Thursday, September 10, 2015

USA Medical Students Find Fun Ways to Balance Academic Life

Fourth-year USA medical students, from left: Dheepa Sekar, Brandon Finnorn and Bryn Culpepper
Medical school is an incredibly challenging time for an aspiring doctor; there is competition, rigorous academics and a constant pressure to keep up with the work load. Medical students find different ways to address the stress that comes with medical school. Three fourth-year students from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine are doing just that.

Bryn Culpepper of Mobile, Ala., practices Taekwondo in her spare time. She has been practicing Taekwondo for 17 years and is a fourth-degree black belt. Culpepper is also a certified instructor and attends classes at United States Taekwondo, located in Daphne, Ala., as much as she can. Culpepper said she enjoys the camaraderie that Taekwondo provides. “Working out among peers definitely helps me to de-stress,” she said.

“Being a black belt and certified instructor, I’ve had to do a lot of teamwork,” Culpepper added. “Taekwondo requires discipline and willpower and has taught me to persevere when things get hard.” She feels that these skills acquired from Taekwondo will be useful in her future career.

Taekwondo has helped Culpepper cope with the stress of becoming a doctor as well as develop character-building skills that will be beneficial for her during the years to come.

Dheepa Sekar, another fourth-year USA medical student, has been a traditional Indian dancer for 22 years. “This form of dance is to Indian culture what ballet is to Western culture,” Sekar explained. “When I was growing up, everyone was taking ballet and jazz lessons, and I just decided I want to do this instead!”

Sekar grew up taking Indian dance lessons and now practices at home during her spare time. “It’s very rooted in ancient Indian culture. Growing up, it was a way for me to learn about my heritage,” Sekar said. She also explained that each dance tells its own story, which adds an emotional aspect to the traditional art form.

Sekar uses dance to help balance the stress that comes with her academic life. “It’s a good grounding source,” Sekar said.

Fourth-year medical student Brandon Finnorn began fishing with his dad when he was just two years old. Now 25, he has been fishing for 23 years and competes in sportsman fishing tournaments. Finnorn enjoys being out on the water and escaping from the rush of everyday life. “I like being outside, and it’s good family time for us as well,” Finnorn said. “We never know what we’re going to catch or what will happen. We always come back with some kind of story. It’s good to get your mind off medicine for a little while.”

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