First off, I have to thank Amelie for being so open in her post. It was definitely #RealTalk. And second, I’m glad that she was able to put this feeling into words because I feel like it’s something that college students experience the most. Seeing these words on paper got me thinking about the ways in which you can take control of your life mentally to pursue your passions even when everyone has something to say.
I’ve been planning to be a doctor for basically my entire life and, as I’ve gotten older and advanced further in my education, I’ve seen that my path is pretty much set for me. It’s all very formulaic with little to no experimentation allowed. Equally as problematic is the sheer number of people who want to offer their advice and tell me what I should be doing exactly to get into med school and beyond. And quite frankly, a lot of their advice has been rather useless.
For example, I’ve been told that I need to spend all of this time researching. That I need to be interning in a lab for at least two years in order to be taken seriously by any medical school. Literally everyone I’ve talked to about it has said that I should definitely do it. Unfortunately for them, I can’t stand the traditional lab research setting, called bench research. I just don’t find it even a little bit interesting. And while there are a ton of research opportunities, I don’t find what they’re researching to be interesting enough for me to devote hours of my life to it.
But everyone says I should be researching so I can pursue my dream. And it’s demoralizing to think that I’ll have to subject myself to something I’m not passionate about because it’s expected of me. Especially because there hasn’t been a single person I’ve spoken to in person who has given me any other options.
Here’s the truth though. There is absolutely no need to do research prior to medical school. I’ve done my research and while it may give you a certain edge, I’d rather be passionate about what I talk about during interviews than be a researcher. I’d rather get international clinical experience than spend my time doing lab research.
// Live Fiercely
Don’t do things that you aren’t passionate about or that won’t definitely get you closer to the goals you are passionate about.
We as college students are extremely blessed and lucky to even have the opportunity to go to college. It’s something only a small percentage of people will ever get the opportunity to do. We are even more lucky to live in a world of choice, where you get to be the person to determine where your future will go.
Take these lucky chances and pursue the things you’re passionate about. Make the choice to not waste your own time and realize that you don’t have to do life the same way that everyone does or the way that everyone tells you it should be done. Take a risk and if you fail, at least you’ve tried and you can go back to doing it like everyone told you to. But if you succeed, you’ve succeeded in your own passion and by your own path.
// Listen to Advice and Evaluate its Value
Everyone is going to give you advice. Everyone is going to have something to say given the chance. But they’re speaking from their perspective and what they’ve seen. So listen to their advice and determine, for yourself, if their advice also applies to you. If not, don’t use it and go about your life.
// You are the Only One Looking Out for You
That’s a phrase that’s been sticking out to me for several months. And it’s true. Everyone else has an agenda with their advice, regardless of if it’s good or bad. Everyone is telling you advice with the intention of persuading you in a specific direction.
You are the only person who truly knows you. You are the only person who is looking out for your interests and priorities. Other people may not be.
So put yourself first. Take every piece of advice with a grain of salt because there is always a way that that they are trying to sway. Look out for yourself because you’re only agenda is you.
Be unique in your life. You don’t have to do what’s always been done if it doesn’t satisfy you. Life is far too short to be stuck doing things that you really and truly hate that aren’t ultimately going to get you where you want to be in the future.
Have you been pursuing your passions? How are you planning to pursue your passions?
2017 was a mixed year, definitely an accurate description of how life has a tendency to be. There were a lot of really great things that happened in 2017. The best being that I got to go back to Kenya and be with my family. It was absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to go again! There were also all the book cons that I went to, especially because I went with my friends! I definitely want to go to more book cons in 2018 simply because it’s really humbling to meet the person behind some of my favorite books (like Angie Thomas!)
But 2017 was also the year of not getting to spend time with my friends. It was also the year of extreme amounts of stress about everything. And the last half of 2017 was when I stopped properly taking care of myself, not exercising or eating right. Basically, I fell off the band wagon.
That’s why in 2018, the word of the year is:
I’m going to do my best to balance school and all of the other things in my life. Because, in reality, my classes are the excuse I use for not doing literally anything and that’s just not good enough. I want to get better at feeling like my classes are just a part of my life instead of being my whole life. But more importantly, I want to feel like I can participate in a variety of things without guilt or do things spontaneously.
So, let’s break it down and see how I’m going to find balance in my life.
|| School ||
This is easily the most important place that I need to find some balance. Right now, it’s taking the most of my energy and creating the most amount of stress. As important as my education is to me, it is almost quite literally consuming my life.
