This is sort of a stream-of-consciousness post at the moment because it is a moment in my life when I am personally feeling a lot of expectations. When I hear the word expectation, I feel a sense of dread because I think of another word right after it: pressure. I have no idea why this happens, but it does. Expectations can come from so many different sources: parents, siblings, children, friends, co-workers, patients, yourself. You can place a lot of pressure on yourself to please people and to do the best you possibly can. You can even feel more pressure in situations where people are dependent on you. Expectations that you place on yourself regarding parents may be particularly difficult because you feel that they raised you and gave you so much that you owe them something. Because this is such a personalized post, I may not be conveying the message clearly. What I’m trying to say is that in my experience, the majority of expectations that have been placed on me have actually been self-imposed, and self-imposed expectations can impact you negatively, especially if they’re unreasonable and unobtainable. The only expectations that you really should be caring about are your own to be honest because it is your life.
At the moment, there are expectations placed on me as a PA student. First, we are not allowed to fail any course (below a C) or we will get dismissed from the program. We are also required to maintain a 3.0 GPA. If we fall below that GPA, we are put on probation, and that is only allowed to happen once before we are dismissed from the program. In a very fast-paced environment where I feel there is never enough time to study for the next test, I feel a lot of pressure to learn quicker, get better grades, balance my life better. But, I have had to slowly learn to lower my expectations. Lowering expectations does not lower one’s accountability, but it may help to move away from expectations that are unreasonable. I can’t be perfect all the time, and I’ve also accepted that I may be unable to incorporate certain things back into my life, such as exercise, until I can figure out a schedule that works out well for me, while utilizing other resources that I need, such as group study. At the same time, I want to pat myself on the back for things such as eating out less, which will help me manage my budget and my health better.
In my opinion, the key to managing expectations is to set them low, with goals that are reasonably obtainable, and to celebrate if you end up exceeding them. I am not saying to not dream big, I am just saying that you may need to divide that big dream into smaller portions. Wow, I feel so vulnerable. In the meantime, I’m going to cuddle my roommate’s cat and finish my disease sheets for tomorrow. Goodnight!