Saturday, 6 June 2015


     It's a cold day in hell for you to be able to say that medical students aren't smart and intelligent. However, days like this happen and they happen for a reason. I suppose to humble everyone.
      After struggling or not to get admission into the prestigious course of study called medicine and you eventually get it, you feel like a queen or king. Your friends, parent's friends and acquaintances start looking at you differently, like "damn you must be so smart".
       You don't really feel like that's a compliment though, because you've felt that way your whole life. You've known it. However, your first day in medical school and your interaction with others lets you know that you are not so much the shit anymore. It's really a melting pot of high ego individuals who most likely had been the best or top of the class at their secondary schools and previous departments. Suddenly, you see yourself fading away and blending into the curtain or you are among those rattling off their previous accomplishments.
      Barely a week into school, and everyone is struggling or trying very hard to cover a semester's work in two weeks. You are either among that category or you are unserious. Unserious enough to be in chapter 1 of your textbook the first week of school when previously you won't have touched the textbook until a couple of weeks to the exam. The exam comes and you realise that it's really not about who covered the most initially. Even the late-comers will still catch up. You discover that there are people who can finish textbooks in one day. You are shocked by the sheer caliber of students in your class.
      At the end of the first year, a bunch of people drop out or transfer.They couldn't cope with the pressure or they flat-out wanted to leave. At times, it was a combination of both. Slowly, medical school chips away at you. You learn to make friends but also know that they could leave at anytime because medical school allows no room for slack and just a little, you would be kicked out to the curb. You learn that life is like udara seed - sweet but must be spat out - when you start to look at cadavers day in day out. Start to touch them, acquaint yourselves with them, cut them up and discover the building blocks and essence of what it means to be a human. At times, while reading new concepts you marvel and are happy and know you belong in medical school. You are certain of your place in the world. At other times, when the words seem blurry and the nights long, you ask yourself "How the hell did I get here?". You question your place.
       You find solace in the things you are used to and like. The things that you let define you- sports, your favourite football club, music, tv series, shows, movies. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice them a little or you sacrifice your sleep. It's usually one or the other. You sacrifice one the night before the big test. You read but you can never be prepared or you still believe that you will always know what to write even though you've barely read. You see the questions, tough but not insurmountable. You do your best and write enough to just about fill the booklet. Everyone does this.
A couple of days later, the results are out and pasted. You find yourself getting a grade that borders close to an F, or an F. Sometimes you're among the lucky ones and you are just right on the benchmark of pass. Very few people surpass the benchmark. If your first test comes along and you get the F or something close, you don't believe it. You scan the list a hundred times because that just can't be your grade. That grade can't be for you, as far as you're concerned. You want to question it, but you really can't for fear that the little you have would be taken away from you. So you cry silently or out loud, whether male or female. You shake your head and wonder of this is how easily one can fail out of medical school.
       You keep quiet if you managed to scrape a barely decent score. You can't be happy out loud because it really isn't worth it. You can't also complain or berate the lecturer with "That man is wicked"  because in a way you haven't really earned the grade that allows you the right to say that. If you are among the high-fliers, your task is harder. You have to sympathise with everyone, make yourself scarce and make sure as few people know your score as possible. If confronted by people with "congratulations", you have to play it off and say nothing or emphasize that it's just luck but you must agree that the lecturer is wicked so your classmates are reassured that you are on their side. You don't dare say that you hardly slept the previous night, that you didn't go out during the weekend because you were preparing. You can't complain that you got a 70 when you know what you wrote merited at least an 85%. You can't complain about having ugly shoes to the person who doesn't even have feet.
          All in all, you are humbled. Everyone with half a brain always is. You develop a newfound respect for those way ahead of you who are doctors already or senior colleagues who have passed the MB exam. You respect those who failed and resat and still passed. You respect those who even failed out later on even after repeating because you now know that the race isn't easy. The pig-headed pride of 1st year that tells you you are one of the smartest people alive dissipates. You know that being smart isn't really all that med school is about and that in fact, it means nothing in the long run. You now understand the saying, "You know nothing ....Jon Snow".
      Determination courses through you and you vow to always play your part in the journey that's medical school. A six-year long flight that takes no stops or breaks.

Labels: ,