2nd year sembreak ruminations

It has been seven months since my last post. I can probably come up with a thousand reasons for the hiatus, but it really just comes down to one thing: priorities. In the past couple of months, I have been withered, beaten to the pulp and set into a dizzying spin by med school. Second year med, to describe it as challenging, is like calling a woolly mammoth cute. The higher batches have often warned us, to the point that I thought it was just to scare us out of our wits, that second year requires you to make a tight-wire balancing act of nine subjects, three of which are divided into lecture and lab, all expecting you to know, memorize and understand a truckload of information served in hefty, sometimes unpalatable servings. And my did I have a field day as a second year student. Perhaps it was to make me understand that you do not call yourself busy unless you're having an average of four hours of sleep per night (which in med school is already a grave indulgence) and you find yourself cavorting with burn-out every so often.

I must admit I frequently found myself questioning if I really did want to become a doctor. If all the sleepless nights, missed runs, family gatherings, night outs, hiking trips, vegetarian cooking classes were worth sacrificing. Life is practically passing me by, it's as if I'm always too busy poring over books that when I raise my head, I find that so many things have changed, and I have to reorient myself to how life is proceeding in the real world. Sometimes it takes the unfortunate form of having to realize that people important to me have changed and I am left perplexed as to what might have happened in between. 

Do I regret my decision of taking up medicine? And have I, the great evangelist of following-your-heart-especially-if-you-want-to-be-a-doctor finally succumbed to the rigors of med school that I'm about to warn against the frivolity and emptiness of wanting to be, and becoming a doctor? Not really. Over the past weeks, privileged with adequate sleep and a clearer mind (thanks to the semestral break) I realized that my doubts were fueled not by a change of heart, but by fatigue. I have become so bent-over exhausted that every exam seemed to be a punishment, not to test what I know, but to see how far I can survive without throwing in the towel.  Med school, more than being a training ground, is a test of character. I used to have a low opinion of fresh grad doctors, thinking finishing med school is similar to getting a college diploma while partying the weekends away. And my was I wrong. To finish med school and come out intact, is to me already a testament to a person's intellect and resilience. I realized that one cannot be a doctor, without giving himself a good a reason for doing so. Which begs the question, why do I want to become a doctor?

It has now became clear to me why this question is a staple in the admission interviews. Because it is the one thing that will keep you from copping out, breaking down, and losing your sanity. I went through first year med with the vaguest 'To serve humanity', which to me then sufficed as an all-encompassing statement for whatever it is that I planned on doing. But eventually the vagueness caught up with me, and I found myself questioning why I even bother doing the things I'm doing. Thinking it over, it isn't really that different from serving humanity, that is, I want to help people live better lives. (I know it may not be that specific, but somehow it manages to synthesize my motivations.) To me, a person who is healthy, unencumbered by disease or disability, has a greater chance of realizing his full potential. I want to become an instrument by which someone could be a better person, and I hope it overflows to a degree that he/she desires to be a better father/son/daughter/friend/citizen. I know it may be a fallacy to think that putting people in a better state of health would compel them to make a utopia of this world. But I'm placing my hopes on people's innate goodness, that somehow, we all have in us a desire to make this world a better place.

After spending two weeks of my sembreak in a relaxation frenzy, I will be coming back to my classes next week with a rekindled fire to put myself through whatever mad rough-drive med school has to offer. It may be a painful pill to swallow, but the good, valuable things in life rarely come in neat, just-open-and-enjoy packages. Someday I know all the effort and sacrifices will have its use, and until that day comes, when I finally gaze into the picture where the pieces have finally come together, I will make that decision of becoming a doctor everyday.


Mae said...

Hello ate aubrey..
AFter 7 months...im happy to read an article from u.. thanks ate... for those shared experiences.. seeing what will be the challenges i will face too... soon... (hopefully with God grace)

Godbless in your studies ate... i know someday..i will call u not anymore ate aubrey..
"hello Doc."

Jacklyn Ruiz said...

