Possibly my biggest worry before applying to medicine was whether I would be able to have a life outside of medicine and I’m glad to report that my social skills have allowed me to gain some pals over the last few years, although the might disown me once they find out that I’m writing my own blog, in which case, this whole post would seem a bit contradictory. Its a risk I’m willing to take. Anyway, I almost always asked questions about this when I went to uni open days etc. etc. and now, as a student, having been a tour guide on a couple of open days, I’ve been asked this question too, so it clearly wasn’t just me who was worried about this!
Obviously, things vary between individuals and everybody has their own ideas of what a social life consists of – some think of it as being a member of clubs and societies, some people think of it as having dinners with friends, others like to go out on the lash every night of the week.
It’s really all about getting the balance. Coming up to exams, its easy to lock yourself in your 5 square metre bedroom and study like nuts to try and pass your exams, but really, its best to study steadily throughout the year. Maybe everyday when you come home from uni at around 5, you do 2-3 hours work, and then for the rest of the night, do whatever you want, whether it’s go and play pool in the union or get your friends round for a game of CoD or, if you’re a girl, braid each other’s hair (I’m still not entirely sure what girls to at slumber parties). But, you catch my drift.
I suppose I should talk about nights out as well. If you’re a parent, you should probably look away now! Nah, only joking, you should probably read on, because in my opinion, nights out are one of the most important things about uni life and IMO should be almost mandatory!
Your first experiences of uni will be in freshers week, and heading out to the union is probably the best way of meeting new people and making friends. I met 3 of my closest friends at the moment in freshers week in the pub. The stories are somewhat hazy, but they definitely happened. Also, medical students in almost every uni have a society that organises big nights out for the whole of the medical school. These are usually the best nights of the year and result in stories and in-jokes that you’ll talk about for years to come.
Also, as doctors, you’re kind of expected to be able to deal with members of the public, and if you ever work in A&E (which you almost certainly will at somepoint!), you’ll be expected to deal with drunk and disorderly members of the public, so, where better to get some safe practice with plenty of bouncers to protect you if things go pear shaped than in your local union! I’m not implying you should get into bar fights with people, but I think I’d be a bit taken aback at a friday night shift in A&E if I hadn’t been on at least a few walks home at 3am in Dundee.
Plus, it’s extremely healthy to get away from medicine. It can be a bit all-consuming at times, but, if you take an hour or so’s break to go an catch up with your mates and then get back to studying on the lead up to exams, it can make you feel a bit more humant than you might otherwise have felt!
So, as I say, some people study hard, some people hardly study, but its important to notice if you’re swaying one way or the other and try to stop it. If you’re worried about having a social life when studying medicine, don’t. I can assure you, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to have a social life. In sports clubs especially, I’ve noticed it tends to be mostly medical students that make up the majority of the teams.