Finding time between studying and your passion


Finding time between studying and your passion

“I was so passionate, I don’t know where it all went away” 

I looked at the ceiling pondering over these thoughts one night.  I was struck in the monotony of life and had gotten fearful of trying. There were so many things I was passionate about but never knew how I was leaving them slowly one by one as time went by.

" I don't have time. Maybe it was not for me. I shouldn't do this when I have to study. It isn't a good fit for me. I should rather live a hustle free life. It is not good to be seen. It is not good to be heard. I should play it low. Maybe it is for others." 

When I said these to myself over years, a part of my passion died each time. My heart had wilted to the point I didn't know if it could be rejuvenated with more water. I didn’t know whether something was wrong with me or how I was thinking was wrong itself. But I couldn’t help but feel something was lacking in my life. I wasn't happy with my life. I wished I could find a way back into the things that I was passionate about.

Finding time between studying and your passion

Such sorts of feelings are fairly common. In fact,  most of us students feel that way in some part of our life.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

We all have heard this good old proverb that working most of the time is not good for us which is true. But as much as we don’t want to admit,  it is apparent that studying takes a lot more time than we imagined it to.  So, should we study or pick up other things for sake of not being dull? We cannot find a clear answer to it. It is a dilemma for students as not everything in life is learnt from the books. And for a student, studying plays an important part of his life and is the habit he wants to develop, is trying to develop and is trying to maintain it.  Lectures take the majority of the day time of any student’s day and you come home trying to juggle time for either studying, resting or pursuing passion but end up not finding time for all of them. I am a student myself and I can relate to this feeling very much. 

I am currently in my 4th year of Medical School. I feel University life is quite different from school life. The volume of content that we are reading is enormous and the time required to complete it is short. So, we have more lectures and clinical postings with special emphasis on self studying. In the midst of this, the passion for other things gets buried away as we juggle to find a balance between studying and relaxing. A part of us yearns to get out of it and a part of us is fearful of what can be the possibilities in pursuing our passion.  We sit behind with hollowness in our heart thinking maybe we could do better but we just don’t know how to. I often used to sit behind with these feelings before.

But something changed when I started blogging and started writing. I felt everything fell back to place when I could devote my time into something that I was passionate about. Through writing, I could discover myself more. My thoughts got clearer and the vision of helping others with what I learnt got stronger as well.  It also felt like a medium for me to not only write for others but for myself as well. In addition, I could return back to my other passions as well while still continuing to study.

Through this calling of change and following my passion, I learnt a lot of things that I will like to share to you if you are also struck in life and want to find time between studying and pursuing your passion, 

1.    You have already what it takes, inside of you

     Finding time between studying and your passion

As much as we don't believe in these words, this is the truth that we eventually come across. In our daily life, we often overlook our capability of what we can do and underestimate ourselves. We give in to thoughts of how we cannot do certain things because of limited time which makes us fearful of trying. We regard our time as meant for studying only, cancelling everything. But the sad part is that sometimes we cannot even bring ourselves up to studying as well. We feel like we cannot do other things beside studying. It may be suited for others. People naturally have it but not me. Eventually, our attempt dies before trying. Our guitar lies in the case, our paints remain untouched, the dance choreographies remain hidden in the download button and the writing you wrote remains incomplete.


 But the truth is we already have what it takes inside of us to manifest our vision into reality. The thing is that in the moment, our fear paralyzes our beliefs and capabilities, making us think that we cannot do anything. We feel like if only we have motivation, maybe we can do it. The right time which we hope to, has not arrived yet, as we wait day after day. What we fail to realize is that we will be gone someday forever; with our heart aching of how much we wanted to do yet couldn't do. It will be a sad ending to our story that we don't want to imagine. However we are doing the same with ourselves slowly unknowingly. 


We may wonder if  there is anything to break this pattern? There is. It’s when we realize that we have to stop underestimating ourselves and not rely on motivation always. Because there are so many things in our life we do without motivation. The right time is now and we have  already inside us what it takes it to start. We underestimate ourselves very much and think how things go bad. Instead let’s visualize how good it will be to achieve what we have desired, how peaceful it will be in  having years of hard work put into practice. And the good thing is that the right time is now to put that hard work in practice. So this time let’s give in to the miracle of believing in our capability than disbelieving that we always used to do. Let’s  give in a little more to miracle and try. Miracle happens for the reason how something happens when we didn't think it would happen.


