Advice for Students, Top Tips

Learning for learning’s sake

Recently, I entered a period of de-motivation where I was hardly working and mainly lazing around. Don’t get me wrong taking time out is great and is important for your body to recuperate, but having started back at placement, I needed to be utilising my time efficiently to consolidate what I have seen.

One of the main reasons why I have been in this state is not having an end of year exam to work towards, and after deep reflection on this, I realised I needed to

change my mindset:

Often, as medics, we need landmark goals to work towards and most usually it’s the next progress test. This is an exam which years 2 – 5 all sit together at the same time, and the point is, as you progress through med school,you should be able to answer more of the questions. In my case, I have found that I have worked so hard leading up to these exams that after I have a post-exam crash and not able to get back up on my feet quickly, having been running on adrenaline to prepare for these exams!

Ultimately, in my career trajectory, there will ALWAYS be another exam to prepare for until I eventually become a consultant, but that’s not a healthy way of living nor is it a healthy cycle to continually build up energy and then crash with mini-burnouts throughout the year.

It’s always useful to have revision/work goals but for me, it can’t be the sole focus of my goalsetting! Another thing I’ve realised about myself is I hate doing the same thing over and over again: e.g. I’m always looking to develop my skills, learn new ones or simply change up the activities I’m involved with! With this, there’s no exam to work towards, it’s simply for

my enjoyment as well as personal and professional development.

More specifically, this term there’s been three aspects which have been on my mind that I am carving out time to develop:

Graphic design skills/ UX

I’ve always been interested in this and would like to believe I have a creative eye, but I recognise there is so much more beyond being able to use Canva (a popular online graphic design platform) proficiently. Having been intrigued by a clinical UX designer’s work, I envision that at some point in my life I would like to get involved with UX and being able to use higher quality software will work in my favour later down the line. Having recently purchased a new laptop, I’ve invested in Affinity software and have a workbook which I am going to slowly work through the chapters and get to grips with it.

Statistical software

This year, I have been developing an interest in the academic life and been involved with research projects. As I have been building on my core foundations, I’ve realised something which I am lacking on is the ability to use statistics efficiently with software. As a start, I know that SPSS is a common software which the university actually provides for free so I have found a LinkedIn learning course which I am going to work through to build my competence using it

Reading

You may or may not be suprised that actually I am a poor reader- I easily give up on books and don’t give them a chance, nor do I carve out time to read them. Similarly, I think it’s because I get bored of reading the same book for too long, so inspired by my housemate apart from my Bible, I have two books on the go – one for weekdays and on for the weekends. It’s made such a difference and I’m loving it! I’m learning about female leadership, but also developing my understanding and knowledge around race too.

I don’t put pressure on myself if I don’t keep it up every week or if I miss a day, I know that I’ll keep on learning in my own time, which is likely when I will be more relaxed and not just doing it for the sake of it!


You may be wondering but what about your actual uni work that you need to do? So I’ve finished my main uni assignments but there’s always revision questions to do or notes to read/ type up about clinical presentations. This isn’t prescribed by the medical school, but out of my own self-motivation to build on my knowledge and ultimately competency as a future doctor, I’ve organised a rough plan of specialties and questions that I’d like to cover for my time now until the end of placement.

Again, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t fully stick to it or fully complete it, but it’s there as something to keep me on track. It’s not working towards anything, but you can still use organisation to help with learning for learning’s sake.

I hope you enjoyed this insight! Why not reflect yourself on your work and learning patterns? Did this challenge you too to think about your approach to developing yourself?

I’ve realised I’ve enjoyed writing these reflections so much that I’m actually behind on some planned core content that I would like to do for my blog so I am going to alternate this content for a few months now to stay on top of it!

Note for prospective students: if you are looking for more structured content on medicine applications/ medicine at Cardiff or anything else, please head to my homepage to find the links to all of my previous blogs and a link to message me on Unibuddy where I am available all year round to assist your queries!

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