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Australia had 14,521 medical students in 2009 studying in various universities across the country. This figure increases yearly, but one thing remains constant – the challenge of balancing studies and a social life.

Studies show that medical students are even more likely to experience stress because of an imbalance between their school activities and personal endeavors. Thus, the question: Can you have a life in medical school? The short answer is yes, and you can do it in the following ways.

Develop a Schedule for Social Activities

Australian medical students spend an average of 10 to 15 hours in a lecture hall every week according to the National Institute of Education. One week has 168 hours, and sleep consumes 56 hours each week on average.  That means you have 97 or so free hours each week. The majority of these hours will most likely be spent studying but the point is to breakdown your time and allocate hours each week that are firmly separate from your study – Force yourself to develop a schedule and to leave time to separate yourself from your study. Otherwise you may find it overwhelming.

Pursue Your Interests

What do you love doing in life besides studying medicine? For example, do you love charity work? Are you a fan of cricket? Have you seen Uluru up close? Have you visited the Sydney Opera House? Find something that ignites your passion, and you will have a life outside of medical school.  How is that so? Well, passion fuels your excitement. It gives you the strength to get away from your books so that you can satisfy your curiosity. It can also be a reward system for doing well in school. For instance, you can read a poem each time you finish your study session if you love poetry.

Do Not Procrastinate

Procrastination is the silent killer of people’s dreams. Do not fall victim to it because it will ruin your social life and your chances of success in medicine. For example, failing to honour the time you set aside for studying means that you have to compensate for it disrupting your entire schedule. Unfinished assignments and school projects will pile-up if you do that several times. At times, this build-up will overwhelm you leading to heightened stress levels. Your level of productivity will plummet, and you will spend your days trying to reorganize your life instead of living it.

Medicine is a demanding career. More specifically, it requires a lot of time and effort especially when you are studying it. It will cripple your social life if you make the wrong moves. For example, one mistake is failing to include social activities in your weekly schedule. Other blunders are failing to pursue your interests and procrastination. Avoid them, and you will have a life in medical school.