As a medical student, my chief responsibility is to learn, unfortunately this often translates to large amounts rote memorization. As medical students, we memorize everything: science concepts, medical terminology, classic presentations of diseases, lists of common illnesses, names of famous dead men who discovered such and such disease… some days all we do is sit and put things in our brain, drinking from the proverbial fire hose of knowledge…
Endless memorization naturally leads to boredom and the question, what is worth memorizing? How do we decide what we want to put in our brains? Will this content be on the test? Will these facts be useful to know in the future? How relevant is this material?
Each day we can only remember a limited amount of things. To cope with and balance the never-ending medical memory marathon, I have started committing to heart non-medical things worth remembering.
I’m a person that dislikes memorizing and I used to think it a waste of time to memorize poems, verses and speeches. If I wanted to know that stuff, I could always just look it up. I was wrong.
When your days degrade into medical fact after fact, being able to recite and ponder over some poetry becomes a breath of fresh air for your mind. It gives you a balanced perspective on life. You remember that there is whole world outside your knowledge bubble. It can be as simple as singing a few lines from your favorite song that can cheer you up. These short snippets and recollections of words make us human and experience emotion.
So take the time to memorize a few lines of Shakespeare. Imprint the words of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” in your heart. Write out your favorite quotes. Select some Bible verses that will help you in troubled times. It is in these few words, that motivate and inspire us, that meaning and value is added into our lives.
Some Things I Have Memorized Recently
- When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be – John Keats
- Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
- In Flanders Fields – John McCrae
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – The Bible