The feeling is bittersweet! It was just like yesterday when I told my parents I don’t want to become a nurse and pursue medical school. Dad was hesitant. Maybe he’s thinking I can’t do it, and gave a lame excuse that it would be too expensive. Then I remember me laughing inside when my grandmother talked to dad about him being an executive of one of the major companies in this country and not being able to put his son to medical school. My grandmother was clever. That’s the very reason I got to med school because my grandmother vouched for me.
I remember when I started processing my papers and requirements for medical school. I can still remember that day when I was cramming piling up all the needed requirements, calling people up for recommendation letters, etc.
Then I passed all my requirements. I was anxious thinking they wouldn’t accept me because of my NMAT score. Luckily, I got in (turned out, its not about the score anymore. People were admitted to our medical school regardless of NMAT score. I guess its always how much money can you lay on the table. BUSINESS as USUAL); got interviewed, interrogated, questioned by 2 of the best doctors/professors and heads of their departments (anatomy and surgery). Got asked with the most basic question you’ll ever encounter: WHY DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A DOCTOR? The answer is very crucial because I think, it depends on what your answer would be that they will accept you in their school. I was just honest with mine, despite them asking me why I took chemistry 3 times in college and about my low grades (I had some but never got a WPA lower than 80). I just told them that aside from wanting to become rich, I really really would want to help people through medicine. It was exciting at the same time nerve wracking. Its going to be a new life for me. I’m going to be a doctor. OH YEAH! I AM GOING TO BE A DOCTOR! That was what I was thinking at that time. Until now.
After that was enrollment and the orientation (OK Ka Doc! Program). It was a whole day event. It was weird because I only know a few people and that was another instance of my best friend leaving me hanging since he preferred to be partnered with someone else rather than me (no hard feelings there). Well, I guess it was a blessing in disguise since it was THE orientation, avenue for meeting new people that would soon be my classmates and future colleagues. But for me, it turned out to be a place where I can spot potential beautiful classmates. HAHAHA! Just kidding.
Then after that was the division students. Section A and Section B. At the back of my mind, I was shouting, “LET ME BE AT SECTION A!!!”, because I’m competitive (secretly) and I had this idea that being in section a, you’d be considered as one of the top, since A is at the top of the alphabet. But I was wrong. FORTUNATELY (gotta give that emphasis because yes, I am very blessed to be placed in section B) for me, I was at section B. Looking at the list, I said, YES! I’m sectioned with my best friend and friends (classmates from college) and it wouldn’t be too hard to adjust. We will be helping each other out.
That was reminiscing the past.
A few days ago (March 22), 2 days to be exact, was the last day of the final exams. Meaning the last day of freshmen year at Davao Medical School Foundation, Inc. Comprehensive exams don’t count. A few days ago was the day I get to sigh a sigh of relief, thinking the first step to my dream/goal/aspiration is done. Finally, I’d be able to get a good night’s rest for a little bit before engaging myself for another war which is 2nd year (hopefully!) begins.
First year, as they say, is a very very crucial stage in Med school. It’s where all stress levels are too high to the point of ultimate exhaustion and burnout. Its the point where one would be able to say, “I’m quitting med school. I can’t handle the pressure, the demands and the frustrations its giving me. Its too much to handle.” I guess they forgot that only the toughest survive, because this course is no joke. Its sounds harsh, yes, but that really happens in medical school. That’s the reality we all face in medical school. If one can’t handle the pressure, quit. Med school is not for you.
My freshmen year was bittersweet. Awesome but at the same time, I got my shares of regrets, frustrations, depressions and what ifs. Mind you, there will always be more negatives than positives in terms of emotions and psychological play in med school. Its just how you manage and deal with it.
My first year had a lot of first times for me:
- Its in first year I get to experience a grade as low as 40% just by missing out on a quiz or an evaluation exam and even worse missing out on a term examination in my entire scholastic life. I could still remember my first major quiz in med school which was a moving exam in anatomy (back anatomy) devastated me, broke me to pieces. I couldn’t forget that day when I saw my grade on the bulletin board at the top floor of the building. 56%. I was really ashamed of my self because before that exam, I was too proud of myself, saying that it would be a very easy exam for me since I’ve had a few units of anatomy in college. Oh, baby was I wrong! Really wrong!
- Its in first year I get to experience being so late for a major exam that the professor shouted at me and not let me take the exams and then cried my heart out asking, “Why did I not wake up early?” or “Why the hell did I have to go to sleep when I know there’s an exam?”
- Its in first year that I get to read books, two times thicker than the thickest encyclopedia you could ever find. Reading it cover to cover, spent hours highlighting what seems to be “important” and slowly understanding every single word in ever paragraph. It’s very important/crucial to be able to understand each sentence.
- Its in first year I get to read chapters over and over again just so I could get what it means.
- Its in first year I get to experience taking a 5 item quiz from a 20-30 page chapter from a book.
- Its in first year I get to read 5 books at the same time as reference just so I could memorize a part, a structure, what it does, what it is for and why is it important.
- Its in first year I conquered my fear of the dead, thanks to Juancho (our cadaver) and the other cadavers we use in dissecting, reviewing and for the moving exams in anatomy.
That and a lot more… Lot lot more.
My greatest frustration in medical school, though, is the fact that I (we) spend hours and hours, maybe even days, studying our lessons to the point that my brain shuts down on its own and we still get that not enough grade. But I guess that’s part of medical school. If you think you did your best, do your best-est. Your best will never be enough. Apply the spirit of an Atenean. MAGIS! Do more beyond what is needed!
First year, for me, would always be the greatest experience in this whole process of becoming a doctor. Why? Simply because its the adjustment phase. A student get to experience a 360 degree shift of life. Its in this year, a student entering medical school has to sacrifice his usual routine for his future. I have to give up a lot of things for medical school. I gave up drinking and late night soirees. I gave up meeting friends and catching up because I’d rather use that time studying. Its like being a superhero. Everyday’s a challenge, but no matter how big or small the challenge is, you keep on fighting. I fight for my dreams/goals and I fight for my future.
Last but not the least, the best-est part of my first year. This is like the second most amazing thing in medical school (The first would be getting a grade of 80 and above on evaluation exams). Being friends with people you don’t expect to be friends with. Meeting people and knowing them. When there’s frustration, there will always be an equal joy that comes along with it. And this is it. My friends in medical school (and of course the people that I met along the way in my journey, which includes, my church family, my adoptive family, etc.) Without these people, I’d be insane by now. These people keep my sanity in place and I hope I do the same for them. I see all my friends in medical school equal. But 2 stands out from the rest. They are my best friends, Al and Kyndra. Simply because they’re the ones who help me stand up every time I fall down or when I don’t feel good about myself (and I do the same for them). Al is like a brother to me. He introduced me to his family and they all became my spiritual advisers. If not for them, I wouldn’t have found God in all of this mess. Kyndra is like a big sister. She’s the one who keeps on saying, I can do it. I can do more. She reminds me a lot to remember the reason why I’m in medical school. My friends will forever be treasures I’ll forever keep. Its hard to find real people in this world. I’m blessed to have found my friends. People who will be there for me not only during happiness, but also during the down-est moments of my life.
So that concludes my first year in medical school. Everyone’s still waiting for the final verdict. The promotion to second year. I have doubts, yes! But I will forever hold on to that faith that I can move on to the next level. I just have to trust myself and my God. A week after this, would be a whole week of comprehensive exams. I just pray that I’d do good in the compre and give me a higher chance of moving on to the next level.