I am an artist about to begin a postbacc premed program (my undergrad is in history and art) with the intention of possibly continuing on to med school. I have worked part time jobs up until now (in my 30s), but this summer when I faced the fact that I will always have to have a day job and a full time one at that, I thought about how I would want to spend that time. Following my heart over my head perhaps, I am excited about working towards the medical field, despite the fact that it is the most difficult route given my background and age.
Getting to the point–how little time will I have for working in my art studio? I know med school will be more than the 50 hours of some job I could pick up and more draining. I also see that the 10 year education schedule passes through those better child-bearing years for me. While I have really disliked taking jobs in which I have little interest just to save energy for my art practise, I worry if I take on this endeavor that I will have to abondon art all together. Any thoughts, experiences appreciated.
My answer is “I’ll let you know”. I’m about to start my first year of med school. (I’m 43, married, mother of two); I’m an academically trained artist (BFA, MFA) and have exhibited my work up until part way through my post-bacc. Until moving recently, I still had some of my metalwork in a gallery/shop, but hadn’t exhibited in juried exhibits in about two years.
I can tell you that I miss showing my work less than I thought I would. Also, creativity has a way of morphing into different areas of one’s life so I’m less concerned with fitting “my work” into a frame. We’ll still set up a darkroom and a workshop here, but it’ll be as much for my family as it is for me…we’ll see how much I really get to do with that work.
There are opportunities to still make art while you’re in school. I worked on a student installation of handcarved ceramic tiles/mosaic at Penn State while I was doing my post-bacc. Some med schools have annual exhibits of work by students and faculty that are often well-done. If your school doesn’t have anything, you can always start something!
Hey, Mary, I didn't know you were an artist! That's so cool. I always wished I had some artistic or musical talent.
For both Sully & Mary, maybe you can both continue your art in your free time? You might not be able to show it in a gallery but if you have the supplies at home, why not continue to do it as a hobby?
If you're at the Denver convention next year, can you bring some of your art? I would love to see it.
|Getting to the point--how little time will I have for working in my art studio?...I worry if I take on this endeavor that I will have to abondon art all together. Any thoughts, experiences appreciated.|
Hi Sully! Welcome to OPM! I'm actually a newbee myself and I'd like to tell you about an artist/MD (resident)friend of mine who is currently managing the challenge of a demanding career and his love for sculpting. While he attended medical school a couple of years ago, he actually took a year off to devote to sculpting full-time! Back then, I remember his internal conflicts over wanting to finish a path he worked hard to arrive at, yet being unsure if he really wanted to commit to medicine for the rest of his life--and torn over wanting to pursue what had become a very passionate hobby of his. He began working on his sculptures and going to shows, making contacts, generally enjoying himself to the fullest inside the studeo. A year later it was time to let the medical school (MCG) know if he intended to keep his slot. He decided to return and I think gained a deeper perspective on his reasons for choosing medicine. Now as a PGY-2 in cardiology he still sculpts and makes room for what has become a little more than a hobby, now (http://www.bryanristow.com).
Although I personally don't have an ounce of artistic ability, I marvel at folks like you, Mary, and my friend Bryan who are gifted with many talents/abilities. It may not be easy for you to balance art and medicine, but I sense that you will be able to follow both your heart and head as Mary, Bryan and others have.
Hi sully, welcome to opm. I kind of understand your concern, I'm not an artist but I'm a horse nut (I saw Seabiscuit 3 times in one week, with different people). I have one horse (Morgan/Arab, who is my 2nd horse, the first one was 100% Thoroughbred). Before going back to school for pre-med studies, I showed (dressage and cross-country), so I was really into it. I was worried about my horse once I committed myself to these sometimes grueling classes. Even though I was in school, I still had to come up with board money and find time to exercise him or find someone to ride him for me, I thought of selling him because it wouldn't be fair to him if I didn't have time for him.
Well I'm glad I still have him, because I made time for him and when I'm burned out from school, it's nice to go into the country and go for a ride and I have a good friend who is an expert horsewoman who takes care of him when I bogged down with exams.
You will find the time for your art, it will become a welcome release, your art will rejuvinate you so that you can give back to your studies.
I’ve had a hard time trying to post a reply. Maybe this will work.
Thanks for all the responses. It’s been tough to figure out how much of a slooow-track my art will hit if I go to med school. I do think that even if there is a bit of time, I will be sacrificing most of my studio practice—the necessary focus for art will probably lesson with the distractions of exams. A tough call. While logically, my plan makes no sense, it feels right. And over the long haul, the experience might even be positive for my work, as it’s easy to become very narrowly focused in the arts, especially if your day job is of no interest. I have taught a couple undergraduate art classes over the past year (which I have loved), and moving out of NYC to teach off the east coast (no jobs here) is another option. But, for many reasons, I am drawn to the very very different health profession. I just hope I’m not shooting myself in the foot. At least, I’ll have a couple of years taking premed classes before I hit the no-turning-back point (cost wise).
I can’t tell you how great it is to hear of other artists on this path. I am a dancer/artist, and like you, Mary, am starting my first year at 43.
Sully, my belief is that making some kind of time to feed the creative or spiritual side of self (whatever you want to call it) can only enhance the other activities that we engage in. That being said, the information I seem to get from other students is that med school is all encompassing and will leave no room for other pursuits.
One way I got through pre-med and kept dancing was to think of it as a priority in the same way that studying was a priority. This actually helped my studies in the long run, I think, because I was not stressing out about never doing this activity I love. I also found that I came back to studies somewhat refreshed. I hope to find time in MSI in the same way, so I will be interested to see how you other creative types manage to balance.
Good luck Sully, I do believe that if you want to, you will find a way to do both. It may not be in the manner you think or are accustomed to, but it will be a challenge to your creativity to learn the balance, as it will be to mine!