While managing her schedule, a medical student learns 2 important concepts

I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I am in medical school, which alone tends to drive people into scheduling mayhem. I am in student government. I am on the official basketball team at my school. I am preparing for an AMSA talk. I workout regularly, I continue to write, I cook and do my laundry and spend time outside when I can. My caffeination is at an all-time high, and my sleep is at an all-time low.

In this current whirlwind of existence, I am acquiring two important concepts. I am forced to learn these lessons now but I know they will help me when my schedule becomes more reasonable.

First, the word “no.” It’s simple, but it’s not easy. We like saying yes to people because we care about the social acceptability of it. It becomes easier to say yes and cancel later than it is to say no to the initial offer, but we create problems when we rely on this method. We lose agency over our own schedule and we become people without integrity (that is, saying we will do something and doing another). It is a favor to yourself and to those around you when you comfortably and confidently say no. You get the mental freedom and they get the clarity.

Practice honoring the things you truly want. If you do not want to do something, smile and say nope. Then it is off your plate and you can focus on the things you enthusiastically said yes to. As my friend Buck Parker told me, “It’s either a F%@k yes or it’s a no.”

Second, threshold. There is nothing that teaches you how to be efficient with your time, to handle multiple things at once, or to stay organized as having a schedule this hectic. These lessons are integrated unconsciously but they teach us how to take on more and to face challenges head on without feeling overwhelmed. Experiences like this make us more impactful humans. We become limitless.

So while I pretend I wish I wasn’t drinking my third latte today, maybe that’s not so true. There is some beauty to this madness. There are lessons and wisdom in here that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. I am learning where to say no, how to prioritize my life, and I am raising the threshold of what I am capable of.

That’s all I got. Back to work.

Jamie Katuna is a medical student.  She can be reached at her self-titled site, Jamie Katuna, and on Facebook.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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