1. Change of lifestyle
I have been in a current situation where hanging out, chilling, and doing other fun stuff is no longer listed in my planner. I used to love hanging out with friends in shopping malls, movie houses, and coffee shops. Anywhere, you name it. Unfortunately, those days were over.
Monday to Sunday, I study. From the moment I wake up, I take a shower, dress up to go to school, attend my Problem Based Learning class, go home, study ‘til dawn and then sleep again and wake up again. Yhup. The same cycle everyday. No, it’s not depriving myself from all the good things in life but it’s more like of a discipline. Self-discipline can be considered a type of training, creating new habits of thoughts and actions toward improving yourself and reaching your goal.
2. As you build self-discipline, you build time management.
In Medicine, you are given a bulk of chapters to read and if you don’t finish reading the set of chapters given to you, trust me, you’ll be in misery. Why? Another set of chapters are given to you the next day and you’ll be left behind. When you do not have control over your own self, how can you control time? So, time management is important though it can become an overwhelming task.
3. Your coffee will become your best friend.
Back in College, coffee was the thing I never fully understood. The taste was just too awful to me. It has a bitter taste. I always have negative things to say when I hear the word “coffee.” Now that I survived drinking coffee for a year, and learned that you can add tons of sugar and creamer to a cup, I realized one thing: how the heck did I live without it? Hahaha.
Another reason why coffee will be your best friend is that when you are spending those long tedious hours of reading, it is there to keep you focused and on track. Since I got into med school, I am a “Procaffeinator.” If you haven’t encountered such word, it is when you have the tendency to not start anything (for me, studying) until you’ve had a cup of coffee. Drinking coffee concentrates my focus towards what I do.
4. You will be busy spending A LOT of time with the love of your life, your books.
Who said we have no love life? We do! We spend more than 8 hours with them from the rising of the sun to its setting (it may sound exaggerating but it’s true). We still have the time to plan a romantic date from Monday to Sunday in our favorite study out place. They’ve been with us all throughout the week! Yes, a medical student will first fall in love with his/her books and notes. It’s a sort of love or hate relationship wherein we will realize that we can’t live without them.
We will live with them, learn to love them when we succeed, and hate them when we fail. We will also learn to cherish the little details, the little interesting nuggets of information, that makes studying a little more bearable.
5. Ouch to more canceled vacations
I used to be known as a traveler and I love writing about my travels. Well, that didn’t take too long because I entered the agony of being a future doctor. I am no longer exploring the world but more like exploring the human body. Hahaha. Since the day I got into Med school, I always miss most of the family vacations. I just have to learn to sacrifice because I chose this path. Not only do I have to sacrifice but to get used to this life for the years to come.
I still remember I canceled my dream vacation to Dubai just to attend classes in school. It was really painful. It was a vacation to die for but I decided to let go of it. I’m sure this won’t be the last painful thing that’ll happen to me. I’m sure there’s more to cancellation of dream vacations.
6. Learning new things isn’t actually boring at all. If you learn to make it INTERESTING that is.
One of the greatest things in school is getting to know how the human body works. From how you breathe in and out, how you manage to move your body, how you digest food, how your hormones do its job inside your body and more! It’s just so fun and challenging to learn a lot of new things though understanding some topics make you crazy. So in order for you to not get tired of memorizing unfamiliar things or to refrain from getting bored, you can at least save a picture of Ryan Gosling or your huge crush and start being creative. I tell you, it’s 100% effective. Two thumbs for our president for sharing this photo!
8. I sleep anywhere.
….without getting embarrassed. Sometimes I feel happy for doing it because the 15-minute nap is so worth it especially when you are sleep deprived. Obviously, the battles with sleep are well known to medical students. One doctor told me that in the future I will be able to learn how to sleep-while-standing, which by the way I call “steeping” and I can say it’s actually happening. Don’t you think it’s scary? it’s actually happening right now, the steeping thing and all the more when I become a PGI, Resident, or even a Consultant Doctor. Oh well, there’s one thing that I can really say, sleep cannot be cheated; it always gets its just due, one way or another.
