My classmates are amazing folks. I’ve talked to people who have spent their summer working to improve people’s health, or make progress research that will advance our understanding of what causes disease or how to treat it. I spent hours the other night talking to a friend about the astounding organ harvesting surgery he had just seen. I read blog posts about learning a new language or presenting research at prestigious conferences. I’m impressed.
My summer goal is slightly different. I aim to do nothing.
Having worked for 15 years before returning to school, I never expected to get another summer off, not until I retired. And I never expect to get another. So instead of travelling to Costa Rica or living in a lab, I decided to relax. Yes, I’m volunteering at a couple of clinics, but that’s about a day’s work per week. The rest of the time can be Miller Time.
Easier dreamed than done. I haven’t done much medicine, in fact. But all the life events I put off while studying medicine came calling while I was trying to enjoy a cold beer in the sunshine. I’ve found a new school for my son, a new used car to replace an old one, and (I think) a new place to live. I’ve caught up with friends I ignored during school. I’m traveling to see family soon. It’s important stuff, often fun, and strangely exhausting.
This summer of self-improvement makes me realize how unbalanced my life was – all school and little play (except for toy trains. Med students with toddlers play lots of trains). This worked OK, since I had a summer off for self care. But I don’t get another – next summer brings board exams, and work on the wards fills following summers.
So my job, for the next month, is to try to figure out how to balance school and life as a full-time, year-round job. And I need to figure it out soon, because I’m speaking to the incoming class about work-life balance in a few weeks. I think I better reread Rachel’s post. Then go have a beer with an old friend.