When it’s OK to just be OK

by MaryBeth

Hello again! The holiday season is already upon us, and I’m officially 5+ months through my first year of medical school. I finally feel as though I’ve hit a sort of “stride” with balancing school and home, which might be a bit later than I’d planned, but still feels like a major accomplishment. Everything will change again as of this summer, when I hit my first clinical rotations. So for now I’m going to appreciate the feelings of stability I’m experiencing.

As I suggested in my previous post, the start of medical school as a mom with three children under five was bumpy. I have continued to deal with anxiety on a weekly basis, but I’ve learned to accept it and better manage it (through lots of trial and error).

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned in the past 5 months is how critically important it is to prioritize one’s workload. Knowing that I won’t be able to study everything covered on each exam has actually become liberating, as opposed to stress-inducing. I choose to spend my quality study time on the highest-yield strategies for me, as opposed to trying to do a bit of everything and “cover all the bases.” Sure, this might mean a gap of a few points on the next exam, but since my school is Pass/Fail for the first year, it seems like a small price to pay for the time I’m able to spend playing memory games and putting my kiddos to bed at night.

I’m not accustomed to doing an OK job at school. (If you’re a pre-med, med student, or otherwise type A student, I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from.) But as I’ve gained more experience with the realities of school and family life, I’ve become more comfortable with just being OK. I’m learning most of what I need to learn in school and I’m doing the most important things that I need to do as a mom of three preschoolers. I can’t really expect much more of myself at this point, so that is pretty satisfying.

Me and Tove, white coat

With my youngest after the white coat ceremony

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