Hi Aubrey,

I'm an "avid reader" of your blog and I'm not fond of making comments but I just want you to know that I, a doctor-to-be (God willing), am very grateful for the wisdom and knowledge that you share to your readers. I hope every once in a while, if time permits, you would sprinkle us your encouraging words and humble experiences as a medical student and hopefully as a doctor someday.

God bless your studies! ;)

Again, thank you.

Aubrey said...

Hi Mae and Jacklyn :)
I could try stringing a thousand melodramatic words, but what I really just want to say is, THANK YOU!

You guys have blessed my heart with so much warmth.

May God's blessings be with you guys always.

zomreyes said...

Hello po!
I love your blog :)
Please keep on inspiring us.
You'll be a great doctor someday

SFe said...

I really wanted to read something like this from a person like you. No one is ever alone on this long and arduous journey through medical school. You've truly inspired me to keep on going to pursue my dreams and that what I am aiming towards does have its own purpose even if I do not see it clearly now.

I always pray for strength whenever I feel the odds are against me, but now I will pray to remain faithful to what I believe in. I'll pray for you too Ate Aubrey. Good luck with the rest of your studies! If I ever see you one day, I'll be calling you Doctor.

God bless ! <3

My Name is Neshreen said...

greetings of peace aubrey!
i really like this blog of yours :) you are such an inspiration to those future doctors. although, i haven't met you personally, i believe that you are really going to make it as a great doctor. just pray and know that God is always out there for us. so when med studies seem to be knocking you down, know that there is no power and strength except with God :))) you can make it aubrey :))) thank you for inspiring us.

Au said...

Enjoy 1st year to 3rd year. At least, you can still go home every night and study at home, right? =p

Prepare yourself for 36 hour duties in your 4th year and internship. Anticipate doing anything your senior asks you to do.

And do NOT, i repeat, DO NOT fall in love with a resident or a nurse in OMMC =S

dandan said...

wow.. i just came across your blog and i really enjoyed reading... hehe.. it sounds like 2nd year med was really hard though i heard from upperclassmen that 2nd year med was the easiest year for them compared to others.. hmmm..though maybe its because our pre med is med tech and 2nd year med subjects are similar to our 3rd year bs med tech subjects... anyways.. keep it up... i wish you the best of luck ^_^ more power!

Anonymous said...

hi aubrey !! I'm planning to go to med school but I'm currently working as a nurse. I don't want to give up my work and plan to go on night shift and class in the morning..do u think it's possible even for the 1st year? and also what is the usual time of classes in PLM? I hope it's not early as 7 am.. thanks a lot! you've been helpful ;)

Anonymous said...

sabihin na lang natin na ako ung stalker mu.. haha..nabasa ko lahat ng mga post mu. much talaga sa Med endeavors mo. God Bless keep it up.. Go ! Go!

Thad said...

Thanks for sharing Aubrey! I've been following your posts since I searched the net one balmy afternoon in 2010 looking for NMAT tips and found your amazing blog. Now I'm about to conclude my 1st year med here in RTRMF Tacloban.

To Anonymous December 30, 2011 11:55 AM, just wanted to share an experience- it's quite difficult to hold a part-time job while studying Medicine because the academic load is very demanding. I used to tutor English and write part-time for a magazine but realized I had to give them up so I can concentrate with academics purely. Even without the part-time job I still lack time to finish reading everything- you'll still lack sleep especially during exam week. The best of luck on your med journey!


Anonymous said...

1 week to go and I'm finished with 1st year... same school PLM... I am too tired to continue at this point... buti naman me pahinga kahit paano... I agree with all that you said... MED is a test of SANITY... grabe!(one word that will best descride it)

well siguro isang dahilan dyan ay dahil med is continually expanding... and in so doing, tayong mga new generation ang minalas na dapat maka-absorb ng lahat ng mga advancements sa medicine... one teacher meantioned we are actually learning 40% on top of what they had learned (batch 1990 sya)... grabe!

im so tired and fed up but still i dont want to give up... kasi ang tanda ko na para makipaglokohan na naman sa career ko when in fact i should have been stable many years ago!!