Free Time

Free time is a funny thing. The other day someone asked me what my hobbies were and what I did in my free time. I actually had to stop and think for a while, and when I answered, I told her I haven’t had free time in a really long time so I didn’t really know what to tell her. Having to study every open moment I had was torturous, yes, but it came with the territory of being a physician assistant student. I ended up telling the person who asked me the question what I used to like doing on weekends and breaks.

Oftentimes PA school has harsh effects on not just a person academically but also interpersonally. It’s sort of like you’re removed from what’s going on around you for a whole year. Sure I texted, messaged and called friends and family, but exchanges were sparse and short in duration due to, you guessed it, limited time, and also because I didn’t want to be distracted during my studying. That sounds bad, but you know how conversations can get carried away and take your attention away from your work? In order to finish studying at a reasonable time each night, I didn’t allow myself to text too much. Naturally, if communication is limited, relationships will become more distanced. But also through this trial I could see who was a true friend, the type of friend that would make an effort to empathize and keep in touch despite my situation. Admittedly, I was not the best friend to others because my schooling took so much of my time and effort, though I tried to keep up with friends as much as I could. Throughout the entire year, my family was amazing. They encouraged me, prayed for me, and made an effort to go through the year alongside me, which meant everything.

I think I’ve become somewhat of a hermit because now I see free time as an opportunity to catch my breath and rest. This usually works out because in the past three years of living in New York, hanging out with others was not really something I did. Now that I have additional time during the day and many weekends free (depending on the rotation), it’s a weird feeling. Last night I was reading snippets of an emergency medicine textbook and went through old notes while I ate ice cream in bed. And today I’ll do the same, minus the ice cream because I finished it yesterday.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful for the past year and I love what I’m doing right now. There are just aspects of PA school that I feel aren’t talked about as much and it’s something I have learned to come to terms with. I would never do the past year over again, but if I could go back and prepare myself and my friends and family better, I would. But then again, I had no idea what I was getting into. Perhaps after I’ve settled into rotation life I’ll give an update about free time hobbies.

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