My greatest talent.

I hope you didn’t come here expecting fantastical tales of unbelievable feats and achievements. If you did, well, sorry I click-baited you but also feel free to keep reading (aka not sorry). I like to think I have discovered a few talents throughout my life. Dancing. Writing. Public speaking. But my greatest and most fruitful talent to date is studying. Here we go again you’re thinking, this self-professed medical prodigy is about to brag even more about her academic achievements. It’s not my intention and I think I’ve done enough of that already (cue past post), but I haven’t planned on how this post is going to end so no guarantees.

My entire life up til this point has been consumed by my education and it is safe to say I have done very little else. Since the age of 5 my daily routine has been centred around going to school and getting good grades, and now almost 20 years later nothing has changed. And by nothing I mean I am even more stressed and perpetually terrified of the wealth of knowledge I am yet to squeeze into my already overcrowded brain. It is therefore not too big of an exaggeration to conclude that being a student is all I know. And boy, am I good at it. Now, you are probably conjuring vivid images of me slouched over a textbook, straining my eyes day and night whilst being kept awake by a perpetual flow of caffeine. Wrong. Instead, visualise me spending a lot of time watching YouTube and making a very regular (and grandma-esque) bedtime of 10pm.

So, how the hell can I boast about high distinctions and academic awards if I confess to spending more time procrastinating than actual study? Before anyone decides to call me out as a liar and tries to lynch me for claiming I don’t work as hard as it seems, I want to make it clear I am not lying. I have never said I don’t put the effort in (and trust me once exam period hits I am scrambling to absorb as much notes as possible), but for the amount of work I believe I put in I am always pleasantly surprised at just how well I do. If you don’t believe me just ask my parents. Throughout the final year of high school every time my dad walked into my room he found me watching television shows. It took me three weeks to completely rewatch “Chuck” and I still like to think it was worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I always completed my work and remained towards the top of the year level during assessments, but it completely unnerved my parents and I was yelled at more than once for being lazy and wasting time. By the time it was the end of year and exams hit, they were resigned to me doing well, but not outstanding.

And we all know how that turned out. So how did I manage it? I’ve put it mainly down to two things. Firstly, being genetically blessed with an above average short term memory so that I am able to cram large volumes of information just in time to sit my exams (sorry to those who weren’t born with that). And secondly, not studying hard. When my high school invited me back to present a speech for being the dux of my year in 2013, I only had one piece of advice for them. Study smart, not hard. You could be burning the midnight oil every day and still not be able to achieve the progress you desire if you are not picking the right things to focus on. Figuring out what is important and prioritising where your time and efforts should go is key, and it can prevent burnout and exhaustion. I’ve carried that motto ever since and it hasn’t failed me yet. Sure, I’ve never been in the top of the cohort throughout my medical degree, but I still do pretty well and am very happy with my achievements. You’ve got to pick your battles and sometimes it’s just not worth it. I want to do well and be a competent doctor, but I also cannot bring myself to always be studying.

I want to at this point say something that I’ve been thinking more and more about as of late. I mentioned before that being a student is all I know, and whilst I am looking forward to finally be a working member of society and be free of that label, a part of me wants to remain like this forever.

For some it sounds hideous. A lifetime of study? They’d rather die. But I find comfort and security in it. The life of a student whilst is not as rewarding or interesting as a member of the workforce, is a life of blissful ignorance and freedom. There is a certain joy that comes with being in the outskirts of every medical team I’ve shadowed, free of responsibility and accountability. If I encounter something I don’t understand or perhaps do not enjoy, I simply walk away without a care in the world. It is a very selfish thought, but if I could live as a student for the rest of my life without worrying about the obvious financial crisis and societal judgement that comes with it, I probably would. But alas, that is not possible. Whether I like it or not this safety net needs to be taken away from under me and I have to leap blindly into the unknown with faith that everything will be okay.

So that’s my greatest talent. Gosh, I do sound like an arrogant twat don’t I? Thank you for indulging me and I apologise if this seemed like an uncomfortably self-absorbed post, I don’t mean to rub anything in people’s faces or boast of my intelligence. I asked myself what am I truly good at and this is what came to mind. Plus, it’s a nice skill to have, and since I will continue to sit exams well into my thirties I’m feeling pretty thankful. Therefore I am going to enjoy my final twelve months as an official student and bask in the luxury of having zero responsibilities before finally beginning a new chapter of my life. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly.


