Life out here is raw, but we will never stop. We will never quit – Metallica (Whiplash)
“If you look over my entire lifetime,” he told his friend over the phone, “So far these three years are the lowest point in terms of my self-esteem.” Saying so, he held his hand out in the air, plotting an imaginary line that dropped precipitously to his knees.
He once again felt cheated about all the glamour, pomp, and stylization of hospital life often shown on TV and in movies. Being a student in medical school is for all intents and purposes a 24 hour commitment. His life consisted of studying, going to class, studying, eating, studying, and maybe getting 5 hours of sleep- if he is lucky.
Many medical student wannabe believe that life gets easier once you get accepted, but in all honesty the stress and difficulty of preparing to enter medical school is simply a primer for the real thing. Because he knows that they will be faced with, a lot of difficulties and sacrifice needed during this time in their life will be greater than at any time before.
Sometimes he said he wanted his life back, but that is really impossible. He has wasted three precious years of his life as a medical student and going back and adjusting to being a normal human is something he thinks he will find difficult adapting to it. And he has so many plans for his future that diverting to totally another direction is something he will not do even if it is going to cost his life.
He knew medical school is not easy, but a serious business. But he wanted to become a doctor to help people. He asked himself why everybody in a medical school at some point in their student life regret being in a medical school? Is it that they had not given much thought to the process? Or were they not mentally prepared? The pressure to excel in ways that seemed so far from caring for people; rapidly mounting debts signed off on every semester; a roller coaster existence from chronic lack of sleep; hazing from the more experienced teachers; and the realities of patient suffering despite their best efforts.
He felt the need to make a list of things he thought will help a medical student wannabe decide for themselves whether or not they will really dare to face the challenges before they start running for the hills.
1. If I you had known what it is going to be like, you would never have thought about it.
2. You’ll study more than you ever have in your life.
3. Your social life will suffer.
4. You will fail most of the exams.
5. Most of your time on clinical classes will be wasted. Thrown away. Down the drain.
6. You’ll work with at least one attending physician who will want to beat the shit out of you.
7. You’ll ask a stranger about the quality of their stools.
8. You’ll ask post-op patients if they’ve farted within the last 24 hours.
9. At some point during your stay, a stranger’s bodily fluid will most likely come into contact with your exposed skin.
10. Somebody in your class will flunk out of medical school.
11. After the first two years are over, your summer breaks will no longer exist
12. You’ll be sleep deprived.
13. You’ll wake up most of the time asking yourself is this really what you want out of your life.
14. Nurses will treat you badly, simply because you are a medical student.
15. You will have to develop a thick skin. If you fail to do this, you’ll cry often.
16. It is always the medical student’s fault.
17. You’ll look forward to the weekend, not so you can relax and have a good time, but so you can catch up on studying for the week.
18. Your room might go unclean for two weeks during an intensive exam.
19. As a medical student on rotations, you don’t matter. In fact, you get in the way and impede productivity.
20. You can’t afford to have a girlfriend or a boyfriend.
21. You’ll be competing against the best of the best, the cream of the crop. This isn’t college where half of your classmates are idiots. Everybody in medical school is smart.
22. Don’t think that you own the world because you just got accepted into medical school. That kind of attitude will humble you faster than anything else.
23. If you’re in it for the money, there are much better, more efficient ways to make a living. Medical school is not one of them.
24. You’ll never look at weekends the same again.
25. You’ll miss home, friends, sisters, brothers and most of all you will miss your life before you go to a medical school.
26. Sitting around in a group and talking about ethical issues involving patients is not fun.
27. Hospitals smell bad.
28. Many of your friends will go on to great jobs and fantastic lifestyles. You’ll be faced with 4 more years of student life and then at least 3 years of residency before you’ll see any real earning potential.
29. If there is anything at all that you’d rather do in life, do not go into medical school.
30. Read ‘LIFE: Medical Student’ I (here) & II (here) go the medical school and then after you’re done. Then come back and tell me how right I am.
(Jorhat, 11th July, 2013 )