 Few months ago, I wouldn’t have known I would be committed to writing consistently. I used to believe that I am bounded by my books only. When I looked out of the box, it opened the possibility to what lies. When I let go of the feeling that “Maybe it is not for me”  to “ I will try” then it opened up the possibility. I now try to keep myself as busy as I can. Taking opportunities after opportunities and learning as I go.  

2.                Reframing the language between “Have to” vs. “Choosing to”

 Finding time between studying and your passion

"I have to study. I have to do my job. I have to write."


Much of our life we go saying “I have to” rather than “I am choosing to”.But, when we say I have to study, the joy in learning fades away. When we say I have to write, the joy in writing fades away. 


Recently, I was going through this same feeling while writing. I felt I have to read more and I have to write more. With all these doubtful thoughts going on, I couldn’t write at all. Then I read an article from Jeff Goins, where he wrote,” Write for the joy of writing”. His words resonated with me making me  realize the reason I started writing was  because I loved it. Everything felt into place effortlessly from there as if it was meant to fit in like that by treating both my studies and pursuing my passion as a joy.  


As such, it can serve as a beautiful reminder to us that when we pursue our passion thinking it as a choice and doing it for the sheer joy it brings, it will flow into our life effortlessly without having to ponder about it.


3.                Intentionally making time for it 


    Finding time between studying and your passion

 Humans have something in common i.e. we all get tired after going through a busy day  surrounded by the temptation of distraction of the internet.As we get tired, our will for doing things also decreases. Time seems to pass so soon that we cannot seem to commit to other things although we want to.


  For this, we can make time intentionally for what we want to do. What I learnt from the book Atomic Habit by James Clear is that any habit can be  downsized to 2 minute and for starting we just need to do it for 2 minute and not more than that because those are the 120 seconds that determine the habit. So,start any habit start with 2 minutes only and do it consistently. We can do same both for our studying and pursuing passion because we get overwhelmed at first thinking from where to start. It can helps us get started which is the step that we commonly have a problem in.

Also in the book, what I learnt was showing up was more important than the time we committed. So each day, show up for your studying and show up for what you are passionate about. 


"What I have realized in the little life I've lived is this- "tempus fugit"- time flies. I know that what I considered distant 5 years back, isn't that distant anymore and I'm actually living it today. So my goal always centers around making the best use of this gift, I'm gifted. How? By doing things I love. You know what I love? I love being productive and feeling the value of life. Therefore, I do things. Some might label it passion, some- work, but whatever I plan, prioritize, and perform is something I dearly love and give all of my head and heart into. The "balance" I make in my "work" schedule and "passion", all centers around not wasting any bit of this valuable asset- time”

-Naveen Gautam


While writing this article, I had a chance to interview people of my field whom I personally look up to. This is what my friend Naveen said who is an outstanding student himself and multitalented. He is National Officer of SCOME, immediate past president of Alliance Against AMR- IOM and  Ambassador at Elsevier/ CBS. He is a highly performing individual who is very passionate about writing, Graphic Designing, Medical Research, taking courses. From what he said we can get inspiration on how his time revolves around prioritising and making time for what he loves and that’s how he is able to do so.  People who achieve are the one who knows the value of time. Success doesn't happen by accident. So we can do the same if we make time for what we love by intentionally choosing to.


4.                Giving undivided attention for tasks at hand


   Finding time between studying and your passion

The problem that I encountered in my journey as I was pursuing my passion alongside studying was that, as I was attending lectures, my mind was constantly thinking about ideas and what to write that I couldn’t focus in class. And while writing, I was stressed thinking I have so much left to study. Now, what I do is, drawing a clear margin. I focus only on lectures while studying. This way I could understand concepts very well. If any ideas arise, I say to myself I will think about it  after the lectures.  While I am writing, sometimes I even turn off music as well so that I could write well. I don’t use social media until at the break. Thus by drawing clear margin and giving undivided attention to both things, I could pursue both during the day.


