Ever forget your notebook and pen? Check. Purse or wallet? Of course. Phone? Never! With mobile phones glued to our hands, tablets tucked into our bags, and computers around every corner, social media (often abbreviated to SoMe) is simply a click away at any moment. Numerous platforms, endless advertising and continuous mentions in conversion make it rare to find someone without multiple SoMe accounts – including us medics. It is undeniably convenient for sharing thoughts, networking, and finding opportunities in fields of interest. With the added ‘free time’ available recently, more and more have turned to the internet to find ways to keep in touch with medicine, venture into academia and accumulate CV boosters.
‘Productivity’ has become a current buzzword, as we take to SoMe to share our activities and successes. Whilst we wholeheartedly applaud others’ achievements, the difficulty arises in not drawing comparisons and wondering if we really are striving to reach our full potential. We begin to question our own work and lifestyle – Why haven’t I partaken in research projects? Why haven’t I gotten publications? Why aren’t I on multiple national committees?
Am I really good enough?
The answer is Yes. Medicine has always been painfully competitive, and continues to be so throughout all stages of a career in the field. SoMe amplifies this, so much so that we often fall into a spiral of feeling lost and inadequate as we pit ourselves against one another. However (although easier said than done), we should remember that we deserve to be here, and other people’s successes do not devalue our own. Rather than allowing envy and pressure to triumph, let us be inspired by others’ work, and be motivated to progress ourselves.
Work-life balance – time for yourself and for social activities, to avoid burnout
Choose the ‘right’ opportunities for you – eagerness for academic and personal development makes it incredibly easy to grab any opportunity that floats your way and drown yourself in responsibilities. Consider your interests, what YOU wish to achieve, time commitment and effort required (can you devote this?), and don’t forget the enjoyment factor!
Studying from home and online lectures are the new norm, requiring adaptation – Can you optimise this for yourself by creating a designated study space (that isn’t your bed), online ‘study groups’ with friends, watching lectures together with housemates?
If you are struggling, please talk to someone. Your friends, family, university (e.g. a tutor or wellbeing service) – whoever you feel most comfortable talking to. All of us struggle at some point – never be afraid to ask for help
You have worked hard to get where you are – shift your focus onto the path you wish to take and watch your efforts pay off!