Staying Motivated in Medical School

Happy Sunday! I woke up early, per usual even for the weekend, and enjoyed my Sunday morning ritual of classical music, coffee, and the New York Times. Anyone else have a weekend ritual? Today is all about meal prep, laundry, and studying. Only one week until our neuro midterm and there’s so much to know – the brain is amazing and incredibly complex!

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a brunch hosted by my school’s American Medical Women’s Association chapter. Every person in medicine has their own unique challenges, but there are certainly some that women feel more acutely. It was wonderful to meet so many female physicians and learn from their experiences. I’m excited for more events like it in the future!

After brunch, I stopped at Trader Joes for the first time in months and stocked up on my favorite peanut butter pretzels! I picked up all the ingredients to make this black bean, quinoa, and citrus salad. This morning I also made some shrimp to throw on the salad, far too much salsa, and the best carrot salad ever! I put the carrots on a salad with marinated goat cheese for lunch and it might be my new go-to — so many flavors!

My friends mom sent this to her from a cookbook but I have no idea which one!

This was the third week of our neuro module and the material is slowly starting to come together for me. The nervous system is very intricate and if I’m being honest, I have just not had the motivation to study at all. I’ve actually been going to lecture to maximize my focus in the mornings but I’ve just wanted to take a nap and watch Netflix by 4pm. I spent most of Friday on campus for lectures and some mandatory sessions. In the morning we had a small group learning session to review some neurological patient cases that really tied some concepts together and in the afternoon we had two lectures — one on multiple sclerosis (and heard from a patient with MS) and another on interventional neurosurgery. The procedures they do are totally wild!

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I finally recognized that I’m just totally burnt out on this study-test-study-test cycle that is medical school. Having an incredible spring break and being at home for Passover last weekend didn’t help either; it just made me more acutely aware of all that I’m sacrificing to pursue my dream.

This view is hard to beat – can’t wait to go home again in a few weeks!

Don’t get me wrong, I want to be here. But spending day after day studying can just ground all the excitement and joy out of medicine. I actually ended up shadowing in one of our primary care clinics the other day for a reminder about why I’m here and you know what, it worked. And it wasn’t just seeing the patients that improved my mental state – I realized how much I have actually learned this year.

It sometimes feels like I take a test and then that material disappears forever to make room for the next few weeks of information. But as I went over the patient’s past medical history, chief complaint, and medications with the resident and then listened to the resident and attending discuss the treatment plan, I actually knew things. Now, there’s obviously so much more to know, but it was good to know that my brain is actually storing important information somewhere! (Guess I should review my notes on memory formation and storage!).

I’m hoping to get in a few more good hours of studying tonight, go for a walk on the water, and looking forward to enjoying a fresh loaf of bread. I love baking bread during a long study day – it forces me to get up and check the dough every once in a while and then I get a delicious treat at the end of the day. This is my favorite bread cookbook!

Have a great Sunday! Time for me to to go form some memories about making memories 🙂

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