When I sat down with a friend to work on what would become the first provincial suicide intervention workshop for medical students, there were a ton of doubts. Who would go? Who would pay for it? Where would this happen? The questions kept going. It was discouraging.
But meeting after meeting, plans slowly fell into place. We got funding, we got special rates, we got institutional support from the Ontario Medical Association. Through work and perseverance, we happily launched a successful Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training workshop that is still making waves now.
Where am I going with this anecdote, you ask? Well, my message is a simple one: Just Do It.
At few points in your life do you have as much free time as during medical school (sounds weird, but it’s true). Classes are pass/fail, your clinical work is overseen by a preceptor, and most of us don’t have families to take care of. Contrast this with our medical future, when work and family begin taking a greater percentage of our lives. Talking to my peers, many med students fall into the trap of thinking medical school is about work, studying, and then de-stressing. Rinse and repeat. As we all know, this is no way to live your life!
Enrich yours and others lives. If you have an idea for something that could work, be it a quality improvement project, community advocacy, or even putting on an art gala, follow it down that rabbit hole! We hear stories of students doing amazing things every month, as OMSA posts its Student of the Month blog post. Bear in mind that there’s nothing inherently separating you from them, save for the audacity of going just one step further than their peers, and another, and another.
I’m not going to belabour the importance of living a balanced life, but I will emphasize the importance of diversifying one’s life. Like Jack Nicholsen in The Shining would say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”