Connected Conversations | Aidan Barbo
In the new instalment of our Connected Conversations series, first-year medical student Aidan Barbo shares how he broke some bad habits and adjusted to a new routine. He has also been keeping a journal to document his experience.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Aidan. I am a first-year medical student and I live in the CBD with four other students who study different degrees. I think I’m laid back and easy to get along with. However, I do take my interests such as studying and sports seriously. Recently, I’ve taken an interest in triathlons and wish to complete one when this is over. Usually, I detach from the serious and competitive side of life by attending social events, spending time with friends and meeting new people, which I really enjoy. I also try and volunteer during the breaks, particularly for organisations which help people experiencing social injustice, as this is important to me.
How have the current changes at University impacted your daily routine?
Initially, the adjustment was tough. I found myself in bad habits which disrupted my sleeping pattern, diet, studying and exercising routine. The temporary pause to our studies really amplified my bad habits, but now I have managed to find a routine and stick with it.
What do you miss most about physically being at University?
I truly miss seeing my classmates because I was forming great relationships and meeting new people every day. Also, I never thought I would say it, but I miss attending class...specifically, the 8 am classes! I now understand how important class is, as it provides structure to our lives. Without structure, I feel we have nothing else to wake us in the morning and stop us from eating things we should not be eating.
Have you adjusted your expectations to what you can achieve at the moment?
I had this idea of covering the whole semester’s topics (in five weeks) when the temporary teaching pause to the medical degree was announced. I developed an ambitious, but unrealistic plan, which I attempted to follow through with. The following day, I needed to cover a large amount of material spanning across different courses. This was the expectation for six days of the week. I thought by day seven I would relax and recover. I was wrong! I was exhausted by the second day and couldn’t recall what I had read effectively. The school provided us with some learning resources which were far more achievable... of course, now I am using that instead!
Name one thing during this time that has been pleasantly surprising for you.
Most people living in the CBD own a dog!
What are you doing to stay motivated?
Using a schedule. I try and go to bed at the same time every day and stick to a realistic and disciplined routine. I also exercise, read and socialise–at a distance!–with the souls I live with. This reminds me that everything will be okay.
What’s the best advice you have heard to stay positive during this time?
As ridiculous as it sounds, assume the worst and work off that. If the situation remained for the entire year or beyond that. What will you do with this spare time? Maybe learn something completely new? Stop putting off that thing you’re interested to have a go at. Do it!
Name three things you won’t miss about this current moment in time.
People crossing the street when you are walking on the same path as them (but maybe that’s just me?) Not being able to physically attend class and not seeing friends and family regularly.
And, three things you won’t forget.
How rare and unique this experience is. I have even journaled about my experiences and thoughts and will continue to do so until this is all over! Feeling hopeless at times about this situation (this has since gotten better) and the relationship I have built with myself.