I was in my 2nd year of post-graduation during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. 4-5 days after an emergency 24 hour duty, I developed symptoms of flu along with high fever. As per the guidelines issued, I got my test done and was detected with swine flu. Fortunately, I just had mild infection but i was forced to undergo a 12 day quarantine.
Being a second year surgery PG, when the surgical opportunities in the emergency duties are plenty, I was initially a bit frustrated but within a day or two, I decided to utilize that time wisely. I set aside 3 tasks for myself during that period and made sure that I finished them before going back to the hospital.
1) I planned to revise bailey and maheshwari for my upcoming MRCS exam
2) Submit two scientific papers in pubmed indexed journals
3) Segregate my wildlife pictures into various folders for handy use
I realized that doing just one thing the entire day wouldn’t be possible, so I allocated 4-5 hours to studies and 1 hour each to the other two tasks. This left me with enough time to exercise, watch TV for 1-2 hours a day.
At the end of the 12 days, I had accomplished all the three tasks and felt extremely happy while returning to work.
A lot of undergraduate students are going through the same phase during this lock-down and I would highly recommend that you follow these simple steps to make the most of this period
1) Make a realistic study plan for yourself : Don’t be over ambitious, otherwise you will feel disappointed at the end of 21 days. At the same time, don’t set yourself a very simple goal because that would lead to you wasting a lot of time on social media or watching netflix
2) Use this free time to work on your hobby : You might not get such a period for a long time after this. Don’t forget to read that book which has been lying on your shelf since a long time or pick up the canvas and re-juvinate your passion for drawing. These hobbies would be your stress-busters for the rest of your life and they will also allow you to break the monotony during this lock-down period
3) Each day spend quality time with your family members: Watch a movie together or play some board/ card game. You will treasure these memories life long.
4) Exercise/ meditate for at least one hour daily: I’m sure your mother’s would be pampering you with delicacies but you don’t want to end up gaining 2-3 kg’s during this period. Also, this would help you in staying sane during this phase when all you are hearing is gloomy/ depressing news regarding COIVD19
5) Try to learn some new skill – there are a lot of free courses on internet. You can probably learn a new language or hone your photography skills by doing these courses.
I have also set a few goals for myself during this period and I would like to share them with you. Will update you at the end of this period regarding the progress which I have made regarding these.
• Apply for Fellow of American College of Surgeons (FACS)
• Publish two articles regarding my breast cancer patients
• Me and Dr. Ila have sighted and clicked more than 120 Indian birds over the last 10 years. I want to print a book with all these images for our reference
• Do a online course to improve my photography skills
I hope this posts helps the undergraduate students plan these days better. Do reach out to me if you are able to make a list for yourself and keep sharing your progress with me. It will motivate me to achieve my targets as well.
PS – attaching a pic of me and Dr. Ila Jain Khandelwal which we clicked during our swine flu quarantine period.