Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tiredness and study

The point is often made among med students and faculty that part of the training is learning to think while you are tired. That's certainly been the case lately. The problem I have at present is that I'm doing a rotation that's supposed to be easy, while I'm studying for the USMLE step 2, the second of four parts to that exam, the national certification that, upon passing, allows me to display the piece of paper that proves I won't get sued for impersonating a doctor. (If you know the source of that reference, we're likely to be friends for a long time. And I know that's a lot of appositives)

Anyway, the reason this is a problem is that part of my mind says "this is an easy rotation" while another part says "you do have to study eight hours a day". Both parts are equally heard, and I end up both hanging out with friends and studying. Like some wag put it, med school boils down to one choice: work, friends, sleep, pick two. I'm afraid I've been picking work and friends over sleep. Healthy? Perhaps. I'll let you know in the spring after the residency match.


medstudentitis said...

You can spend your whole life second guessing yourself but that would be a heck of a waste of time. Do what feels right to you. Sacrificing some sleep to have a social life is OK - both are things that you need to stay human.

tinea said...

It seems the questions is really this: does sacrificing quality of life now pay off if it ensures quality of life in the future? By choosing to attend medical school, you have already answered in the affirmative. But the secret lies in asking what degree of sacrifice you are making. While your friends love spending time with you, if lack of sleep is actually infringing on your future quality of life (be it success on the USMLE, competence at work, etc) then maybe there should be a few less hands of gin rummy every once in a while in favor of an extra hour of sleep. But if your lack of sleep is causing tiredness only and no current or future impairment, then the question is: is it a bigger sacrifice to sleep instead of being with friends or to be with friends instead of sleeping? Choose accordingly. And know that whatever time you can give your friends, they will be glad to have you.