Student life and wellbeing

Managing emotions as a medical student: Part I


Managing emotions as a medical student: Part I

Being a medical student is a unique experience. It comes with rewards and challenges, and, at the end of it, an exciting career presenting several opportunities to make an impact on people’s lives. The journey there can feel intense for some students. It’s important to be aware of things like your own window of tolerance and how you can manage your emotions.

In Part I of this three-part series, we explore what it is about studying medicine that might require careful management of emotions, so you know what things could lead to your stress bucket filling up.

As you are aware, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree at KMMS is five years long, longer than most other degrees. This, in itself, requires a certain level of stamina, not only due to the intensity of the course but also because we all have lives outside of our professions and sometimes this demands more attention. Juggling university studies and a personal life can be challenging but if you are feeling overwhelmed there are university services that can offer help and support.

In addition to the length of the degree, sometimes the day-to-day can pose challenges. This could be for various reasons, like our circadian rhythm working against us, meaning 9am starts don’t agree with everyone. Or sometimes the breadth of the content can mean parts of what we learn stick better than other parts.

Learning something new can be exciting, especially if it aligns with something we’re really interested in. It can also potentially be challenging. It can feel like no sooner do you get to grips with one topic that you have to start another. There may even be some topics that could be quite daunting at the thought of it, whether because you worry it might be very complex, or it might be quite close to home.

Finally, you get to the end of the module – and then there are the exams! Again, people have mixed feelings towards exams. Some like to get it over with and look forward to not having to revise again after they have finished. Others might feel quite nervous about exams, and nervous still to receive their results. There is no right or wrong way to feel about exams. What’s important is that you understand how you feel about things so you know how to manage your emotions.

So, there are lots of things you might find potentially challenging with doing a medicine degree. Before we release the second part of this series, what things do you think might contribute to your stress?

Picture of a bucket showing possible stressors students might experience, including family problems, housemate drama, work overdue, being behind on revision, having a broken phone, oversleeping, forgetting to do laundry and feeling poorly
Stress bucket – what do you think would go in your stress bucket?
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