Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wanting Companionship

I find it a bit of a paradox that academic lessons strive to teach us to work in groups, teamwork is stronger than working alone, "there is no I in team", etc etc. However, life strives to teach us to be independent. I understand where both statements are coming from, but I find it kind of contradictory how one element tells us, do not be alone, while another tells us, learn to live alone. I understand why life tells us to be independent. But is it so wrong to depend on other people? Is it so wrong to have others depend on us? Is it so wrong to want to be with people?

One of the first things that my Anatomy course director told us at the beginning of the semester, tell your moms, dads, girlfriends, boyfriends, grandparents that you'll speak to them after midterms. Basically insinuating that the course load is too heavy to worry about other relationships. While I have a feeling he didn't literally mean not to contact them in two months, I think it's kind of crazy to cut off relationships because one is in medical school. I do understand that the time devoted to relationships may lessen, but I don't agree with completely cutting them off even for a week. I, for one, call home every single day. Our conversations usually don't last any more than five minutes, but it let's my parents hear my voice and that I'm doing okay. And especially when I'm having a trying day, it's nice to hear loving encouragements to pick myself back up.

I don't think that we as humans are built to be alone and to conquer challenges all by ourselves. Medical school is a stressful environment in itself and I don't think we're meant to tackle it 100% independently. The relationships I have with my study groups are really valuable to my education and the relationships that I have with my family is really valuable to keeping me sane and pushing me to the next level. Times of challenges and rough hurdles is when one needs others more than not, and I don't think tackling such issues alone is the answer.

There is a fine line between being needy and just wanting companionship - and I think the independence factor is more pertinent to knowing that other people aren't always going to be there exactly when you need them or reciprocate exactly how you expect, so learn to handle yourself. But also realize, it's okay to be with others.


  1. In med school more than ever you need connection with family & friends! Don't listen to those people who say you don't. Residency is even more time-instensive and stressful, so if you don't practive cultivating relationships before then you will be lost. My med school's motto (I swear) was 'work hard, play hard.' You can (and should!) do both. I was very down on myself the first half of first yr of med school, mainly b/c I too felt so isolated. Try to avoid that path and good for you for questioning people who tell you to put your personal life on hold!

  2. Jen - thank you so much for your comment and reading.