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Benefits of learning things outside of medicine

Learning is a lifelong process and the most successful people try to learn things within and outside their professions. It’s great for medical students to be hyper-focused on academia, but there is also value in learning things outside of medicine that can come in handy in daily life.


Here are some things that is useful in any profession and can help you navigate the world:


1. Financial literacy

It does not have to be scary and neither does it need to involve high risk stocks!

Becoming financially literate can be daunting for many, and especially those who have chosen the relatively safe and steady path of medicine. It does not have to be scary and neither does it need to involve high risk stocks! There are a variety of investment strategies that focus on your needs including low risk index funds, mutual funds, tax-deductible retirement plans etc. It is just as useful to understand the ins and outs of savings accounts, insurance plans, how bank loans work and how to wisely manage your money early. By planning out savings and investments, this will allow you to spend wisely and freely.


Useful resources: Ramit Sethi’s Youtube videos and books (“I Will Teach You To Be Rich”)




2. Computer science


A major movement towards healthcare technology is happening in the world. Many top medical schools around the world have started to incorporate coding, virtual reality, and machine learning into their education. Computer science is more important now than ever! Remember the time when your grandparents did not find it important to stay ahead of technology? Knowing the basics of computer science and coding will inevitably help you get ahead of your peers. The amount of information and free courses provided by top universities such as Harvard and Stanford will help you have a basic understanding of computer science and machine learning.


Useful resources: Coursera: Machine Learning by Andrew Ng; Harvard CS50 course on EdX




3. Global current events

Take advantage of the ease of access to current headlines!

Breaking news: We hear and see this phrase every single day. There is always something happening and with news being so instant nowadays, it is imperative that we keep ourselves up to date. Take advantage of the ease of access to current headlines! Keeping in touch with the world outside of medicine ensures that you widen your breadth of knowledge and it may motivate you to get involved in a specific cause happening around the world like the “Black Lives Matter” movement or the fight for climate change. Some of these events can seem way beyond what we can handle but it can motivate us to make changes in our lives to contribute to positive change. Staying in touch with the rest of the world will not only keep you well informed but it will make you a better person as well as a better doctor.


Useful Resources: BBC, Channel News Asia



4. Cooking

Living in the UK means learning how to cook will almost inevitably be a necessity.

Malaysia spoils us with all kinds of foods and unlike in the UK, eating out in Malaysia is cheap. Therefore, living in the UK means learning how to cook will almost inevitably be a necessity. It will be scary at first and you might think the first thing you will need to stock up on are packets of instant noodles. But don’t worry, a lot of us felt the same way, but cook often enough, and you’ll learn so much. It’ll be a routine and somewhere along the way, and you will learn to enjoy cooking as well as the end product. Recipes are so accessible and simple to follow nowadays that learning to cook has never been easier. Start with simple meals, like fried rice or an omelet. As soon as you get the hang of things, it will be easier to elevate your meals and try new recipes. Learning to cook will also mean that you can eat more healthily as you decide what ingredients to use and you can get a little taste of home once in a while by cooking Malaysian meals.


Useful Resources: BBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver, Sugu Pavithra’s Youtube Channel




5. Music

Music has the power to lighten our moods and help us feel in tune with our emotions and we all know that we could use a pick me up every now and again, so why not give it a go?

It is no rarity for Malaysian students to have some form of musical training whether it be piano, violin, guitar or singing. When furthering your studies overseas, many students leave that side of their life back home. However, continuing on your musical journey overseas may benefit you more than you know. Learning or re-learning a musical instrument helps you to take your mind off of your studies for a little while and explore other forms of productivity. We all know the saying that music can transport you to your own world, so what better way to take a break from all the stress of medical school by learning to play an instrument? It is also an impressive new skill to pick up and with practice, you are able to perform for friends and family! Learning an instrument can also help improve your hand-eye coordination (for all you surgery buffs out there) and studies have shown that learning a musical instrument strengthens your memory and reading skills. It is not difficult to get your hands on instruments overseas; even second hand ones are relatively easy to get if you want something simple to start out with. Music has the power to lighten our moods and help us feel in tune with our emotions and we all know that we could use a pick me up every now and again, so why not give it a go?


Useful Resources: GuitarLessons

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