Friday, November 25, 2011

Hobbies and Life Balance

This is outside the library on campus
Bring a grad student is a lot of work, a lot more than just having a job since you don't generally take your work home with you (especially in grossing!) but with school there is always more work to do, something else to review, make note cards for, etc. Studying is important, studying becomes a lot bigger part of your life than it has even been before. Studying can even be very interesting and the information can have correlations to things you will see in the gross room (I especially enjoyed the endoscopy lecture we had), but studying is very rarely fun. And studying all the time leads to burn out.

Going into grad school I acknowledged that I would be giving up a lot of my free time and set aside quite a few of my regular hobbies, passed on my responsibilities in organizations to others, and promised myself that it wouldn't be forever. I even left my sewing machine at home when I moved to North Carolina since I knew I wouldn't have the time for it.

I've given myself permission to keep up with a few things. I read at least one book for fun a month (thanks to the kindle app on my phone I can sneak a few minutes' worth of reading on the bus or while eating) and I have one or two TV shows I keep up with (thanks to Hulu, which currently has a Hulu prime trial membership that is a month or so for folks with a .edu email address, just FYI). I'm also averaging about one outing to the movies a month and play Words with Friends (user name is Thatgirlwiththescalpel, btw if you're interested!). I blog, which you've probably noticed, and that makes it okay that I have stopped my other writing for a year or two.

My food looked a lot like this, it was so good!
I like to go out to eat a couple times a month (today was Vietnamese food, which included a Vietnamese classmate who clued us in on all the different food types. The company was good and the food was absolutely delicious.) and try new things. Durham/Chapel Hill was voted America's Foodiest Small Town by Bonappetite magazine, which means it could take years and years to explore the various fantastic local food options. And I like to host dinners once a month or so (or as my budget and schedule allows it) for the company and the joy of sharing my food/culture with others.

Nice study view, right?
I also like to take time when possible to enjoy the views on campus. I know, I know! I've mentioned how gorgeous Duke is on a regular basis, but it really does make you feel better to walk out into those surroundings, take a deep breath of clear fall air and just soak in the scenery. Even if it is just going outside for an hour during lunch to soak up some sun and fresh air, or throwing open the windows in the PA student room. The view from the computer lab/printing room upstairs is quite nice as well, it looks like something from a Jane Austen novel (see picture).

Those are the things that keep me feeling like a balanced human being and not an academic automaton. I don't have any complaints, I'm busy but I'm happy and it has been a great experience so far. Of course, I'm eagerly anticipating our rotations but until then at least the studying part isn't driving me crazy :-D


  1. That plate of food looks sooo good!

  2. It was really delicious! Vietnamese spring rolls are extremely tasty, btw.