The muse of inspiration is a very elusive fellow. The mole in Whack-A-Mole comes to mind, or that crafty Bugs escaping poor Elmer Fudd. Maybe it senses my subconscious’s mixed feelings towards creativity (like, why did I choose such violent analogies?) but whatever the reason inspiration is certainly not sleeping in my bed at nights.
Of course, if being inspired isn’t part your day job, it’s much harder to clear the cobwebs from your boxed up dusty mind at whatever odd times you can snatch to first be inspired then find the time and will and consistency to write or paint or choreograph. If you’re not in a state of continuous and conscious open-mindedness (as, for example, in my day job where being closed off happens whether you want it to or not) your task is that much harder.
My problem isn’t getting inspired though. I frequently think of topics I’d like to talk about at length, or story ideas to get on paper (someday) but at the exact moment of inspirational breakthrough I am nowhere near pen or paper or laptop. I’m in a taxi, or about to head out to work, or in the middle of seeing a patient and my brain goes ‘We’ll just file it away for later’ and it goes the way of the Dodo.
(I cannot be the only person whose brain does this).
The obvious solutions are to jot down a quick line on my phone so I can remember at least what I was so inspired about. Or to walk around with a voice recorder (or, again, use the one on my phone. Ha.). But, that quick line on my phone often fails to capture the essence, the vivre, of my brief excitement. The line goes dead and hangs limply in black pixels, mocking me with its wasted potential. Repeat ad nauseam.
Perhaps the real solution is to quit my day job and roam the streets, laptop or notepad in hand, digging for inspiration like a coal miner: grubby, starving and desperately grateful for the light of the sun.
Why is it so much easier for me to slog through medical school than it is for me to sit down and pen an entry?
Since when has medicine been easier than writing? Well, easier than writing well at least. Usually my procrastination habits work the other way around, and I put off everything that resembles work-and-study for a few hours’ bliss of just typing out whatever comes into my head. I think, somehow, I have made writing a lot more like . . . work.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing – getting better at something takes dedicated practice – but when it’s coupled with my habit of avoiding everything that I have to do, well, you get the picture.
The bottom line? I need to pull myself up by the britches and get some work done, instead of just lazing about. This clerkship is such a golden opportunity for writing (and, more importantly, writing time) and I’m just wasting it.
It’s the time of year again when medical students lose more sleep than normal, drink inhuman amounts of coffee and somehow still manage to freak out that they don’t know enough while reading five textbooks simultaneously.
And I know you’re thinking But if you have exams, how come you’re still writing this blog? The answer is simple. Because it’s a heck of a lot more fun than trying to commit to memory the embryology of the uterus. In fact, several things have turned out to be more fun than trying to learn a semester’s worth of anatomy in a matter of days. Reading romance novels, for instance. Or spending all day on Facebook, which usually ranks pretty low on my list of Fun Things but for some reason skyrockets in fun-ness when compared to Pharmacology. Blogging has so far been the most productive thing I’ve done all weekend. This happens to me every time. :|
By now you’re probably thinking, she’s totally prepared for exams already, but I can readily assure that that’s far from the case. I still have a ton of videos to watch, past papers to go through and memorize, and lectures to read over. Yet here I sit, tapping away at the keyboard like blogging will somehow guarantee me an A this semester.
I’ve fallen into this habit of putting things off just because I don’t have the right resources. I procrastinate like it’s a career, so adding a new reason for my laziness is like a diabetic demanding extra icing on her cake. Some things can actually be discouraging, like not having a proper desk or study area, and anyone who’s ever tried to study on their bed can tell you that that’s 70% of study motivation right there.
But it’s gotten so ridiculous that I won’t start studying because I don’t have a yellow highlighter. A yellow highlighter. Because I won’t be able to colour-code my notes. A yellow highlighter. Maybe it’s the denouement of a slippery slope of ridiculous procrastination, but it was a wake up call to stop wasting time.
It’s just a highlighter, for goodness’ sake.
– Do you procrastinate? What silly reasons do you give yourself for not starting something on time?
I never thought I’d say this, but it seems like life was a whole lot easier when I didn’t have an internet connection at my fingertips. People expected less of me. They were simpler times. I was happier.
Now that I have it, I have to use it to study. The horror! One of the reasons (the only reason, really) I have internet access so readily is that it’s fairly integral to my studies. How integral could it be, you may argue, if medical students ten or twenty years ago didn’t have it and graduated just fine? To which I would succinctly reply, they didn’t have Facebook.
Another thing is that now I actually have to do all those things I told people I couldn’t do because I didn’t have net access that often. Like update WordPress (I like to be meta sometimes), or hang out with my fanfiction peeps, or fangirl over Super Junior. Those are all hilariously unrealistic ideals because we all know the only thing I fangirl over is Doctor Who. And cats. The same goes for ‘things I update’, and ‘people I hang out with’.
The sad reality is that all this newfound net-savvy streak is doing for me is making me a much better procrastinator. That’s why at midnight on a school night, I am typing this entry instead of pre-reading for my lectures tomorrow.
Exams are around the corner, and my Facebook feed is buzzing with frustrated status updates and calls to religion. The academic world is stressed and it’s not just the students. Lecturers are cramming in last minute tutorials, tutors are trying to get the thickest of skulls to understand the most complicated concepts.
And me? I’m blogging in class one week before my first exam.
Exams should come labeled like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m talking FDA mandated black box style warnings here because, frankly, life-threatening side effects are likely to result from the misuse of this drug.
A good healthy dose of panic is all well and good, but in the long run all it guarantees you is hypertensive heart failure. And possibly tin foil hats.
I’m guilty of the same things as everyone else (wittily expounded on here in this article from Cracked) but I like to think that as a professional procrastinator stress won’t kick my butt (too badly).
In the past I’ve done nothing differently when exams got closer. I’d been looking at past questions and reviewing my notes from the year started. And those exams didn’t ask you to remember much anyway.
Medical school is an entirely different kettle of fish. I do nothing for the first half of the semester and then suddenly wake up a month before the exams to a wonderland of gargantuan titles, obscure diseases and complex pharmacology. Joy.
But I’m still not stressing (much). I have to completely rearrange my schedule, rethink my study strategies (invent study strategies, more like) and really really try not to fail this.
It’s a working progress and we’ll see the results in about two months. Crossing my fingers.
P.S. I owe Project 52 and entry from last week! I’m behind on everything but I’ll get to it soon.