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Balancing work and medical school

Elliott DE

Both work and medical school can be incredibly strenuous on their own, which means pairing them can be a nightmare. Fortunately we can help.

Throughout medical school I worked multiple jobs, always concurrently. I attended medical school from 2011 to 2015, and had to work to pay rent, buy subsistence (food), and meet the costs of the medical program. Balancing work and medical school is one of the greatest problems that medical students will face, particularly for those who don’t come from wealthy backgrounds. Indeed, this is especially relevant in the context of an ongoing reduction in student financial support under successive Australian governments. This has been demonstrated to increase student dropouts and precipitate precarious student mental health, particularly for non-traditional cohorts – a huge concern in an already stressful medical school environment, where rates of depression and suicide are much higher than the general population.

The necessity of paid employment is a constant feature for many contemporary students, especially as government support is at its lowest level yet. Medical school is a difficult environment to find regular work in, due to the unpredictability of the study schedule and the requirement for a huge number of clinical placements. When I tell my non-medical colleagues or peers who can afford to not work, about my schedule there is often shock and astonishment that I am able to work 2-3 casual jobs whilst completing medical school (where you probably study around 6-10hrs a day, including classes/placement). How