How do you keep yourself motivated during medical school during tough times?
In my second year of podiatric medical school, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Prior to starting my podiatric education, my father had been getting biannual Positron Emission Tomography scans and regular check-ups due to his history of urothelial carcinoma. He underwent several surgical procedures and chemotherapeutic treatments over the past several years. After his treatments, he suffered from incontinence alongside several other concerns. After several years of remission, his cancer resurfaced during my 2nd year of podiatry school. In the past, his tumor was minimally invasive and had not penetrated the muscular layers of the bladder. This time was different. It aggressively invaded his bladder walls, obstructing one of his ureters. Following an extensive course of chemotherapy, his treatment required the complete excision of his bladder, prostate, and part of each ureter.
Just one month prior to my father’s extensive surgery, my brother was struck by a car that crashed into his residence. My brother required a lengthy hospital stay and a right tibial intramedullary nail. The incident left him with post-traumatic stress that he is still currently dealing with.
At this point in time, my personal life was a dumpster fire.
At this point in time, my personal life was a dumpster fire. During all this personal tragedy and struggles at home, I was studying for weekly exams, serving as my school’s student government president, preparing my first case study, and trying to study for the APMLE part 1 exam. I know I am not the first student to be immersed in the stresses of medical school when tragedy strikes back home. For me, when my father was on death’s door, but I was too busy to be there holding his hand, it felt like I was drowning.
My second year in podiatry has taught me how important time management is
Fortunately, my dad made a full recovery. He is healthier than he had been in years. Seeing what he did for us and what he endured for my family, has taught me perseverance and the fact that life doesn’t stop for anyone. Your responsibilities to your family and your career don’t ask if you need a break. My second year in podiatry has taught me how important time management is because there were countless times when I felt I was failing my father as a son, myself as a brother, a student, and as a partner to my loving girlfriend. The constant juggling of hats was something I had always struggled with, but I learned that if I were to survive podiatric medical school, I would need to improve my work-life balance. My solution was to prevent one role from being the sole focus or absence of focus for too long. Striking a balance has returned tremendous dividends to my life and my career.
My second year was the most challenging time in my life, but my perseverance tempered my resolve. Because of these experiences, I know I am able to give my utmost effort to accomplish anything I set my mind to.
School: Western University School of Podiatric Medicine
My 2nd year was the most challenging time in my life…
Student, Lifestyle, Motivation
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