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If Life Was A Circus, Medical Students Would Be (Commitment) Jugglers

NewaaronAaron Singh -- It never ceases to amaze me how medical students can have so many commitments on their plates and yet manage to do everything at once. Sure, I’m studying at Cambridge University, ostensibly home to some of the world’s most intelligent students (a demographic I am sadly not part of myself, having gained admission due to my unusually attractive eyelashes -- but that’s a story for another day) but still. The number of times I’ve met medics who manage to balance other pastimes and yet still score high marks contributes more to my hair loss than my barber does.

I’ve blogged before about medics who realised that their true passions lay somewhere else, and became big names in those other fields. But now I’ve discovered a whole new subspecies of medic: those who excel in sports, music, theatre, literature, etc. and yet still manage to score highly in medical exams. These people seem to be able to maintain (and in some infuriating cases, combine) their different passions and juggle the time needed to pursue these seemingly incongruous pursuits, yet still show up for lectures on time with all their homework done and not a hair out of place. I swear these folks must have a personal secretary, private helicopter pilot, and make-up artist hidden away somewhere.

Unfortunately, multitasking is as alien to me as talking is to a dog, thanks in no small part to an incident during my childhood involving me being born, a doctor’s slippery gloves, and a rather unfortunate collision between my infant head and the operating room floor. But as I’ve said before, medical school is somewhere you’d expect to find smart people who have been multitasking all their lives, and as much as I may sit and gripe about them, there exists a certain pressure to be just like them, to do more with my life and my time here at university. So I suppose meeting people like this is good for you from time to time, as it drives you and shows you just how much you could accomplish yourself if you just got off your bum, turned off that episode of ‘House’ and actually did some revision. (Metaphors not from personal experience. Cough.)

Take some time to look at yourself and ask: what type of multitasker are YOU? Are you Everywhere-At-Once-Dude, bending the laws of physics to do everything and be everything at the same time, thereby creating hundreds of jealous would-be assassins with your every success? Are you Slide-Projector-Dude, focusing on only one thing at a time but giving that one thing your all? Or are you Aaron Singh Hopeless-Ritalin-Overdosed-Mess, trying your best to do several things at once but inevitably ending up on the floor with all your juggling balls around you?

If you answered Types 1 or 2, good for you; we know why you’re in medicine, and you’ll probably make it big. If you answered Type 3, hey, wanna form a club?

March 20, 2008 | Permalink


The key my friend is organization!! Have that in place as well as a short term plan and youll become a type 2 if not a type 1!! tc

Posted by: sam | Mar 20, 2008 10:42:12 AM

I totally agree! I sit around and wonder at these people and question how the hell I got into medical school when I am clearly way out of their league.

Let's form a club :S

Posted by: Michelle | Mar 22, 2008 7:25:27 AM

Type 3! Unfotunately not in medical school, but can i be in the club too...p l e a s e ...?

Posted by: tracy | Mar 24, 2008 5:55:18 AM

The subjunctive form of "to be" is "were," not "was," in reference to the title of this piece.

Posted by: gabe | Mar 25, 2008 4:29:05 PM

Gabe, you never cease to amaze me.

Posted by: Matt | Mar 25, 2008 5:28:39 PM

i find myself wavering between types 2 & 3 - at the moment i'm definitely a 3, but not by choice - several deadlines for work as well as elective preparation, impending exams and plenty of hospital work (oh, and occasionally a social life) mean that i have no other option than to multitask, or at least attempt to.
rant over - just really needed to get that off my chest; spending this long writing comments may partially explain why i never seem to have enough time to get the work done...

Posted by: Helen | Mar 26, 2008 11:09:48 AM

I am truly awful at juggling commitments (not much better at actual juggling either, for that matter...) so much so that I had to give up practically everything extra-curricular in fourth year to get me through my finals. But I'm still here, in fifth year, five months from starting my house job in Liverpool.
Even the disorganised ones get there in the end, if it means that much to you :-)

Posted by: Laura | Mar 26, 2008 12:39:10 PM

Definitely, type 3.

Let's start the Jealous Would-be Assassins League right now. There's a lot of work to do (and I'm not referring to the career...)

I commit myself to assume the JWAL Spanish Division as soon as I find the formula to combine it with the studies.

Greetings from Barcelona.

Posted by: Omar | Mar 26, 2008 12:56:52 PM

haha! you're so fun. i might go to med school. xD

Posted by: | Mar 26, 2008 10:04:38 PM

I'm totally down to form a club...but why don't we do it over the weekend...or after finals....how's next year work for you?

Posted by: Asal Sepassi | Mar 27, 2008 5:14:50 AM

Aaron, ever considered writing, as a second career option?you do it so well..maybe some day you could become a natural effortless type 1.....do consider that option and good luck..i'm a proud type 1.... i think :)

Posted by: jojo | Mar 27, 2008 9:13:11 AM

i think am even type 4 !
am 6th year med. student , this's my last year before being an intern .. ah, let's just say time is not always (more precisely has never been) by my side !!

I totally agree with you about meeting such ppl might refresh the way you think or work but it might also take you down depending on how you can recieve & handle their company!

thanks Aaron, i enjoyed it. you truely said what i've been wondering about since like for ever.

Posted by: mozon | Mar 27, 2008 6:11:26 PM

Aaron thanks a lot I really enjoyed it...I have always wondered why there were people like that in my school partying and doing a million things but still had time to be serious and go to class and have a gpa of 4.0.

Posted by: Jamilka | Mar 28, 2008 3:43:36 PM

Sometimes I'm a 1...sometimes I slide to a 2 status, so I guess I might fill in the form for joining the 3 club!

Posted by: Miguel Bajouco | Apr 9, 2008 9:12:36 AM

Good thoughts shared here...medical service not not comprise of supreme knowledge and expertise it also needs the human factor in the body.

Posted by: nitrile gloves | Dec 5, 2009 9:43:24 PM

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