Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to convince yourself that your procrastination is actually healthy….by March blogger of the month Justin Levinson

The Negev Memorial is located right out of the
city, and its where many students like to run.
When thinking about Medical School, some students might not consider extracurricular activities to be an important consideration. However, I must disagree – especially in a place like BeerSheva. Therefore, in this blog, I'd like to tell you just few of the numerous outside activities people have immersed themselves in.

To begin, studying medicine takes a lot of time, patience, and energy. Undoubtedly, all of us are highly interested in medicine, and showing us pictures of gross anatomy or a necrotic histology just peaks our interest even further. However, everyone needs their non-medical outlet. While many of us just collapse after a hard day's work into watching TV, reading novels, and chatting on Skype, all of us have also found a hobby, interest, or extracurricular activity which gets us out of the usual routine. My opinion is that it is these outlets that keep us sane.

So let me give you just a peek at some of the activities:
Phil wakes up at ungodly hours on the weekend to go bird watching. Sarah spends Wednesdays making works of art in the Old City. Aubrey and Evan beat away their stress in their respective martial arts classes. Others dance away the pressures of the past week at Einstein's student bar. And I spend some of my extra time in a research lab.

My neighbor's dog who accompanies me on my walk
to class every day, because Israelis don't care to
lock up or leash their dogs.
Now, I can understand if you'd be more interested in hearing stories about other people's activities instead of my 'boring' research, but too bad - I'm the author of this post. I volunteer in Prof. Lewis's diabetes research lab. Current students know Dr. Lewis as their past BioChem professor, and future students will come to know him as the most intense yet engaging teacher of the first semester. The lab is mostly filled with Israeli Masters students, but me and a second year, Jared, volunteer our time as well. For the most part, we isolate mouse pancreatic islet cells for further studies pertaining to diabetes, but I'm not going to bore you with the details. The point is that everyone needs their outlet from the pressures of school.

I should also mention the plethora of student-led MSIH groups, such as SACH (Save a Child's Heart), PHR (Physicians for Human Rights), or AMSA (American Medical Student Association). Basically, you could spend every day in a different activity, just make sure you remember what you really came to Beersheva for. And although it does take time to stumble across your own extracurricular niche in Beersheva, it is very important. Whether it's Monday night student-led Salsa lessons on campus, Friday morning group jogging to the Negev Memorial, or just weekly Shabbat dinner with the roommates, finding an enjoyment outside of class is the healthy recommendation from this doctor (in-training). - Justin Levinson