22 thoughts on “My greatest talent.

  1. Got to love an article that begins with the “Sorry, not sorry” angle πŸ˜‚

    I’m one of those you mentioned: I’ve been in school so long that I feel trapped many days. Out in the field I feel great. You draw some good points though. If any of us went into our careers without that necessary bit of studying, we’d fall flat. There is a certain security to be found in that, especially now that there is an opportunity to do so.

    Thanks for the reminder and appropriate perspective. It helps to hear it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad we can empathise with each other πŸ™‚ Being a student is great, and when it’s not we find comfort in complaining to each other about our terrible work loads and schedules. Let’s hope we never stop learning!

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  2. Effectively written post that got me to thinking about life as an educator.

    Have I been a teacher because I want to learn? Did learning become teaching? Has my work been an excuse to do this other thing (the learning)? But I suppose anyone who wants can continue to learn, if not in such a concentrated as when (a student) in school. Inquiring minds, the tabloid used to say. But for real.

    You look to understand exactly what school is for–it’s a privileged time to learn. I hope it establishes a pattern for you that never goes away.

    What you express in posting is not so much self-absorption as it is a way for others in through relating gaps. Let’s say it is both things, which is both healthy and helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think as humans we are always learning, some more passionately than others. But it is definitely a privilege and a wonderful experience, I don’t think I am able to stop learning even if I wanted to! Thank you for being understanding and making me feel better, I did worry this piece might come off a little too boastful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you, I always loved school, even law school. Despite being a procrastinator, studying came easily to me. In my 40s, two decades after earning my law degree, feeling unfulfilled, I went back to school, pursuing physical therapy and doctoral-level psychology. I LOVED being a student, and wished I could “make a living” at it. So I totally get what you’re saying. Learning, just for the sake of learning, is wonderfully addictive. Nothing to apologize for, rather something to strive toward. There’s so much to learn! I’ve often joked that I look forward to the time when my age means I can attend university classes for free!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So many people groan and speak of their hatred of studying, I’m so glad I can find people who enjoy being a student! Wow I can’t believe you have done so much! That’s incredible to be able to succeed in so many different field, good on you! Good luck with the plans to keep on learning and I wish you the best!

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  4. Haha loved reading this. Reminded me of myself. I myself being a medical student understand your situation. It feels good to know you are also in the process of studying. Lol. Your hardwork will be paid at the end of day

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  5. There’s nothing wrong with knowing how to study. Heck I wish my parents would have made me work and study harder in school I didn’t have terrible grade but to me looking back the bad grades I did have could have been prevented. I work as a nursing assistant and if we didn’t know or study we would be putting so many lives in danger. So study on…But try to stress less there’s more to life then school and working your life away at a job you might hate. Enjoy the little things.

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    1. Grades aren’t the most important thing, and it sounds like you work very hard at what you do now. I hope you are enjoying it and that isn’t too stressful either! I am definitely trying to stress less and it’s something that doesn’t come naturally for me so it takes some work. Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gosh, where to begin. There was a lot of talk about the procrastination problem despite being thourougly focused on the mission. I know that feeling. Even if you leave work to last minute and get it done in the midnight hour, I’m like that with job applications (far more boring).

    Prioritising the time. That’s something that stood out.

    Hope you don’t mind quoting;
    “There is a certain joy that comes with being in the outskirts of every medical team I’ve shadowed, free of responsibility and accountability.”
    I have felt like that too throughout my younger years. I know the great parts of being a student and the hell. There’s this never never land thing.

    Quote again;
    “The life of a student whilst is not as rewarding or interesting as a member of the workforce, is a life of blissful ignorance and freedom”
    No, life with a career is better than being a student. The ‘rewarding’ and ‘being a member of the workforce’ bit. Having been the student, working & long term unemployed I know what I’m saying, trust me (my career is not medicine).

    The only reason I read & replied was the ‘Doctor to be’ bit of the title. I have a lot of respect for doctors and medical professionals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really appreciate you reading and taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply. Haha ask me again in a year and I will probably share your sentiments, for now being a student has become so deeply ingrained in my life it is hard to imagine what it would be like to work and become an adult. I completely trust what you are saying and look forward to experiencing life outside of school

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