An open door

With the academic year now well underway students might be feeling overwhelmed, tense and worried about the current and upcoming pressures they are facing, in addition to experiencing the excitement of progressing to a new stage of their medical learning.

While the Class of 2019 is making the difficult and commendable adjustment to medical school, the Class of 2018 is now adapting to new clinical expectations like TOSCEs and OSCEs, while balancing “life outside” with their relationships, social events, and personal wellness habits, and managing the fear of missing out, or “FOMO”.

As the Class of 2017 experiences electives and begins to consider life-long career paths, they are managing a different level of professionalism which presents a new set of responsibilities. Meanwhile, the Class of 2016 is busily preparing for CaRMS and their future residencies.

While this time of the year can be challenging, it’s important to know that there are many ways to build resilience and manage these stressors.

Here is a list of five important tips on how to manage stress:

  1. Recognize that stress is a normal part of medical school and preventatively, sleep and exercise are crucial for wellbeing.
  2. Remember the activities that you love…and keep doing them.
  3. Quality is often more effective than quantity when maintaining a life balance. Even 20 minutes a day of reading your favourite genre of fiction, sketching, playing your guitar or writing poetry still goes a long way for building resilience and preventing burnout.
  4. Ensure that you are relying on a support system, whether that consists of your friends, family, significant other, religious community members, etc.
  5. If things are getting difficult for you to manage, talk to someone. Talking about what you're experiencing during potentially stressful times can be extremely helpful for coping with stress and normalizing your experience with fellow students. But when things get to be harder for you to cope with, or if you feel that talking to your fellow students about your issues isn't enough, get some help.

Remember that the members of the LEW office are here for you. We are always happy to talk to you, whether it be about the pressures of academic demands, relationship issues, personal crises, burnout, or strengthening your coping strategies, we have an abundance of resources and our door is always open.

Kylie Hamilton
Coordinator; Learner Equity & Wellness