I know I’m not only speaking for medical school when I say it’s so easy to get behind, and exponentially difficult to catch up. One fun weekend, and it seems like everything crumbles. I’ve likened it to a disease–one that we’ve all suffered from (currently suffer from).
It’s important to recognize that everyone has their own criteria for diagnosis, which is totally fine. We don’t have to agree on that, but we can pretty much all agree on the symptoms we experience because of it. Things aren’t as funny anymore, you start timing conversations, you’re more selective to your phone (GroupMe definitely doesn’t get any play), “I can’t” and “no” start to sprinkle into your vocabulary, FitBit steps go wayyy down, the list goes on and on and on. Y’all get it.
It comes in the acute form and the chronic form. If you acquire the acute form, you can usually just take the necessary treatments and alleviate the disease. These things might include a brief isolation, creating a schedule to tackle your current and lingering tasks, one or two earlier mornings/later nights, etc. With diligence to the treatment regimen, you’re back on track and ready to smile again (because who knows the last time you did that lol).
Other times, and unfortunately most of the time, we’re dealing with the chronic form which is much harder to alleviate. It’s a gnawing feeling that you just get used to, leaning on each weekend to finally get a grip on this thing–but then Sunday comes and the disease still hasn’t let you free. A common treatment people try is an extended isolation aka “going ghost” where they enter into an intensive period determined to complete everything on their to-do list. But as you can imagine, that can lead to burn out (a side effect, if you will). The chronic form is dangerous because eventually there’s a point in life–usually an exam–where you must be cured. As you encroach on that time, all of these negative feelings of doubt and hopelessness swarm in and there’s potential to spiral to a mental breakdown.
There’s one tried and true way to alleviate getting behind–just don’t do it. Sounds simple enough right? NOPE. But it is possible!! And sadly, it really is the only way. Once you get behind, it just gets harder and harder to bounce back. We have to stay disciplined in our work. Discipline = major key. Not only should you make a detailed study schedule, but stick to it! That means learning how to say no, even to your friends/events at school.
For example: Let’s say you planned to do X on Saturday afternoon, and now you’re invited to happy hour. You’ve already reserved Sunday for other assignments and relaxation time. If you can’t find another specific time when you can get X done before the weekend is up, you need you just say no and catch your pals another time. They’ll understand.
Some might say being behind is just a part of life in professional school, and at times it might feel like that, but it doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to accept it as your fate! Ok let me stop yelling at you. But seriously, at little discipline can go a long way.