Pouring My Heart Out: Med Student, Y U no do holiday job?

My three-week Winter Recess is coming rapidly to an end. Note that this is the first time I’ve been home, or had any kind of holiday since 6 January this year.

A few days ago, somebody asked my parents why I’m not doing a holiday job.

I practically choked.

Uhm, let’s see.

Because I work as unpaid labour in the South African health sector. Because I perform procedures and see injuries that are supposed to be reserved for interns. Because I wake up when it’s dark and get home when it’s dark.

Because in my working day, there is no time to eat or get hungry or go to the bathroom.

Because I do the skivvy-work that nurses and doctors think is below them.

Because I am so tired during the week that I have to get a junior to bang on my door in the morning.

Because there is too much work to get treatment when I have a migraine attack.

Because I’d actually like to see my family while I am home, thank you.

And because, at the same time, I serve on a student government that must daily deal with bureaucracy and complacency. For which I get paid an annual stipend less than the income of a waiter.

That is why I don’t do a holiday job.


  1. ilene says:

    Oh how I wish people would just mind their own business. Enjoy your much needed holiday!

    1. Thank you so much. I agree – I don’t mind people being genuinely interested, but people who jump to conclusions are annoying.

  2. I wouldn’t do the holiday job either!

    1. Thanks – glad to know I’m not just being difficult!

  3. Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself to others!

    1. Something I must learn to remember more often… thanks!

  4. Are you kidding me? With all that you do, I wouldn’t want a holiday job either but just time to rest, relax and reset which I think that we all need. Maybe it’s because I come from a family of doctors and I can respect the hard work and long hours that go into it all. I hope that you enjoyed your well-deserved holiday.

    1. Thanks so much – I appreciate the empathy!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s