I just overheard this conversation between two second year students.
StudyGirl: Ag, you know, if we could just get a day off to catch up on some sleep!
SocialGirl: I just had an afternoon nap. What I need more than sleep is to study…I don’t know how I am going to manage TimeConsumingExtraCurricularActivity this year.
StudyGirl: I haven’t seen my best friend in a month. Can I even still call her my best friend?
SocialGirl: Friendships require so much thought. No one understands. My sister is always complaining that I study too much…but every moment I’m not studying I am out with her!
StudyGirl: I wish there was such a thing as studying too much. I feel like I never study enough. I can just imagine if I joined TimeConsumingExtraCurricularActivity like you. I would officially become a trainwreck. Study. Eat. Sleep.
SocialGirl: I’ve given up on the idea of sleep. Sleep is for the weak.
SocialGirl: Hey, isn’t FriendOfStudyGirl doing TimeConsumingExtraCurricularActivity?
StudyGirl: Don’t know, hey. We barely talk outside class anymore and even if we do, it’s usually about work.
SocialGirl: I don’t know how you get time to talk about work. I failed FirstModuleOfSecondYear because I was doing ThatOtherTimeConsumingExtraCurricularActivity for the first years. It was fun, but totally not worth it. My parents are gonna flip when they find out.
Okay, I take it back. This conversation was actually the opposite of hilarious–it was sad. I can only hope that they were doing that thing we med students do where we complain with dramatic overtones to make our typically dull conversation brighter. Because if not…dayum.
Although there is an element of truth to what was said, I mean I wouldn’t do second year again if you paid me. And I noticed when we returned to the lecture hall this week that I hadn’t seen people–people I actually consider friends–for the entire duration of a month simply because we weren’t meeting in class anymore. When it comes down to it, a lot of us would take a few more precious hours to either sleep or remain on top of the work rather than make the effort to touch base with our homies. Isn’t that why people choose their clinical groups the way they do? So that you get to still spend time with the people closest to you–talons and all–while still doing what you came here to do in the first place.
I’m one of those people who wants to believe there can be a balance. Of course, it’s easy to say when you are all in class and everyone’s schedule is the same and you are in the eye of the module storm. It’s easy to be balanced and speak of wholistic being-ness when there are no obstacles. But just as test time creeps up, watch all the preachers disappear behind their soapboxes. It’s possible to have all three–stable academics, a healthy social life, healthy eating and sleeping habits–if you decide that neither is more important than the others.
But who really thinks like that?
Oh, okay, yeah. Let’s go to the Botanical Gardens for the High School reunion and then spend all night painting the town red even though I write Cardio in a couple of days. And then when I get back, I will totally not skimp on the sleep that I need to have a healthy body and mind. And I’ll even attend that poetry seminar later this week. C’mon, the books will always be there.
I feel like I’m not articulating myself well with this post, so I’ll just get to the point. I believe that there can be balance. I strive for balance. But sometimes achieving balance means taking weight off of one part of the scale. So everything in your life goes from being unbalanced and bipolar (tripolar?) to balanced and mediocre. Sure you work hard and play hard. But you’re not working as hard as you’d like, or playing as hard as you’d like. You’re just sort of juggling it all so that you can say you did it all.
Surely this isn’t the only option?