An open letter to medicine students
To the college senior going to medical school, congratulations! Time to take a much-needed break before taking on the next big challenge.
I know you’re excited, but here’s a number of tips that may prove useful before you start your journey.
Prepare to be required to submit papers 99 percent of your med school life. There will be times when your grades would not look equal to all your efforts.
Be ready to accept the reality that you’ll lose touch with your friends because you will hardly have time to go out with them. And if there would be rare, get-together days, you might feel a bit embarrassed that most of your friends are already earning from their respective jobs while you’re still worrying about your coming Anatomy exams.
Understand, too, that your parents will feel sad when you are not available for a weekend lunch because you are, again, reviewing for an exam.
Med school is tough. It will test your resolve so much that you’ll question why you have to pay a fortune to have a hard time. A lot of students quit, while others stop short of taking the board exams.
The glamour of being a doctor, as portrayed in many TV series, or the pride of parents and kin in having a doctor in the house, is only one side of the story. Behind the prestige of the letters M.D. (medicinae doctor, Latin for “teacher of medicine”) affixed to a board passer’s name are countless hours of sacrifice, sleepless nights, failed exams, and self-doubt.
All things considered, always remember the “why,” or the reason—which should always be greater than the doubts and fears that go with the territory. Your “why” should push you to get out of bed when you’re too tired and want to sleep some more. Your “why” should reinforce your faith when everything seems to go wrong.
You will find your “why” soon enough. Not all students who enter medical school really want to be a doctor in the first place. Some of them realize this later, or maybe they are still in denial, or are simply not ready yet.
Keep in mind that you are not alone. You have friends to turn to when the going gets tough. They will motivate you to keep going. Sometimes they will be your “why.”
I come from a family of doctors. But nobody forced me to become one. My father actually suggested that I take up law instead.
I would often joke that I went to med school because the books have pictures in them, but the truth is, this is the only thing I see myself doing. I was exposed to the profession early, and from then on I wanted to be a doctor.
Currently I’m in second year med proper, a few more years before junior and senior internships. But time flies, because in med school you forget what day it is. Maybe because I enjoy the challenge.
But soon enough, academics will be over to give way to the greater challenge of applying everything in real life.
A medical student
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