Hello 3rd year!

It's been quite a while since my last post. And I do not even want to explain what happened in between, because then I would have to rant again about being too busy and all. No, I'm way past ranting. And absolutely way past of seeing my condition as extraordinary. Perhaps I was just caught psychologically and physiologically unprepared for the deluge of study and school work. But hey, I'm still here, alive and more than kicking.

Second year went by such blinding speed. It was done before I even got my bearings to actually take control of the seemingly insurmountable workload and ton after ton of exams (the compulsion to rant is just so hard shake off!). I guess you never really get to that point in med school. Where you feel way above the situation and totally in control. For me it was just all about surviving. Surviving with my values intact and without losing grip of why I am doing this in the first place. As I always say, you never really know what you're capable of until you push yourself to the extremes of possible.

I don't even think I'm in the position to feel beaten up. I am not beaten up, by the way. In fact, I cannot be more satisfied by how med changed me this past year. By now I can really say that I'm not the control freak, over the top perfectionist I was before. I am actually just writing this post on the fly, and not caring whether each sentence blends with the mood and thought of this entry. Doing things on the fly, that's what most med students learn to do fascinatingly well. Eat while walking, study while commuting, catch sleep during breaks and jargon lectures, read transes while rushing to the next exam, throw Q&As while waiting to receive exam papers etc. To go on a perfectionist rampage quite assures one of failure. By now I have learned which things deserve my utmost efforts, and which trappings are unimportant. This is not about complacency, or justified laziness. I believe this is a more mature way of seeing things. That not everything can be perfect. And I do not even subscribe to idea of perfect nowadays. Because what  is perfect really? A point where nothing can be added nor taken away. It is stunting to say the least, because it anchors on our own conceived idea of where we could stop, put our feet up and say it's done. And even if our idea of of perfect is a moving target, waiting to be approximated but not really achieved, so that we are always on our toes trying to grasp the unachievable, what if our idea of perfect is flawed at best? (If you're not in the mood for random musings this is the time to bail out) Wouldn't it be less frustrating and more fulfilling to just aim at giving our best? To know that even failure cannot hold a candle to the effort we've given? I think no perfect doctor exists. But humane, motivated and committed doctors do.

I believe it is unavoidable for doctors to feel inadequate. From med school, professors make students feel worst than amoeba, to the hospital where showers of belittling from seniors are the norm rather than the exception, to dealing with mind-boggling disease presentations that defeat even the most detailed discussions in Harrison's. Worst for me is knowing that no matter how comprehensive our prescriptions are, they are near useless because the patient simply cannot afford them. It's as if our desire for healing is trounced mercilessly by poverty and there's nothing we can do about it. Even for battle-scarred doctors who do not  flinch at this reality, it is not far-fetched to think that they would have preferred a better, more favorable situation. In a way, feeling inadequate puts us in our place. We are only human, and no matter how hard we try, many things are beyond our control. Doctors are not computers with unlimited memory, nor are they robots who can work non-stop 24/7, and most importantly, they are not gods commanding life and death.

Nonetheless, being inadequate, is not an excuse to be irrelevant . And how do we become irrelevant? When we rest on our inadequacies. Yes we may not have the capacity to memorize everything from our books, but does that mean it's okay to wrongly diagnose a common disease with all its attendant signs and symptoms? Unforgivable. Does feeling inadequate excuse us from trying? Never. Right now, as medical students, I'm sure we've had our share of crumbling down from the amount of sheer amount of information we have to learn. But persevering to understand, even just 60% of the material is better than not trying at all. Passing without learning equates to nothing. Cheating for grades, is cheating on patients.

Second year has been a test of endurance, character and resilience. I am more than thankful for the many challenges, let-downs, and lessons it has taught me. I know this may just be 5% of my life as a doctor, but I am beyond glad to have survived this far.


astralumina said...

congratulations! just stay strong and we know kayang kaya mo lahat yan. I wish you all the best this 3rd year! thank you rin, isa ka sa mga nakakainspire ng maraming med students dito sa atin :)

Perrine Renoir said...

how you prepare today is how you'll fight tomorrow. congrats.

Anonymous said...

In my day, I applied to just 2 Manila-based Med schools. One of them administered exams while the other just took a look at grades. Both interviewed me. I don't know how I got in, as classmates with more prestigious Latin honors didn't even get to the interview stage. And now... my kid wants to do the NMAT. Just how much weight is given to grades nowadays? If she gets a 90+ on NMAT, are the grades irrelevant?

John S said...

Congrats and keep blogging Aubrey!

justinemariano said...

Hi Aubrey! I was wondering if it's possible to do your return service and specialization at OMMC at the same time? :)

Anonymous said...

Hi aubrey. Im a nursing graduate and im planning to take up medicine next year after i focus on y boards this upcoming june. Let me just say that ur blog, aside from being informative, is also inspirational. You inspired me even more to take up med and while the rants about so much schoolwork scares me, there is still this overwhelming desire to be an md! Go for it! I hope to work with you in the future!