If I can just make it past this (fill in the blank).
Test. Deadline. Graduation. Residency. There are so many milestones in medical school. Some of them we dread, such as board exams. Others can’t come soon enough, such as a real paycheck. Preparing for milestones is important, but it is unhealthy to put the rest of your life on hold. Let me show you:
It was last winter. I was in the midst of preparing for exams. One day in the shower I looked down, and to my horror I saw I was becoming flabby. I had always led an active life, but had recently shelved my exercise routine in order to free up more study time. My initial thought was, “I don’t have time to worry about exercise right now. If I can just make it through this next test then I can start exercising again.”
What?!? I was putting my health on hold for a test?! If I could go back in time I would slap that flabby belly and tell it to man up.
Luckily I came to my senses and realized that even after my test there would be a million other deadlines crying for my attention and distracting me from taking care of myself. I started exercising again, and slowly but surely Ralph went away (Yes, my belly fat was named Ralph).
You can’t wait for an undetermined future date to get in shape, get enough sleep, and develop meaningful relationships. Harold Hill from The Music Man nailed it when he said, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”
One of the most insidious mindsets in medical school is “If I can just make it through residency and get a real job then all my financial troubles will magically disappear.” This is simply untrue! I believe this mindset is born out of our desire to ignore our currently poor financial state of affairs. It’s not fun to realize you’re poor. It’s not fun to log on to your loan provider website to see how large your debt stash has grown. It’s hard to read about investing strategies when you know that you have nothing to invest. But the best time to develop financial prowess is NOW! Developing financial skills as a student will decrease your current debt load, but more importantly it means you’ll know exactly what to do with that first real paycheck.
So let’s get rid of the attitude of waiting for a future date to get in shape! Fight financial flabbiness! My next post will be on making a student budget while taking out loans.