And I know it’s only going to get worse from here because I’m in the last year and a half of college which basically means I have, mostly, really hard major classes left to take. So I need to find a way to not let this become the only thing that I do.
Go to Office Hours
I’ve been to office hours maybe 6 times and they’ve been incredibly helpful. But I don’t always go when I need to know. Instead I’ll spend hours trying to figure it out on my own and end up frustrated. And sometimes I still don’t understand a concept. So to save myself the time and the frustration, I’m planning on going to office hours more frequently.
The other reason I need to go to office hours is so that my professors know who I am. I’m planning on going to med school and I need recommendations. I actually want my professors to be able to talk about the type of person that I am, not just the stats that accompany my name.
Create more review guides
Review guides vs. study guides, definitely a blog post there somewhere…
Regardless, the basic difference is that study guides tell you all of the things that you need to study. You make them before you actually get started studying. Review guides on the other hand are those things that, no matter how many practice problems you do, you forget relatively frequently. These are made after you’ve done the hard studying and are really just things that you know you just have to memorize.
These are absolutely amazing to create about a week before an exam because they give you concrete questions to ask during office hours. And they helped me all last semester when I needed to just memorize a few things right before an exam because, let’s be real, sometimes you have to last minute cram for an exam.
Spend less time mindlessly taking notes
In Organic Chemistry I, I did all of the notes. And it was a complete waste of time. Quite literally when I didn’t do the notes and focused instead on doing a lot of practice problems, my understanding improved dramatically.
With this goal, I want to take the time to figure out whether or not detailed note-taking is absolutely useful/necessary for each class.
|| Blog ||
I haven’t blogged or thought about blogging in several months, not even a little bit. It’s only been in recent weeks when I, finally, started to get a real handle on O Chem that I started to think about blogging again. I may be adding to my plate by recommitting to blogging, but I do want to start writing again, without the months-long breaks in between posts.
Blog Once a Month
I can make this happen. I absolutely know that I can create really good, quality content at least once a month. In reality I’d like it to say twice a month (and my editorial calendar is set up that way), but I simply don’t know how swamped I’m going to be with school + career prep (next section).
Be active on Twitter and Pinterest
I really like Pinterest. It’s a really chill way to destress and to just explore bloggers and other fun stuff. I don’t necessarily want my Pinterest feed to be just blog related stuff, but I do want to put quality content in front of my followers.
And Twitter is just a fun and easy way to keep up with other bloggers and fun people. I’m a Twitter fan mostly because it doesn’t require me to be visual and instead focuses on words which I like to think I’m good at.
|| Career ||
I spend a lot of time thinking about my future. Especially what it takes to get me into medical school and all of the other important things beyond that. But mostly medical school. This is especially true when I think that I won’t be a college student in a year and a half. It can be a little (okay, a lot) scary because I don’t feel prepared. It takes up a lot of my mental space. So this year I want to focus on finding a balance between my dreams and the realities of my situation.
Look for shadowing positions
Shadowing is a requirement for applying to medical schools. And it’s a great way to figure out if you actually want to go into medicine before you spend thousands of dollars getting into medical school.
Network with other doctors
While I’m looking for shadowing positions, I also want to get into contact with all of the doctor friends that my family and friends have connections to. It’s likely that I’ll have to take a gap year and I’d, ideally, like to spend all of that time doing volunteer work outside of the country and the best way to get the ball rolling is to network with other people in the field.
|| Relationships ||
Say no to fewer things
I am really quick to say no to things out of fear that I won’t get all of my homework done. But sometimes I need a break from all of the hard work. And hanging out with my friends is really fun. I want to do fun things like go to carnivals and parties and just trail around downtown for fun. Or have late-night WaHo runs just because we can.
Actually answer texts
Texting is really hard. I don’t know why but I just don’t enjoy it. And I think it’s mostly because I think that whatever I’m doing is more important. The truth though is that, unless I’m in class or actively studying for an exam, there is no good reason for me to not answer a text.
So this year I want to get better at texting the people I care about. All about finding that balance and creating priorities this year.
Be more open to a romantic relationship
This is so weird for me to write down…
There were opportunities last year that I didn’t take. For a variety of reasons. Okay, mostly just the one excuse of I’m too busy with school. Regardless, I feel like I’m at a time where the idea of being in a relationship isn’t entirely out of the scope of possibility.
|| Health ||
Exercise for 1 hour 3 times a week
One thing that I’ve realized over the past few months is that I don’t feel comfortable in the gym by myself. I can’t explain why that is because when I take my other friends who want me to lead them through an exercise routine, I’m perfectly fine. But going by myself fills me with dread.
