English: Med school

A few weeks ago, I told my aunt that I sometimes felt as if I’d made the wrong decision of going to medschool.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love medschool and enjoy being in it.  I constantly feel excited when I’m learning things that very few people have the privilege to learn.  However, for someone who does not exactly come from an affluent family, the decision to pursue medicine was probably one of the less practical decisions ever made, considering that finding work right out of college could have been elemental in alleviating the family’s financial situation.  However, after much reflection (because, yes, I cannot help but say once again how philosophical we, medstudents, are), I’ve realized that there are many things that are keeping me here.  These are the reasons why I’m still in medschool and why I intend to stay.

  • LEARNING.  The difference between studying and learning is vast.  For most people, studying in medschool means cramming.  You see, given the barrage of information and the lack of time available to digest all of it, studying can be tantamount to mindless cramming if one’s only concern is to exceed the minimum passing score of each exam.  However, one thing I’ve realized in all my three years here in med (because I am such a sage, you know) is that time should not be one’s enemy in medschool.  Studying could be such a burden, especially if you feel that you don’t give a rat’s ass about the topic.  But if you muster even just a little gram of excitement for the subject matter, as in find just one little bit of it that makes your brain go whoa and your heart go yeah, absorbing and retaining medical information won’t be so difficult.
  • MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES.  I’m not referring to the organization that sends doctors to war-torn areas around the world, although that is a very noble cause and I would love to be a part of it someday.  I mean, being a doctor without borders, without limits, without prejudice – that is the kind of doctor that I would like to be.  I honestly believe that most of us who are pursuing medicine could not just be in here for the glory and/or the riches.  First of all, an MD at the end of one’s name does not define the person… except if the person does not fail to remind everyone he meets that he is a doctor who is supposedly entitled to whatever.  Second, having that MD at the end of one’s name does not necessarily equate to big bucks.  I (desperately) believe that most of us are in here because we have a (secret/innate) desire to serve others.  I (desperately) believe that most of us are in here to become medecins sans frontieres.
  • INVESTMENTS AND SACRIFCIES.  Think about it.  The money our parents/benefactors/donors have spent on our medschooling could have been used for something else, something more… tangible.  Beneficial.  Something that could’ve churned out more immediate returns to equity.  We, my friends, are long-term investments, the returns of which can only be attained six or more years from now.  The road that we are travelling is fraught with potholes and obstacles but there are people who had enough faith and belief in us.  We have the goods to someday make them feel that we are worth the cash.  We are merely assets here, boo.  We’ve sacrificed too much and we’ve invested too much and, if your reasons for leaving cannot be justified by yourself and by those who’ve given up so much for you, for the sake of all that is good and holy, STAY AND WORK IT OUT.
  • PERSONAL REASONS.  Roughly 13% of my class have left for pastures that are of a different color from this one.  I have reason to believe that this will probably rise to around 18-20% by the time we begin clerkship year.  Most of the people who’ve left were academically fine but the universal question for most, if not all, medstudents is this:  “Is this really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life?” I don’t know if young adults with ages ranging from 22 to 26 could be old and experienced enough to answer life-altering questions such as this but, I guess, after a while, you arrive at an answer that will ultimately coerce (?) you to make a decision, not just for yourself, but for the significant others who are expecting something else from you.  Personal reasons are, perhaps, the most important factor that could be fundamental in formulating that make-or-break decision, especially if you are not meaning to come back.  But you know something though?  To each his own.

In all honesty, I often wonder what are keeping other people in medschool.  I mean, it’s not all that glamorous at the end of the day.  In fact, even now, patients sometimes scare me, not because they’re scary per se, but because they trust their (pseudo) doctors, ergo me and my classmates, with their health and their lives.   That much responsibility is honestly terrifying and is not a very “glorious” concept.  To be here and to stay here, your reasons have to be your own, not somebody else’s.  It is easy to lose your drive in medschool, especially if your reasons for being here are not enough or simply are not clear to you, because, man, this is a damn long journey.

I am getting my little pillow out and sleeping through the entire duration of it.


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