FOMO in 2nd Year Medical School

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Patrick McGinnis coined the term FOMO in 2004 which literally means the Fear of Missing Out.

It’s an anxious feeling you get when you feel other people might be having a good time without you. It can also be the fear of missing social events or opportunities, a novel experience, or a profitable investment.

For me, it’s the desire of staying connected with what others are doing. It was highly apparent throughout my 2nd year in medical school. I didn’t want to miss all the fun… Although I also hoped that didn’t mean that I had to make bad decisions.

Our Pathology professor, despite his extraordinary examinations, favored students to enjoy their 2nd year in medical school. He stated that it might be the last year medical students could enjoy their time outside medicine.

I was relieved even if he said this before the last exam he’ll be giving for the year. Because I know I was on the right track, I enjoyed my 2nd year for sure.

This post is what I mentioned from my first blog and it will contain my mistakes and bad behaviors. It’s purely reflectional and for entertainment purposes only.

Here it goes.

Throwback 1st Year

Okay. I did okay here.

It was because I was determined to excel. I wanted to earn a discount because med school is quite expensive. In the Philippines, student loans weren’t popular unlike in other countries.

Still, I was blessed to have my fee fully paid. And thank God, the odds were in my favor. I managed to get included in the dean’s list.

Though, I thought I had my life together because I was prioritizing school. I didn’t want to have backlogs in my readings and I wanted to finish tasks as soon as possible. I was exercising, eating well, and had the love and support from my loved ones.

However, the odds weren’t always in my favor.

The Hurdle

Complacent and confident. Two attitudes I had at the start of the 2nd year. Not to mention, I was also experiencing my first heartbreak at that time. I was at the denial stage by the way.

I didn’t want to blame anyone for what happened. But I’m not going to lie, it was really tough. I was doing well with other subjects but one day, I realized that I needed to actually move on.

Moving on wasn’t easy because at first, I believed that I was strong even if it was far from reality.

The best thing about moving on is my friends aren’t getting tired of cheering me up! My friend said I needed to be not okay, to cry, and admit that it hurts.

I cried. A lot.

My Defense Mechanisms and Bad Decisions

I’ll be citing 3 from Sigmund Freud’s Defense Mechanisms & Self-Esteem Issues.

  • Denial — refuse to face a negative behavior
  • Reaction Formation — pretend you are different
  • Repression — putting things into darkness

In short, I was on a rough road. Trying hard to focus on understanding pharmacological mechanisms, etiologies of diseases, how to perform history taking while repressing my emotions, denying being sad and hurt, and pretending I’m totally fine.

I was in denial for 2 months or so. It was not until late August when I finally joined my friends every weekend nights (some weekdays too) to have fun and just forget about my responsibilities.

Checking pdfs, transes, and past exams while I’m out drinking. I was making a fool of myself. I know I didn’t understand what I was reading while drinking. But I did it anyway.

It helped me cope up with the heartbreak in a bad way, but it helped.

This is me justifying the bad behaviors I had. Regret wasn’t what I felt because I believe it will not define who I am now. These bad decisions from peer pressure, irresponsibilities, and lack of self-discipline needed to happen.

I needed to experience it to learn and change these behaviors and habits.

Reflection

Five months of drinking and “studying” was not enough for the actual moving on part. In my school, the only way they gauge the students’ performance is by checking how well you did in the long exams and how often you go to classes.

This is not something I am proud to admit but I did not do well in my long exams and I’m lucky I have thoughtful friends who sign the attendance on my behalf when I’m not around.

It was not until mid-February when I experienced another breakup, now it’s a friendship breakup. Heavier than the previous one but with the breakups, I realized a lot of things.

  • There are people who you will come to know, maybe you’ll be close to them too, but they will not be in your life forever. What’s amazing is that they will leave you great lessons and it will eventually help you grow.
  • It’s okay to experience what you are experiencing right now. That is vital for your own well-being. The challenge is how you will act on it, how you will forgive yourself and other people, and how you will learn from your mistakes.
  • Medical school can be balanced with night outs if you aren’t particular in getting high marks in your exams. Because to be honest, you must be present in class, listen actively to the lessons, take good notes and recall questions, study every day, drink some nights, to be able to identify yourself as a well-rounded medical student.

Of course, you must get over your heartbreaks too.

Healthily.

What I Wish I Did

Again, I do not regret what had happened. But I know there are healthier ways of getting over a heartbreak or becoming a good medical student.

So here are the things I wish I did before.

  1. Get rid of my FOMO 
    My friends will understand that I have priorities and I don’t need to be out every night just to be updated with what’s happening.
    It’s also the same in the case of watching popular shows on Netflix, sharing undeniably post-worthy memes, and spending too much time on other social media platforms because of the FOMO. I hope I realized earlier that I didn’t need to waste so much time checking other people’s lives.
  2. Seek His guidance intentionally 
    I am really guilty of not seeking help from Him. Although, every hurting nights that I cried, I also remember crying for His presence. But it wasn’t enough because I was only thinking about myself.
    I wish I continued seeking Him and I hope I started a new relationship with God earlier.
  3. Remember why I’m in the medical field 
    For sure it wasn’t only I who doubted about being in this field. About why we’ve chosen to spend the rest of our lives studying to help other people. If it’s really what we wanted.
    I hope I remembered every day about why I chose this career. Because through reminding myself about the reason then I’d be more self-disciplined. I would have done things in a mindful way that would help me in becoming better.
  4. Meditate 
    Whenever I feel anxious, angry, or unfair, I hope I learned how to meditate. Just by breathing deeply and focusing on how the air comes in and out of your lungs through your nose and mouth will help bring you at peace with yourself.
    Through meditation, I learned how to control my emotions and formulate healthier decisions for myself.

My Takeaway

If you aren’t ready to commit, then please just don’t.

I’m kidding.

Whatever you’ll experience is necessary to become the better version of yourself someday. You will know and understand that you needed to suffer to receive abundant blessings.

Remember to seek His guidance, always.

This blog is just me reflecting and I hope you got something valuable from it at least.

Thanks for reading!

What do you think of FOMO? If it doesn’t add value to your life, can you get rid of it?

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