The journey can feel like an eternity when you’re waiting for something that could change the next several years of your life. Being premed students, we tend to wait for a lot of these life-changing decisions and we don’t always do it so gracefully. We wait for MCAT results, for that acceptance letter, or for a big presentation you have to do.
With so much of our time spent waiting in a state of limbo until a decision comes down from up on high and directs us one way or another you would think that we would be some of the most patient people ever. Instead, premeds tend to be some of the most nail-biting, hand-wringing, teeth gnashing worry wort people. We excel at stressing out over things beyond our control. We abhor the uncertainty of not knowing.
I know people that can turn off all their worries and concerns and just be. I envy them. They are calm and collected in the days leading up to the arrival of their acceptance letters and test results. What is it that makes them better able to handle the stress than most premed students out there? I got the chance to pick the mind of one of these people, and here’s what I found:
1. Look at the bigger picture. – If you’re constantly stressing over something, then chances are that you’re not looking at this things from the bigger picture/perspective. I’m talking the cosmological perspective here, not the typical 10 years from now perspective.
I tried this out in a meditation of sorts last night to see if I could gain any relief from my stomach gnawing worry over waiting to hear back from med schools about my acceptance or rejection. I pictured myself from above like a fly on the wall. I watched myself pacing around, worrying about the results of my application. Then I tried pulling back the view a little. I was now looking at myself 20 feet in the air. I kept pulling the camera out so to speak, 100 ft, 1000 ft, 1 mile, 10 miles and so on. By the end of all this I was looking at the universe itself and thinking about how long it had been there and how long it would be there. It was a reminder of the flickering of an instant that our lives occupy this space.Worrying about the results of my med school acceptance seemed to pale next to the grandiose scale of the universe and all things in it. I laughed at the silliness of it all.
2. If you can’t directly influence something than let it go. – It’s bad for your health to hold on to things past the point where you can, realistically, have any sort of effect on the outcome. You are expending energy needlessly. Go exercise or read a book instead. Study your lecture notes. Do anything to channel that latent energy towards something that you can influence and you can make a difference in.
3. Find things you can love equally. – Don’t allow medicine or school to be your only passion. If you suddenly found yourself unable to work towards that goal or dream anymore what would you be left with? My guess is you’d be kind of empty. Find a hobby or activity that you can learn to love just as much. You’ll find yourself a more rounded person and you will have something to fall back on when times get tough. For me, it’s my love of languages and cultures that I enjoy as well as golf and tennis(even though I suck at tennis).
How often are you worried or stressed out? What things do you do to handle stress?
- Now what do I do? (flusteredgrad.wordpress.com)
- SDN: 4chan of Premed Universe? (flusteredgrad.wordpress.com)