Resumption – What should we watch out for?

So, resumption is here! After an eventful eight months’ strike – well, five for some – work continues in earnest, amidst mixed feelings. It’s time to clean our dusty, insect-infested books, and clear out the cobwebs on our PDFs. If you are part of those that haven’t quite come to terms with the stark reality of the sudden resumption, what will open your eyes is lurking around the corner. Nothing like an excruciating session of ward rounds, or hours of “yabs” and monotonous lectures to jumpstart those brain cells that have been frozen over by inactivity.

Many may say that the imminent academic setbacks will be bothersome so we should watch out for them this session. They are not wrong. However, in my opinion, adjusting to school work in itself should not be a problem. Moments like this have always been the medical student’s niche. The challenges that seem to lie ahead are therefore, not strange. Except for the incoming preclinical students which will be groomed by senior colleagues one way or another, the rest are sure to figure out what works for them, and perform decently, at least. For some, it will be marathon night-reading sessions. Some others will stick to hovering around the class nerds, or religiously attending discussion groups to get back on track.

But, that is not all there is to potential resumption challenges. An elusive, sinister force has crept into a lot of people’s minds in this season. We have downplayed its gravity with jokes and “cruise” online and offline. The truth, however, is that it is a problem that is potentially as bothersome as the academic challenges that lie ahead – the depression that stems from unnecessary comparison.

You see your leveled-up colleagues turn up for class with revving car engines everyday, while you are still stuck with your old usual “Legediz Benz”, ready to hustle for the usual lifts – again. They sport new clothes and switch through them for weeks on end without repeating any. You, on the other hand, are still wearing the same set of old shirts you have “cooked” over the months with intense ironing. Their carriage, their behavior, their words ooze “baller status”. The waves of ‘intimidation’ that roll off them everyday have you in a chokehold, literally.

The message from these scenarios is simple. These ballers have disappeared from the trenches. You, on the other hand, seem to have settled in quite nicely in the trenches, not going anywhere soon. A proper mechanic. The awareness of this profound disparity between you and them then begins to eat you up.

Comparison in itself, is benign. However, when it begins to foster negative thoughts due to you making the wrong deductions, it becomes troublesome. It starts off as an uneventful injury that festers until it hollows you out. It makes you a shadow of yourself. What’s more? It holds you back from doing that which is needful. You are too busy peering at your neighbor’s business that you do not quite tend to yours. At a time where diligence and focus need to be a 100% to scale through the hurdles ahead, a blow to your self-esteem due to undue comparison is a problem you cannot afford.

This is not to invalidate the efforts of the “ballers.” They undeniably put in the work and crushed some monumental financial goals before resumption to get to where they are today. However, worrying and unnecessarily comparing isn’t going to solve anything. It is not going to change the past. The present is all you have now. Drowning yourself in a puddle of distressing thoughts is therefore, not an option. All the more if you know you didn’t laze around during the break, and were busy developing yourself in other ways. If, on the other hand, you spent the whole break drowning in TV series, movies, and other frivolities, your loss. However, the message is still the same. You can’t change what has happened.

What then to do? Realign your priorities, and work with what you have now. Whether you intend to be 100% for books, or you want to make money by the side. When comparison beckons, confront it with a recount of the progress you have made over the months, and your plans for the future, no matter how little they may seem. The self-affirmation that ensues often works wonders. For what it is worth, you are not in a race with anyone. Your priorities are different. Besides, you need a sound mind devoid of negative thoughts to get through this coming Fast Lane.

The whole point of this is: The main thing (other than academics) to watch out for this season is the unnecessary negative thoughts that stem from comparison. Nip them in the bud. If they foster, the consequences can be far-reaching.

May not seem like much, but it’s just my opinion.

If you’d like to check out other opinion pieces, click here.

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