[21/11/2016-27/11/2016]                                                                                                         Entry No.3

Title of Post: What It’s Like in Medical School & How to Deal With It

Imagine this: You had been going to the gym frequently for the past two months. You hadn’t been a fan of working out but your inherent lack of stamina and constant shortage of breath compelled you to set foot into the gym for the first time. It had been a torturous two months and every visit to the gym was terrifyingly intimidating.

Fast forward to the present, you’ve finally gotten into the rhythm of working out regularly, and you had seen some improvements in your stamina and the state of your body. The abs are starting to show, you could lift heavier weights and you could finally run that 2 kilometers non-stop without having to pause every once in a while. You feel great and you start to look forward to going to the gym to push your limits.

But, one day, someone close to you come up to you and tell you this: “I think you should stop.”

“Why?” You ask.

The reply: “No matter how hard you try, sometimes you can’t get what you want. You’re never going to get that body you always wanted.”

You shrug it off, not taking it to heart. But, as the days pass, people start noticing you going to the gym. Some are concerned that you may hurt yourself, some are not convinced that you can keep it up, and some tell you to your face that you’re not going to make it.

You feel hurt that people don’t believe in you. You look at yourself in the mirror and all of a sudden, your abs don’t look as pronounced as you thought it was. Those traps on your backs? Suddenly, you can’t see them anymore. Your arm looks like a twig, and you feel powerless. You look around in the gym and you begin to feel inferior to the others. You start making excuses to yourself. Maybe it’s in the genes. Maybe you really are not cut out for this.

Maybe you should stop.

Now, you’ve got two options left open to you:

a) Feel sorry for yourself. Come up with an excuse to stop working out, and opt for an easy way out, i.e. jogging. You don’t have enough time either way, so who cares if you go to the gym or not? As long as you have a healthy body, that should be fine, right?

b) Go to the gym and lift heavier than ever.

*

What if I told you that you would be facing a similar dilemma in your every waking hour in medical school? Everyday you go to the lectures and you feel yourself slipping behind the others. You try to catch up, to no avail. Everyday, you look at the thick bundles of lecture notes and stacks of medical books, and they stare right back at you.

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All the enthusiasm you felt when you first stepped into the medical school dissipated into stress, fear and doubt. What if you weren’t smart enough? You would be wasting your time and your parents’ money. I mean, it’s not easy money. What if they put it to better use?

The doctors seem to share that opinion of yours. They leer at you as if you are trash, and occasionally remind you that you are in the way. “How can you not remember something that simple?” They would say in a disappointed tone, shaking their heads. “How can you save a patient like that?”

Mind you, doctors are not kind people, especially if they had to deal with plebes like you, day in day out. I’m sure they have seen people like you for years, and they recognize that you are thrash. Maybe you really are thrash?

In fact, not even the nurses see you in a good light. They scold you, sometimes for no good reason at all. During your Obstetics and Gynaecology posting, even the midwives bully you. Never in your life have you felt so lowly and useless.

Well, let me tell you: everyone studying medicine will face the same problem sooner or later, be it in university or during housemanship or when you are serving as a junior medical officer. No one is exempt from the tortures of medical school, not even if you’re a top student under a prestigious scholarship.

When under these circumstances everyday, what do you do? Do you quit? Or do you persevere?

Well, back to the gym scenario. What do you do?

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Well, you can choose to see things in a different light. The naysayers know nothing about your muscle growth. They don’t know that you could now deadlift a grand total of 60 kg for 10 reps, when you couldn’t even lift 30 kg without your knees buckling two months ago. They will never know how you felt like dying when you had to bench press a measly 27.5 kg two months ago. You have grown a lot compared to two months ago, in terms of strength, power, and endurance.

So, why stop now? Do you want to throw away everything you had fought to obtain for the past two months? They think you can never grow any further, well, who are they to judge? So, what if you look small in comparison to the others? So what if your muscles look small? Haven’t they heard of muscle hypertrophy? Who gives a shit, if others can lift 100 kg more than you? You’ve only been in the game for two months!

Remember what you set out to achieve, and you will have your answer to those people that try to put you down.

Well, I already have my answer at the ready, but alas, it’s too crude to post here, so I’ll reserve it for the time when I will ever need it.

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