I appreciate you taking the time to come and meet with me during office hours. It is a pleasure to get to know more about you and your reasons for pursuing a medical education. Without reservation, I can admit that it is my honor to have the responsibility to play a role in your learning trajectory as one member of an incredible team in the education department.
I am writing this letter to encourage you and to offer some advice. It is a pleasure to understand that your background from an underrepresented community influenced your reasons to attend medical school. Understanding your unique WHY is fundamental to success in any endeavor. I believe that you will be an incredible asset to many individuals, families, and communities. Again, I commemorate you and your reasons for pursuing your dream, but I must admit this correspondence also comes in response to some alarming behaviors admitted during our time together this week.
You told me that you sleep for approximately four-five hours every night. Why do you continue to put yourself through this physical and mental torture? I understand the importance of sacrifice and working hard; there are occasions when you need to push beyond the physical limitations of fatigue to meet a goal. However, I also realize that you do a disservice to your body and level of productivity when you refuse to get an adequate amount of rest on most nights of the week.
In my recent past as a full-time entrepreneur, while living abroad, I also struggled with recognizing the value of rest. I would stay awake on some days for 19 hours, putting in work, serving my wife as a devout partner, starring as Superdad for my three small children, and making time to train Capoeira. At the end of my two years in Mexico, I was happy with the progress made in my business but unable to create a sustainable lifestyle from my products and services. Sacrificing sleep does not always lead to success.
In addition to admitting that you do not sleep at night, you talked about experiences with anxiety when preparing for and taking exams. When I asked you about whether you made time for exercise or other healthy stress-reducing activities, you looked at me as if I was speaking a language other than English. Yes, I picked up on that look!
Exercise is a critical natural resource that you can use to reduce anxiety. The physical activity helps release the chemicals your body produces in response to stress. If you are not physically impaired, stop making excuses for why you cannot work out. Go to class, make time to study, find a friend, and then get to the gym.
A critical piece to the puzzle of achievement in college is creating a community of accountability. When we met in my office, you also shared with me a schedule that includes studying alone for up to ten hours a day. How is that going? Do you know how you are really spending your time?
Often, you will find that the ten hours dedicated to studying consists of a mere fraction of active learning and reviewing.
Track your time by making notes of what you are doing every fifteen minutes during one of your study blocks. The chances are likely that each session is not as productive as you believe. Often, you will find that the ten hours dedicated to studying consists of a mere fraction of active learning and reviewing. I am going to let you go because I know you have things to do, but please do me a favor, and take heed of the advice offered in this blog entry.
I along with other faculty members want to see you do well. Our teachings only matter when YOU apply it in your life.
Share this post with another student and enjoy your weekend.
Peace and Blessings,