Embarking on new paths

Beth Seagraves Brooke, MS1


Hi! I’m Beth, a first-year medical student here at University of Louisville School of Medicine. I’m one of more than a dozen non-traditional medical students in the Class of 2018. Non-traditional usually means people aged 27 and up who are making a career change. My first career was in journalism. I returned to school in 2011.

For me, the first semester was a struggle to balance home and school life. Though I succeeded in passing my courses, I did not succeed very well in life. As many faculty members have said repeatedly, “Medical school is a 60-70-hour-a-week job.” They are not exaggerating. Sometimes it’s more.

It was hard to keep up with all the material. I could barely find enough time to prep for class, review notes and study for quizzes, lab practicals and exams. Task after task began falling off my schedule. Eventually I didn’t even use a schedule. I knew where and when I needed to be and that’s all I could manage. Chores piled up until after each exam, time to call friends and family began to disappear and I did not make time for myself.

But, don’t fear. This is common. And most first-year students experience it. We’re blessed at U of L to have wonderful faculty who are aware of the difficulties we face and are always available for advice and help.

I debated whether to share my struggle with you, but if I can’t be honest what would be the point of this blog? Right?

This semester started four weeks ago and I am happy to say that I’m on top of things. I’m exercising a few times a week, I’m able to balance home life a little better and I’m even enjoying weekly dates with my husband. The pressure has eased up a bit and I’m getting a better handle on things.

I’m also beginning to enjoy some of the many extracurricular opportunities at U of L, such as an interactive wellness session with the Kentucky Center’s Arts in Healing program held in early January.

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This month brings with it decisions and deadlines for summer activities and opportunities for next year. I’m excited to see what I’ll get into in the next few months. Stay tuned!

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