For Jack Miller, it started at age 9. First it was studying to get into an Opportunity Class, then to get into a selective school. He knew it was getting serious when he had to start missing Saturday morning Disney to go to tutoring. Then, between junior exams, maths and science tutoring, prelims, HSC, and gaming on his nights off, Jack soon became as estranged from his normal circadian rhythm as Drake is from his son.

“I’ve gotten this far,” attested Mr Miller, a 5th year student, defending his questionable sleep cycle. “And yeah, maybe I have dark circles under my eyes, but that could be genetic, you don’t know. You don’t know my life.”

When asked if he’s ever tried to balance all his commitments to allow for adequate rest, he irritably suggested we refer to what he called ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Med School Needs’, which has been included below for reference (Image 1).

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Image 1: Mr Miller’s understanding of the difficulty of leading a ‘balanced’ life in medicine.

“And if it really was as simple as choosing between good grades, a social life and sleep,” he went on to say, “then I’m sure as hell not going to give up my girlfriend and a shot at cardio for a nightly 8 hours. If I’m functioning at an acceptable level, it’s just not a priority.”

A member of The Jugular surveyed Phase 1 students to see if Jack’s sleep deficiencies were merely symptomatic of Phase 3 stressors. However, most Phase 1 students reported that, between a nigh constant bombardment of assignments and SG work and projects and prac exams and clinical exams and theory exams etc, regular sleep cycles were rarely adhered to.

“I think of it as a lifetime of training for 36 hour shifts, you know? If you build up to it, it’s easier to slip into zombie mode without threatening anyone’s life by making sleep-deprived mistakes. And if I get a little woozy,” Jack added, “I’ll just down a few espressos. Admittedly, caffeine doesn’t do much for me anymore but narcotics are out of the question, I guess, so what are you going to do.”

“I’ll be fine,” he laughed. “No one ever died of sleep deprivation, right?” This is, in fact, not right.

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