Finding Life Outside Medical School Part 2

5:48:00 AM


It’s hard to keep work-life balance, stay sane, and excel in medical school at the same time, but it is possible. Last week I featured some of my classmates in UP College of Medicine who are still involved in different extracurricular activities (hiking, running, frisbee, dancing and capoeira) while in medical school. This time, be inspired with these medical students who are involved in different forms of arts such as painting, ballet, choral singing, special effects make up, cosplay and theater. Let us learn how they achieve a balance to still pursue their arts while in medical school.

Charity Santos (BA Social Science – UP Manila, UPCM Class 2020)
1. What extracurricular activities do you do while in medical school? What benefits do you get from these extracurricular activities?
My interests that keep me preoccupied apart from any med school related activities revolve in art- painting, drawing, practicing photography and such. I try to join art competitions and create paintings available for selling. Although it might seem to be with great disparity to the medical field, art helps me focus and cultivate other parts of my growth as a person. It takes creativity which sometimes fade when we get stuck in the everyday bustles of life. Moreover, it also allows me to have a breather amidst the stresses in academics. 

2. How do you balance your extracurricular activities and medical school? 
Balance is setting your priorities right. It is important not to lose yourself in med while keeping the goal of becoming a doctor. I had to learn it the hard way- there were times that I would choose to deny that there are deadlines and paint away my time. Extracurricular activities are two-edged- they can help you or take away all your energy to do your priority. I think that I learned (and in the process of learning) to wisely decipher the precedence of one matter over another. 

3. Any advice to those medical students planning to pursue extracurricular activity while in medical school?
Being in a medical school does not have to be sad or completely depriving. If you have other gifts that God has given you, use it and let it grow in any manner you can think of. Do not bury your talents and ask God to help you wisely manage your time, focus and strength.

Jamie Sta Maria (BS FLCD – UP Diliman, UPCM Class 2020)
1. What extracurricular activities do you do while in medical school? What benefits do you get from these extracurricular activities?
I do special effects (zombie/Halloween) make-up since college and I just recently started to cosplay so I'm also currently practicing how to do cosplay make-up too. The joy in accomplishing the look that I was going for would be one of the benefits and it's also a type of "detox" for me from med school stress. The reactions of people to my work is a plus too! Hehe.
2. How do you balance your extracurricular activities and medical school? 
It's actually difficult to juggle time especially in LU4 but I try to practice during Friday nights or intermodule weekends yay! If there's a con that I really want to go to even if it’s not intermodule (this is the weekend in between two modules in medical school and this means med students usually have no exams or school works during this weekend), it's either I study a lot a couple of days before or I'll even bring my transes (transcription of lectures in medical school) to the con so I can study when I have time.
3. Any advice to those medical students planning to pursue extracurricular activity while in medical school?
I support those who plan on doing extracurricular activities while in med school. Of course, time should be allotted for studies but everyone needs an outlet for stress and that would be the extracurriculars! If you only focus on acads, you might overload! It won't always be easy but if you really like something, you must make time for it.

Bea Perez (BS FLCD – UP Diliman, UPCM Class 2020)
1. What extracurricular activities do you do while in medical school? What benefits do you get from these extracurricular activities?
I actually stopped going to classes because there’s no studio near my place, but when I miss it, I practice ballet at the gym. It keeps me sane, especially when I start to feel the repetitive lull of studying day in and day out. It’s not the easiest to do because everyone is doing real gym stuff, and I’m there by the window flailing about trying not to look completely ridiculous. Still, when you love something, you just learn to get over everything else.
The benefit of pursuing other things while in school is that you get to keep a part of yourself that’s completely yours. I mean, when you go into med school, the mindset you have is to make an impact in the lives of other people. That’s great! But it’s also really important to keep yourself happy and to constantly grow as a person outside of the profession.
2. How do you balance your extracurricular activities and medical school? 
For me, it’s not difficult because I do it on my own time. I do know a lot of people in my class who really train two to three times a week though. I think having a lot to do actually helps them manage their time. Plus, the endorphins you get from exercise actually help you study better!
3. Any advice to those medical students planning to pursue extracurricular activity while in medical school?
Know yourself. Some people work well under stress. Some people prefer work to be more spread out and calm. Build your extracurricular activity around that. In my case, I found a way to do what I love but at the same time not demand too much from myself. So I’m happy

Ian Macinas (BS MBB – UP Diliman, UPCM Class 2020)
1. What extracurricular activities do you do while in medical school? What benefits do you get from these extracurricular activities?
I do publicity materials for my orgs. And I'm also part of the UP College of Medicine’s choir. For the benefits, well, I joined the choir because I really love singing, and as everyone says, always make time for the things that you love, the things that make you enjoy life that's why I continued being part of the choir. For me, singing is a great way to take a break from all the thinking and processing in class. It serves as my stress reliever. 
2. How do you balance your extracurricular activities and medical school? 
I try to follow what our mentor said, that if we want to have extracurricular activity, we need to pay so much attention and study hard while in class since we need to sacrifice several hours after class to attend to choir practices. We’re only humans and sometimes I still fall asleep in class because of exhaustion. In times like that, I always make sure to make up for the time I spent sleeping and spend extra time studying.
3. Any advice to those medical students planning to pursue extracurricular activity while in medical school?
Not because you are in medical school, you will automatically stop doing the things that you love doing. Of course, our main goal is to learn medicine for our future patients but that should not stop us from pursuing our interests. If we really want to pursue something, you’ll find many ways to pursue it. 

Jea Giezl Solidum (BS Industrial Pharmacy – UP Manila, UPCM Class 2021)
1. What extracurricular activities do you do while in medical school? What benefits do you get from these extracurricular activities?
I am part of a theater group, UPM Dramatista. Occasionally and if I can fix my schedule I join the group for performances. (Jea performed with the UPM Dramatista during the recent MediScene which is the annual theater play competition of UP College of Medicine). I do theater because it is an avenue for self-expression and stress release. It is my passion and also, I don’t want my talents to become rusty.
I also do pound for pound (Cross-fit x athletic training x weights training x cardio training x weight loss) training at least 4x a week. This helps me to become fit for life, to have more energy for school and other activities. It also serves as detox to help me recharge during those time that I feel so exhausted from studying. I also travel with family, friends and SO at least once a month. It helps me to have a new perspective in life, it broadens my horizon, allows me to learn cultures, bond and socialize and keep ties with important people in your life. It also gives me the adventures and thrill that I don’t get in medical school.
2. How do you balance your extracurricular activities and medical school? 
Plan your schedules ahead so you can prioritize the things that you can do. Planning will also help you to allot time for your extracurricular activities in such a way that it will not interfere with you schedule in medical school. Know your priorities and be flexible around your top priority. Acads is the top priority so you prioritize this when you plan your schedule. Do not procrastinate so much. Distribute your study time in such a way that the things that you need to study won’t pile up during exams. When you plan your schedule well, you can study and do extracurricular activities almost everyday.
Hone the skill of multitasking. It helps especially during lull or less hectic moments of extracurricular activities like in-between play scenes or actual road travel time. Know your best style of learning for greater efficiency. You want to save as much time as possible without compromising your learning. And when you study, focus 100%. When it's your time to study, study. When it is time for play, play.
3. Any advice to those medical students planning to pursue extracurricular activity while in medical school?
Bottom line, you need to sacrifice and be committed. Therefore, for this to work, you have to be passionate both in your medical studies and chosen extracurricular activity. You have to stay motivated! There are times when you might feel tired or disheartened but life is too short for you to postpone doing something you really love. If you think you can do it, pursue it. Better to do it now than regret later. Just enjoy!

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