So, this year, I’m giving myself permission to not go to the gym to get my exercise. However, I do have to get exercise somehow and that’ll probably be through really fund exercise videos in my apartment as I work towards building gym confidence.
Do yoga 3 times a week
I feel so relaxed after a good yoga session, but I haven’t been that great about getting in yoga time the second half of 2017. I would do it every day of the week, but I know myself well enough to know that I can’t commit to that.
6 Hours of Sleep Every Night
Most of the time I get about 5 hours which is…pretty close. But I can do better. I like my body better with 6 hours. And my brain works better with 6 hours. I know, I know, I should try and get 7 hours of sleep every night, but I start to feel sluggish when I get 7 hours. So I’ll stick to 6, thank you very much science.
Read a book everyday
This is another thing that I pushed to the back burner because I didn’t want to make time for it. But not this year, I’m going to make reading a priority again because I love reading.
I didn’t think that I was ever going to do a word of the year type of resolution but ‘Balance’ has been on my mind for months. Especially towards the end of the year, I felt like my life was running me instead of the other way around. It’s such a cliché thing to say, but it’s how I felt. I know I won’t have complete control of my life, life is too unpredictable. But I would like to be able to have a balance amongst all of the things that I value, a balance in the amount of time and mental thought I put into each of these things. That’s what prompted this year’s word of the year.
We’ll see whether or not it ends up being helpful to me. I have a good feeling it will be and, to make sure that it is, I’ll be reviewing my goals and my word every 3 months, with the intention of letting myself change the word of the year and my goals if I need to. Until then, I’ll see what a life of balance has in store for me.
Do you have a word of the year? How’d yours come about? What about your New Year’s Resolutions?
June is almost over and we are hopping head first into July. I’m really excited for the upcoming month! July is going to be the best month of the year so far because I’m traveling out of the country. I’m so excited! So let’s review my June goals and lay out the plans for July. Continue Reading
New month means new goals and I’m ready to tackle mine for this month. We’re almost halfway through the year and I haven’t done a very good job of working through my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. Because of that, I haven’t written too many goals out. However, these goals definitely require some explaining. So, let’s hop right into it. Continue Reading
Hey y’all! March was a significantly better month than February even though I had a million and one more things that I needed to get done. There were a lot of things that I wanted to do that didn’t get done but I’m honestly not too upset about it. And some pretty awesome things happened in March that I’m hoping to carry into April. So let’s hop right on into it. Continue Reading
This post is a week late and I’m so sorry. But I didn’t like the way I had written it so I scrapped it. Regardless, this is the third and final installment of The Carry-On Guide. Check out The Prep (part 1)and The Luggage (part 2) to get some more useful tips to packing carry-on only. In this post, I’m going to give you the best tips on how to fit all your stuff in your carry-on. Continue Reading
I love packing. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite things to do (it’s probably why I actually enjoy moving). Moving on… One of the important parts of packing is knowing what your packing your stuff into. So when you’re traveling carry-on only, the most important thing to do is pick the type of luggage you’ll be using. This post will show you the pros and cons of the wide variety in the carry-on game and the best trips for each type and is part 2 of the Carry-On Guide. Make sure you also read part 1, The Prep to see what you need before you start packing. Continue Reading
We’re creeping ever closer to that time for traveling. And that means that it’s time to find ways to shave off unnecessary baggage fees. If you’re anything like me and my family, you travel on the cheapest airlines possible which means that there are a crap ton of baggage related fees. Or, you just don’t like dealing with baggage claim and the subsequent carrying of suitcases. Regardless of where you fall, packing carry-on is the best solution to a ton of your problems. So this post is part 1 of my guide to packing carry-on only where I’m going to give you my pre-packing tips. Continue Reading
Hey y’all! if you’ve been keeping up with the blog you’ll know that this will only be the second blog post this month. It’s not for lack of trying to get more blog posts up, but I had a number of personal, family issues. Add that to my lack of planning and two sets of Hell Week, there was no way I was going to be writing very many blog posts. It’s been a rough past few weeks, both physically and mentally and I’m glad Spring Break is around the corner. But, I have pretty high hopes for March. Continue Reading