5.                Trying new ways to pursue passion

        Finding time between studying and your passion

By trying new ways to pursue our passion, we eliminate the excuse of how we are not able to do it and instead spend time on doing what we love. As I wanted to continue writing, I learnt new ways to fit it into my routine and among which is using technology to my fullest. Indeed, Technology has now made it easier to pursue our passion. Earlier, I used to write only through computer but recently I started writing on my phone through Google Docs. It syncs whatever I type in any device to both devices. I have my phone with me everytime so now when I get ideas, I write on my phone and it has been easier.


I also applied a new way to pursue my other passion of reading by listening to audiobooks while I was exercising as I couldn't find time to read when my lectures started. Trying these new ways has eased me to do things that I always loved. I write deliberately now whenever  I have ideas and have craving to write as well. One phenomenal  thing I read from Dr. Bishal Gyawali book "Journey of Success" is that when we have desire to study that is very beautiful and we should study then and there. Similarly, we can also pursue whatever passion we want when we get an urge to do it right then and there. 


In other areas, we can use technology to learn cooking, to practise musical instruments, to take online courses and many more. I personally learnt to open blog through youtube. It is good that nowadays there is no limit to what we can be thanks to technology. Similarly, other new ways to pursue passion can be joining a book club, study group, workout groups or groups that we are passionate about. I have recently joined book club and the meetings are something I look forward to every week with people who share same passion. 


6.                Filtering distraction


     Finding time between studying and your passion

We live in an age where we have tools that can easily distract us. The same technology can be a distraction. How a 5 minute break into social media can turn into 1 hour. 

I also go through similar distractions and seem like my time has gone in a blink of eye.  What helps me to filter out distraction is turning off notification of most of the social apps and turning on only those apps that I get updates regarding lectures schedule. I go through those apps that I muted during my break. However, it may not be feasible for everyone to do so. Some may have an emergency to attend. Still, we can be mindful of what we are spending time on and replacing it with things we can do. Most of the time, distractions are due to lack of clarity. So, we can be clear with our goals and use those distractions in our free time after we are done for what we assigned ourselves. 


7.                Setting deadline


   Finding time between studying and your passion

 While I was reading the book The 4 hour week by Tom Ferris, I came across an interesting concept Parkinson’s Law which states "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". 

We can feel this law as a student if we recall the days when we were given homeworks to do during vacations. The homework may have finished in a shorter time but we would take the whole time of vacation to finish it.


 Since we have this tendency, we can set deadlines for ourselves for proper time management. While people don’t know, I do set a  deadline for writing a blog that way it helps me be concise and keep writing. From my experience, what I found the problem with setting deadlines is that it can be overwhelming if we don’t give ourselves sufficient time to finish. So, the solution to it will be setting a realistic deadline. Not meeting a deadline can be stressful. The idea here is not to be perfect but to try so let’s give in to trying more despite failure. 


In due course  I started giving myself flexible time to read, apply myself and write and edit too. I feel like it is a  good thing to set ourselves a deadline. It can keep us in check and get ourselves over the idea of perfecting. For studying, I try to revise what I was taught in lectures, the same day. 


8.                Restructuring the day


   Finding time between studying and your passion

This point is inspired from the interview I had taken with my friend Prarthana Subedi for writing this article which is the tip that I did in my journey as well. She is topper of her batch and has achieved 2 gold medals in IBMS and Basic Anatomy. She is currently the president of Walter E Dandy Neuro Club of Nepal. Beside studying she is also very passionate about medical education too and is currently working in a peer learning platform. When I asked her of how she is able to manage time, she says,


“Time management is always  talked about these days but it's quite subjective. I have been through a lot of fluctuations in how my day goes and some days it doesn't go as planned . That's alright , but what I feel is that ,if the task at hand doesn't excite your spirit or doesn't challenge you, you are not going to do it . So my key to time management comes two fold , one is loving what you are doing and the next is actually doing that on time . For the second part after a lot of struggles ,I have somewhat figured out that structuring each part of your day makes you really productive . That includes the time you spend making your bed , having lunch , brushing teeth almost everything  ,and once you do that you set up a routine for yourself , it's  almost disciplining yourself to do what needs to be done . But this must not so rigid , a few days its ok to take a break , and you can always have those small little getaways for the dopamine to do your task well”


I really loved what she said. By restructuring our day to things we want to do, we will ultimately be able to do them. As we are students, the time we spend in our lectures and clinical postings are non negotiable. How we tailor the remaining time can determine whether we will be able to do other things as well beside studying. As she said, it may not be that rigid but being mindful of where we spend our time can be helpful. 


