Trust me, I can relate. While I was in school, this was my least favorite time of year. The lack of daylight and cold weather piled on top of tough coursework made life miserable at times. But I learned a few things to help get me through the hard times. Here’s a few tips:
1. Exercise. If you’re an outdoor exerciser, this can be difficult if you live in a place with cold winters. But if you can join an intramural basketball league- do it. Indoor soccer, running on a treadmill, broomball, yoga. Something to get you moving. Not only is it good for your physical health, but it does wonders for your mental sanity as well. Basketball games gave me something to look forward to, and during the game it was a great way to release the stress pent up inside.
2. Get away from school. Try a mini vacation. Grab some friends and take a weekend where you spend a couple days somewhere, anywhere away from school. When I was in leadership positions at school our staff would often take winter retreats. Some of my best memories are from those retreats, and I always came back refreshed and ready to tackle the stresses of life as a pre med student.
3. Take one longer term project/paper/assignment and finish it within the next few days. This one’s hard. But the benefit is worth it. If you get it done now, it’s one last thing to worry about at the end of the term. When you finish it you may be surprised how much it was weighing on you. That’s one last stressor hanging over your head for the end of the term.
4. Look forward to the future. The work you’re doing now is going to lead to a wonderful future as a physician. Think about the experiences you’ll have in med school, imagine what it would be like to practice as a doctor and talk about these dreams with your friends. Discuss how much fun it would be to practice together. It’s fun and it gives you some hope that the sacrifices you’re making now will pay off in the future.
Yep, winter term sucks. But Spring Break is soon! Take heart fellow pre meds, "The night is always darkest before the dawn."