class, and then later in the afternoon I will prep for the next day and work on any upcoming assignments. By making this list, I am able to be prepared for class and study without having a strict schedule. In this way I have sort of fool proofed the handling of my responsibilities, for now. However completely eliminating the stress is something that I can’t seem to fix with a list.
Stress is something that we all go through, and each person has a different way of managing it.
Before Covid, I would spend time in the gym after class working out. This would help my stress levels and boost my mood that day. It was my primary weapon against stress. But I was recently diagnosed with a health condition that made it nearly impossible to work out as I did before. This made my life a lot harder as I could no longer exercise.
So what do you do when you can no longer do what brings you peace? What do you do when you don’t leave the four walls of your house or your room for that matter, but you still feel so overwhelmed with everything that you have to do?
When it feels too hard or I can’t find enough time to study or complete the one million things I have to do, I think of the end goal, which is to make a positive impact in my patients’ lives. Managing my health condition, moving, and keeping up with the demands of school have all stretched my multitasking skills. And though it has been a process, my load seems a bit lighter. Let’s see how light it will be in med school lol. Still, although it’s going to be difficult, I’m clinging to the fact that it will all be worth it in the end.
Alexandra Blake is a Sophomore biology major at Oakwood University. You can connect with her on Instagram