9. I sleep anywhere. So, as my friends. Haha!
The good thing about being a sleep deprived medical student is knowing that I am not alone in this endeavor. We sleep at a coffee shop, we sleep at the library, we sleep just about anywhere safe and secure. Not to mention, we have this favorite hang out place after we eat lunch and wait for the next class- our favorite sleeping place, Moonleaf. Haha! We visit Moonleaf almost every day. We order a drink, chat a little and start getting some ZZZZZZZs. I guess the quote that says, True friends don’t let you do things alone is so true.
10. When I’m sleepy, I take thousands of selfies.
Yes, you heard me. You might think I’m one narcissist but this is applicable for desperate measures! When my brain is receiving too much information, I just pick up my mobile phone and start taking selfies. *Ka chick! Ka chick!* That’s just life. Sometimes you are forced to do things you wouldn’t normally do just to survive. Haha.
11. Formalin, medical students’ perfume.
We all know perfume is powerful and that is why we love it. Perfume is able to conjure memories, to evoke feelings, to influence moods but not with this one, it makes you dizzy and lazy (Idk why I always have more than 2 hours of nap every after Anatomy Lab). Our Anatomy lab has a stuffy odor that sticks with you for a long time. Not only do you have to get used with the smell of the room, you also need to get accustomed with the bad smell of formalin, dissecting the body to just find the smallest of arteries to get a good grade in Anatomy, and to rise up in every gloomy day.
12. A Series of Firsts
You will always have your many memorable firsts in Medical School. To a bright-eyed first year medical student, marks a real turning point into the medical field the moment when textbook studies leave the stage, and actual flesh and bone take the spotlight. One of my first unforgettable moment is seeing our fresh cadaver for the first time.
As a medical student we often get questions like: “Do you really cut real bodies?” and “Isn’t it pretty disgusting?” Yes, we do dissect dead people and no, I don’t find it gross but it does smell sometimes. Not only do we study the body by reading books but human dissection has been the classic tool to teach us and to help us learn the anatomy of the human body. Dissecting and even skinning, as easy it may sound, was easier said than done. It takes a lot of time to cut through the skin and remove the subcutaneous fat. Thank God for cadavers because they have been our first patient and most of all, our first teacher.
Being able to hold a real heart was another first. I was literally holding in my hands a human heart. Not only a human heart, but a heart that belonged to a human. I could see reflected in my hands the life that I choose to have- Saving lives. Once you hold something undeniably and excitingly amazing, how can you not want to move forward? How can you not feel happy wherein what used to be a dream is now a reality?
Ahh, one of the most amazing experiences! Do you remember you first minor operation? Yeah, circumcising fearful patients. We first learned it in a small class, simulated in labs and then practiced it in a community setting. It surely did challenged our knowledge (especially in handling not only the operation but the patient), dexterity and composure. Yes, I had circumcised 3 patients and I’m proud to say that none of them shed a single tear nor screamed their lungs out. Hihi. Call it adrenaline, youthful operation excitement, or future doctor instincts kicking in!
12. Be proud with your eye bags!
People don’t even have to ask, and they can tell we are medical students by the bags under our eyes. But remember this, behind every huge eye bags (don’t forget the dark circles) are endless sleepless nights, lamentation and perseverance in order to make it through the week! But above those bags, is the light of our fire. Our drive to be the best doctor that we can be. So be proud of your eye bags! Show ‘em off! Hahaha.
13. In Medical School, I met these awesome people 🙂
I just can’t help but admit that I fell in love with these people. In med school, you learn that you can’t go through it alone. You need the support of people around you. That this is also a give and take relationship. Your friends will help and teach you to balance. When to take things slow and when to burn the midnight oil.
14. Your Family will be your no. 1 Support System
My family is always there to support and pray for me and I can’t thank them enough for giving me so much love! I call my parents often times. Better yet, write them an e-mail and send pictures of how I have been doing. They have sacrificed a lot so that I could go to medical school. Without my family, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now.
15. At the end of the day, it is still God’s grace that sustains me
When I can’t handle all the pressures, the stresses, and confusions in life- I just stop. I leave my books and open my Bible instead. In this manner I am reminded that God is near me and when I’m confuse & anxious He offers me His peace, a peace that will protect my soul and body from the destructive effects of continual anxiety .