Thursday, February 5, 2009

Life and balance

If I've heard the word balance once, I've heard it 1000 times. I'll even admit that I'm pretty sick of the word. So why am I writing about balance? Because I wonder if it really is such a big issue or if its all in my head. I've been told that I need to balance out my life. That I cant be a student and a professional who only knows book and work. That people like that are ultimately "sad" people and not very pleasant or fulfilled. I'm going to be working in a service industry-so apparently its even more important for me to be "balanced" so that I'll able to interact and properly deal with people. I agree with all this. I dont want to be a person- professional or not- who only knows books and nothing else. I think it'll be a very boring way to live, and I dont want to be a boring person. Unfortunately though, life right now is not very balanced. There's a whole lot of school and not much of anything else. That is, of course, to be expected, and this is why I've been told time and time again to make time for myself, to find a hobby, to meet different people and on and on.

In very sharp contrast is the lives of medical students I met at home. School is exceedingly busy and stressful to be sure, but they are somehow able to make the time to to be involved in many activities inside and outside school. And I seriously doubt that every conversation that have revolves around anatomy lab or which patient they saw etc etc. I asked a friend of mine how she finds balance in med school. She gave me this wonderfully blank look and said something to the effect of "what exactly do you mean by balance?" To which I replied that she seemed to have so much more going on and she said something like "I don't know- it just is"

This brings me to my point. How exactly do people find balance? I feel like there's some magic equation that's just out of my reach. I can kinda see it, but not really and not quite. What can I do to achieve this balance? How will I go about meeting people and making friends? (male AND female, for those of you who are wondering. Yes, you know yourselves :) ) What kinds of hobbies can I pick up ?(apart from reading) Are there other options that I'm simply missing?

On the flip side, maybe its not such a problem, and maybe its all in my head. Its entirely possibly that I'm just whining and having a hard time taking off rose-colored lenses about what life should be like (probably a more likely option at this point). Maybe I simply need to grow up and realise that life as I've known it has been irrevocably changed. Perhaps my life is as balanced as it should be, and I only need to come around to this realization.

I'm not depressed and I hope this hasn't been a downer of a post. I just have questions, and the answers arent readily apparent to me. So, if anyone out there has suggestions, comments, questions, advice etc about balance, or the lack thereof, then please drop by and share your words.


  1. Aseye... there is no balance! Who ever told you there was a balance? That person deserves a magical concoction of arsenic and cleaning fluid in their morning tea. It is what it is. You just have to make the decision to participate in something other than school. Something that's not a chore but you genuinely enjoy.

    But if you really thing you need to find a balance (in Med School for that matter) here's my two cents. Pick an activity, any activity that made you go "HUH..I would like to do that someday and do it" AND you can't do this activity with your med school friends... otherwise you'll be stuck talking about (what do you med school types talk about?)... find a place where you can play the piano and just go there for an hour and play... or take a dance class or go to the gym or volunteer at church... All depends what you want to try. And just DO IT!

    You really just need to make the time for it, just like you make the time for studying.

    And as for those people who just do it, in the words of my mother : No one knows how hot someone else's kitchen is.

    Cheers :)


  2. I am sitting here wondering what happened to going to New Haven this weekend??!! booyah!!! Well maybe the first step toward living life outside of medical school will be making every effort to getaway after every exam!!!!! you smashed the DC plans and thank God, I did not put my mind to new haven - otherwise, I might have had my heart broken a 2nd time :)

    But really, altho I dont necessary agree that you should ditch your med sch friends (wink wink), I think 24 is right in saying JUST DO is as necessary as studying! Your blog is a step in that direction and I must to congratulate you on that...and, I think you are finding it, one day at a time - there will be that dance class at church, and I met some other Africans besides Ify at church that we could hang out with...

    Plus my dear, if you must get away from us - you really must... you have friends all over the New England area...y dont you hook up with one of them one weekend and just leave CT?!! action, woman! we need to stop talking about this balance thing already and start trying to live it...
    Enjoy the weekend.

  3. Good points both of you and thanks for joining the conversation :)

    I guess "just do it" is where I'm at now. Trying to do it. Not completely sure what exactly I want to do though (dancing is high on the list) and that seems to be part of the issue....but that's also part of the fun. Figuring out what and when and how.....we'll see how it all evolves.

    @twenty-four- unfortunately, I dont think I can ditch my med school friends.They are good company and they probably need it as much as I do. We're learning to not talk about school though, so we're getting there.

    @Efe-new haven didnt work because we decided on other plans and I decided to come home. But New Haven isn't going anywhere, so we will go there. Soon, I promise :)

    And dont worry about my leaving CT some weekends...that too will happen :)

  4. Coming from one of your non-medical school friends...yay! for being a social scientist no?...I'll chime in and it sounds like you need to get off your arse and just do this thing already *wink wink*
    Like you said, figuring it out is part of the fun. Just go ahead and start trying stuff out. Clearly, just reading isn't working for you so go on and try other stuff.
    With regards to your friend back home who said 'it just is', I'm not a med student so I'm going to go out on a limb here with some of my assumptions: you have to account for a lot of intangibles between here and there: rigor of courses? depth and/or breath? cultural context? Keep all those in mind. But you'd know better than I do anyway.
    And when you're leaving CT some weekends, you'd better bring yourself over here =)

  5. bet I'm going to bring myself over there sometime :) Hopefully before May........

    But you're right about context. I dont know that med sch at home is any easier or harder than it is here. It's hard to make that comparison. That said, I think the cultural and social contexts make a great deal of difference. I wonder how things will be different if I'd grown up here, had most of my friends and family in this state etc etc. I'd hazard a guess and say that perhaps the social life part of the journey wont be as nerve racking........but who knows. And life is what it is, so I'ma make the best of my situation and setting instead of trying to figure out what if's and why's etc.

  6. I don't know which med. sch. friends you have in Gh that have a social life. The ones I know are pretty much in the same boat as those in the US, talk a lot of tests, exams, rotations...very few of them do something besides being good students.

    I too could not find balance when I was in the US. It was more difficult to find the time because I was a student and that meant I had homework and tests and assignments to worry about. Not so with working. When I close from work, I have the time to myself. I guess that's really no consolation to you because this is not the case for doctors-your work and your life cannot be so easily separated. It's funny though cos even when i had time in the US, I didn't know what to do with it. But now that I live in Ghana, I do so much. I blog, I belong to a bookclub, I act, I travel within Ghana, I try to work on side income generating side projects like farming, writing for's amazing! What I ask myself is why did i not do these things when I was in the US? I can't find any answer. I think mostly it was all in my mind.So here is my two cents. Go out there and just do it! Tomorrow offers no guarantees. You'll finish med. sch, become a doctor and realise you have even more responsibilities and your life is slipping by. You have to make time for the things you care about and you have to do it today. As for suggestions on what to do, look in your local newspaper and you'll find plenty going on. volunteer for a food farm, find some hippy friends and have deep discussions, don't just read books, talk about them. try promoting your blog, learn about advertising, learn a new language...decide to discover your state...go to every town in your state just for kicks if you can afford it, the possibilities are endless really.