Compared to before, my days are more restructured now. I personally write what I want to do in a given day in a to do list and work around completing it. I sometimes forget what I have to do and it serves as a beautiful reminder. To restructure our day, we can make plans when to start, when to end and do things exactly at that time and being flexible along the way can be helpful.  


9.                Being authentic to yourself


    Finding time between studying and your passion

Isn’t it amazing looking at someone who is so passionate that we feel that passion inside us burning too? It is very contagious. Passion has that power that it sets our soul in fire. When we get into it, we may not be able to commit time for other things and go into a state of flow. But for others the things we are passionate about may look unattractive and it’s okay. Everyone of us is different, not everyone finds the same thing amusing.  Studying takes long hours, pursuing our passion may take a long time too. But if it's what makes you happy and is better for you in the long run, I will encourage you to go for it and don’t feel ashamed by what you gravitate towards. Being authentic sticks with us for a long way. The key I realize is to be authentic to ourselves instead of always going after what crowds decide to be ideal.


10.            Learning when to stop


     Finding time between studying and your passion

Last but not the least, what I learnt is that there are times I should stop myself. If we keep on pressuring ourselves to do things after things without break it can lead to exhaustion, stress and burn out. Thing is that society looks at us like we have to have it all besides studying. It is true that you cannot learn everything from books only. But there comes a time when you have to stop taking tasks after tasks especially during exams. Studying takes a lot of time and I believe we should give first priority to studying. During examination time,  I also drop off many commitments and dedicate my time to studying. I also stop taking many tasks when I have a deadline coming. I try not to burden myself much and take frequent breaks in between to relax.  Maybe I am  not that successful at it but my stress has lessened much from before and I am less overwhelmed these days while pursuing time for both studying and writing. 


As I am nearing the end of my article, I would like to add beautiful words  from my senior brother Ujjwal Khanal whose words I have kept at last to make you feel pursuing passion may not be as daunting as it seems. He is an incredibly talented person himself, batch topper of his batch and gold medalist and was the past National Officer for SCOME. Expressing his view, he says,


 “In medical school, I had expected a conclave of similar people: proverbial bookworms, stereotypical 'nerds', and a plethora of overachieving type 'A's determined to do whatever it took to be the best. Surprisingly, while all of this was true, I realised that these people had so much more to offer. Some were prolific artists, some brilliant activists, some bikers without care, and some even beauty pageant titleholders. This awakened a strange feeling within me: what was *my* passion? Did I truly not have anything to show the world beyond academics?


With this, I started a vigorous search to find what I was passionate about. I took to writing, but discovered my words were never quite as good as the writers I looked up to. I joined several clubs, but always ended up questioning my leadership. I even took to playing the piano, sketching, or cooking, which severely restricted the amount of time I had for myself, but none of these seemed to make me happy the way your life's 'passion' is supposed to.


It was somewhere in the process of trying all this (and a few years to grow in between) that an important realisation finally dawned on me- I had never really needed to find my 'passion' to enjoy my life at all. Doing what I was already doing- having fun conversations with my friends, singing badly at the top of my voice, going through an endless array of dog videos, and sometimes even studying - these were keeping me happy and fresh whenever I was down. As it turns out, Passion isn't something you have to spend so much effort in discovering, nor is it  something you have to strain yourself in trying to find time for. Perhaps passion is what you genuinely end up doing when your mind is at ease. It is what makes you happy. :)”


So, to conclude, I  think it is very possible to find time between studying and pursuing a passion which comes down to the fact where we are placing our attention at and where our priority is. It can be easy to blend our passion effortlessly with our routine when we realize it is something that we love actually. Afterall, everyone has 24 hours in a day but how we utilize it is important. Everything boils down to pros and cons. So what are we getting from it? Does it ignite our fuel? If it does, I encourage you to go for it. You can do this. I will be rooting for you. And don't worry no one knows everything from the start. We learn as we devote our time, growing and making mistakes. The main thing to do is just showing up which starts with Starting Now without any thoughts. Thank you.  


Finding time between studying and your passion


  1. This is beautiful Akriti, I read it at the right time. Thanks for writing this.