I got a chance to do some volunteering in Slovenia’s largest hospital. Specifically, in the department of pulmonology. It may be weird that a first-year student is volunteering, and many are surprised by this fact. But I asked around, I took took the chance and I enjoy it. I don’t see a reason against it.
The first year of medical school is more than less pure theory, which makes perfect sense to some extent. After having finished it, it was clear to me that I’m looking at at least another 2 years of theory and very little practice. But volunteering so early did 2 things in terms of my thinking for me:
- It proved to me that it’s always possible to find practical work for myself, regardless of the curriculum. And all of this just by asking if that’s possible and having the will - being proactive.
- It put me in a sense of positive thinking. A sense of satisfaction that someday I’ll be able to do what I observe. But more importantly, it solidified that my choice of studying medicine was more than correct.
Learning from experience and about what interests you are one of the best study techniques. Even though teaching others is even better, some theoretical facts suddenly crystallised when observing the work at the department. Like for example, where to listen to the heart of a patient. Or the origin of cystic fibrosis and why should the patients be kept in separate rooms. No matter how basic these were. It’s also interesting how some procedures that I know from real life, even as simple as measuring the blood pressure, became more demanding when a patient was in front of me. The values are suddenly important, as is their well-being. And exactly the contact with the patient has been such a great learning experience for me - one which I would otherwise have to wait a few years on.
How about my performance? I get to wake up early and finish volunteering for the day by about noon (or even earlier). It makes use of the time I have in the morning, but still leaves plenty of it in the afternoon. It gives me a boost in the morning, kind of like a morning routine does
, and I’m good for the day.