Gentle reminder: You’re not your job.
Whether you’re a recent graduate experiencing the 9-5 grind for the first time or three years into a career that offers little room for growth, at some point, it will feel like all you do is work. For the most part, you’ll worry: parents pressuring you to get your life together, bills piling up on your kitchen counter, and the desire to travel, move out, and have a day off, but you can’t.
The 24 hours in a day look different for everyone, but most of us struggle with the same stark reality—we can’t control our professional lives as we want, need, and deserve, and as a result, we often feel trapped. And the sad truth is not everyone is in a position to realistically make changes that would improve their professional (and personal) lives.
But, it is important to know that you are not your job. It’s time to consider the boundaries between who you are and what you do for a living. And while we’re all about work-life balance, how do you figure out what works and how exactly does that look like? These are questions Jam Ponce, a Gen Z med student, Bene Meritus awardee, content creator, pageant queen, and travel junkie rolled into one, seemed to have figured out. We got to chance to chat with her as she opens up about how she manages to do it all. Here’s how she balances work with her personal life.
I’m Jam Ponce, a recent graduate with a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Santo Tomas. Currently, I’m serving as an intern at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, where I rotate through different specialties to explore potential areas of specialization for my future career. An intern is essentially a medical graduate who has not yet obtained a license; it’s a prerequisite before taking the licensure exam and pursuing a residency, if desired. My responsibilities change every other month, depending on the specialty I am assigned to. For example, during my time in Pediatrics, I may be involved in tasks like delivering babies or conducting pediatric check-ups. PGH offers rotations in 12 different specialties, although this can vary from hospital to hospital.
Between medical school, pageantry, and content creation, how do you balance these responsibilities with your personal life?
Honestly, it’s been tough. I’ve had to make sacrifices along the way, giving up precious time I could have spent with loved ones, missing out on opportunities, sacrificing sleep, and even parting ways with people I once held dear. It all comes down to prioritizing what you believe is best for you in the present moment. Deciding which priorities to place first is the challenging part because in doing so, you often have to make sacrifices in other areas of your life. I learned this the hard way, and I’ve made some bad decisions along the journey, but I believe it’s all part of the learning process in life. Of course, none of this would have been possible without God’s blessings and guidance in my life, along with the unwavering support of my loved ones.
What’s your daily routine?
Believe it or not, I actually don’t have a fixed routine! I just go with the flow every day. However, with our fully packed hospital schedule, I’ve been following a strict routine. I’m practically living in the hospital now. I only go home to take a bath and nap before returning for my duty.
When you’re feeling lazy, how do you find motivation?
I start by praying, then I read the comments my followers leave on my posts. When I have time, I check my inbox and interact with my followers. Lastly, I talk to and seek advice from my family, friends, and partner.
What are your hobbies, interests, and passions outside of work and academics?
I’m a big travel junkie! I find traveling and exploring new places incredibly enjoyable. I also have a passion for food trips, adventures, beach life, and discovering new things; all of these bring me joy!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
‘To always have faith in God no matter what and trust in His plan.’
What’s your message for anyone who’s still trying to figure themselves out?
My advice is to be patient and seek guidance from the people you trust. Pray for what is best for you. Don’t be afraid to take risks, but at the same time, be prepared for the consequences. If all else fails, treat it as a learning experience.
What are five healthy habits you think everyone should practice?
1. Service to the people in need.
2. Being prayerful.
3. Working hard THEN playing hard.
4. Self care!
5. Spending quality time with your loved ones.
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