Scattered Pieces

These are the words I held back

11th Hour

Med school is just a month away and I can’t stop thinking about what’s gonna happen in the next four years in terms of basically everything. Social life, grades, resources, time management, rest, the people I love. Everything.

I’ve visited a lot of websites giving tips and I’ve read them all. I know med school will require sacrifices such as sleepless nights and less time with family and friends. I know that the material that will be tackled in med school will be tougher and longer, making the establishment of good bonds with classmates and batchmates a must.

I have also been acquainted on the background of my med school. The school has a high attrition rate due to its high passing rate at 75%. This means that you need at least 75% just to pass a subject and anything below that places you at a danger of becoming an irregular student. The 2016 freshmen population, which started out at 700, has now been reduced to just 550 after one year. The rest have either become irregular students (with failures) or dropped out of the school. And it doesn’t end there because it only gets harder and harder as you go up the ranks.

Classes start at seven in the morning and end at four in the afternoon more or less. To top it off, lunch break isn’t really lunch break when there are shiftings, also known as quizzes, in any subject. The hour long break becomes 30 minutes when shiftings are scheduled. Students will really be on the losing end since there’s barely enough time to study and squeeze in adequate rest given the schedule. Time management of the student will be tested greatly.

Needless to say my med school is tough and I wonder how I’ll make it.

My batch, 2017 freshmen batch, has a population of 869 students and it is expected to reach 900, leaving me overwhelmed. The school isn’t that big and I wonder how everyone, including the upper batches and the other courses (we share the school with students from Physical Therapy, Medical Technology and some other courses), will fit especially during lunch breaks. Where do you go for some peace and quiet in the campus when you’re all cramped up in the cafeteria, the library or the hallways?

I guess that is the part where you will have to come together as a batch. Websites giving tips keep on saying how it’s crucial to come together and help each other out for so many reasons. You get to study together, you share resources and you pull each other up in the process. That is also something that gets me thinking all the time. By now I am pretty sure everyone here knows I like to veer away from the crowd. I like to be alone or sometimes in really small groups of friends. I like the idea of helping each other out, but I have to be realistic about myself. I like being alone and independent as it enables me to have a better focus on my studies. I can try my best to be supportive IN CLASS I guess, but it’s gonna be a different story outside of it.

Then there’s the academic load itself. I have been doing some advanced reading as early as late June to get myself familiarized with the material. Doing it has given me an idea on how I should develop my study habits when I officially start med school. The material isn’t entirely new, but not easily understandable. The pace in my advanced reading will not be enough if I don’t want to get left behind (1 chapter per subject), but I don’t wanna force it right now. I am, after all, still in vacation mode and I want to enjoy the last month with my family because I know I will be spending less time with them soon.

It makes me so uncomfortable especially with the unpredictability of life. All I know is that my parents will continue to work day and night for the next four years just to support me in my studies. The rest we leave it all to fate. Last month my cousin, who is a senior at my medical school, lost her father. The tragic part is that he was so young and lived a simple and healthy life. It was all so unexpected. I get so crippled with fear when I realize it can also happen to my family. On dark days I feel like a helpless child attempting to dispel the negativity to no avail. Sometimes it seems easy to just quit early but I can’t do that. Everything that I have done since 2013 will lose its purpose and I can’t just let my dreams die. I actually broke down one day and revealed this to my parents, who promised me that we will all reap the rewards of my hard work in med school after four years.

All these reservations boils down to my desire to be a good provider while doing the thing that I know will make me happy. I’m entering med school because I want to be a doctor and being a doctor places me in a win-win situation. My being a dermatologist/psychiatrist will allow me to have a sense of fulfillment within myself and I can provide a good future for my parents and special sister along the way. I am willing to bite the bullet and get broken by med school. All these for family. I just hope we all keep safe. Unfortunately that’s out of my hands and I’ll have to leave it all up to God and believe that everything will be alright.

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2 Comments

  1. I’m compelled to write back to you because the uncertainty you talk about rings true with me. Starting a new phase of life and going to university is a giant leap of faith, but I would like to assure you that even though med-school at the moment seems like a huge mountain to climb; will get easier as long as you continue to focus on the step right in-front of you rather than looking too far upfront.

    Even though I’m an engineering under-grad, I’ve been raised in a family of doctors. My sister completed med-school a year ago and somehow found time in the her four years at med-school to fall in love with a fellow med-student and get engaged. Med-school fees that seemed impossible at the start seemed easy as we continued to set money aside every month. She had a lovely time at med-school, found herself a wonderful group of people to rely on, participated in family events and made sure to find time for family too.

    Now as she does her house-job at a local hospital while studying for her USMLE papers, we love hearing her stories from the hospital at tea.

    Your life will remain the same with minor changes but that will become your new routine. And the person you evolve into in the next four years, will be your new-self. Live every moment, love your new life and don’t resist change.

    I wish you the best of everything; faith, family, new friendships and love. Good luck!

    • Thank you so much for this. This really means a lot especially at this phase in my life 🙂

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