The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their lives fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
I pressed my cold, dead hands against the window pane, and felt the warmth radiating from it as the heat stored in the glass obeyed the laws of thermodynamics, seeping ever so gradually into my palms. The trees swayed slightly, to and fro, in a hypnotic rhythm to the tempo of the hot Sunday winds. The view before me as I stood two storeys above ground didn’t change much as compared with that of yesterday, and the day before, and they day before that day. I could say the same about my life here in medical school: day in, day out, I studied incessantly, almost 8 hours per day, learning all that I needed to know about the science of medicine.
I looked at the vague reflection of myself staring back at me from inside the glass. ‘What was it,’ I thought, ‘that is different about me?’
Is it the tiredness? I could see the sagging under my eyes, apparent as ever, and my skin was pale, although I don’t know whether it was from the bluish light emanating from cloudy skies or my complexion.
Is it the loneliness? There is always something to do, something I didn’t know about, or some mock test papers I haven’t completed. There is always heaps and heaps of microbe names and life cycles to remember and more drugs to memorize. What about the cardinal signs of angina pectoris, pulmonary tuberculosis, dengue and Grave’s disease, among many other diseases? Here in med school, almost 90% of what you learnt from school is useless. You basically start from scratch. Even basic terms like vomiting are called by their medical names, like emesis and hypoxia.
What else changed? I daresay, deep down inside, I’m still the same person I was four months ago, when I first set foot here. Wipe away the dust and I’m still here.
So, why this long post? What inspired me to write this post, despite all the uninteresting things that has happened so far? It’s the changes I saw in people. The mood swings, the frowns, the hollowness in their voices, those were all that I saw and heard.
In this post, even in the face of mid-sem test, even in the face of the towering stack of books I have to study, I want to just take some time off and remind everyone of you who are reading this. Not just medical students, but to all the people out there braving the storm of adulthood. To those who look in the mirror every night and feel a bit of them die inside, to those who put on a plastered smile to face society every morning, and most importantly, to myself who will now bear the burden of being a medical student till my dying day, I say this: “Deep down, you’re still you. You didn’t change, only your world did.”
If you don’t believe me, search, deep down within yourself. Push aside the worries of your life, the culmination of workload and stress, and rediscover yourself. I know I did, how about you?