I was taking a walk to the park yesterday with some papers in my hand and pharmacology in my head (or rather the thought of how deficient I was in the course) and somehow in the middle of my self-pity, the sky stole my attention.
It was covered with huge white clouds that spoke of a heavy storm to come. Only one patch was left uncovered. It looked like an open door that kept calling me to run to it and escape my entire life.
I realized then that I was in desperate need of a break. I longed to breathe new air a million miles away from that environment.
Ask me if I obeyed my emotions. How could I, when I had a test coming up soon?
Ask me if I watched a movie at least to lighten up my mood. The thought of that reminded me of my test scores that were nothing to write home about.
Did I even sleep it off? No. Not until my body won the war. The question became how productive I was, Not very much.
As I finally lay down to sleep, I wished I had taken that long-overdue break.
We have been taught to believe that our bodies are machines, and when pushed hard enough, can do the impossible.
While going through that stressful class, we read all night and then deceive ourselves that the day can still be productive if only we can struggle to keep our eyes open. We waste our lives on our books and lose sight of all the excitement and opportunities that life dangles in our faces.
Sometimes the hard work pays;sometimes it does not, but one thing I know is that such a life will bring depression or worse still, insanity closer to our door steps.
There is no harm in dropping everything and going out to see a movie. Hell will not freeze over if we attend a party once in a while. The ‘have you read this or that?’ question that is common among our peers should not deter us from carrying out our plans.
Sometimes it is even better to engage in something that is completely different from our line of study (music, dance, writing, skill acquisition, etc) in order to take the edge off. For some others, the cure might be different.
Remember the series you were following sometime ago? It is time to watch one or two episodes.
Sometimes, we manage to convince ourselves that there will be time to explore places but in the future. This is so untrue!
When we graduate from school, the next thing is the search for a house job. Then comes the house job itself where we are at the mercy of the bigger guns.
Afterwards, the national service takes over; then we get hitched, have a thousand babies and then worry about paying fees and still giving our kids the best education. We suddenly have more than one life to worry about.
Sorry, what was that talk about having time again? Before we ever have any time to be free, we would be too old to move our bodies and live the life we want.
We would yearn to relive the youth we had thrown to the dogs because of the struggle to be the best. Do you know how significant being second best is in medical school?
I don’t, but I can assure you that in all the induction ceremonies I have attended, not once have I heard of the second best graduating student being called up to receive a mere handshake.
As the world will have it, we cannot all emerge as the best, although there is no harm in trying. It is just all about discipline.
Be sure to have all the fun and get involved in a few non-medical activities, but don’t forget to take off your party shoes when the break time is over.
That way, if you don’t get to be the best, you can beat your chest and say that you ‘lived’.
Originally appeared on Nigeria’s Medical Student Association website. Written by Nneoma Ubah a 400L Medical Student, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital.