More pre-clerkship thoughts

I am terrified. Then the next moment, after fitting my newly made scrub suit, I’m excited. It feels just like when you try cliff-diving, that moment before you jump in. You won’t know how it will feel like to be up in the air, and you don’t know how hard the fall will be. You don’t know how you will accommodate to the waters, because you don’t trust it yet. Clerkship feels like that to me. Another metaphor is that it feels like entering a boss level of a game after finishing at least three levels, which are a whole lot easier. The first three levels feel like the first three years of med school, which you have already kind of mastered. This new boss level feels like something new you have to know about, and you have absolutely no idea how to kill it, so you end up wasting all your lives. But wait, you have F3… if you’re using an emulator.

I listened in to outgoing clerks giving endorsements to incoming ones, my batchmates. Endorsement is the term used when orienting new people into something, like giving instructions, what to do and what not to do, etc. They were talking about OB, and boy, was it intimidating. I’m not really looking forward to OB, especially because the people there are rumored to be, well, you know, not so pleasant.

But this is what I have to get over. I have to get over my fear, before it conquers me. I have to get over my fear, because it may hinder the learning process. And I should learn as much as I can during clerkship. I want to maximize it. I want to get the most out of it. But I can’t do that if I keep backing away because I’m scared. Come to think of it, I’m with my roommate for a lot of my rotations, and even though she does not really study, she’s very participative. I tend to be meek and I tend to like learning by myself… which is not really ideal. It’s something I have to get over with.

Voicing my thoughts and apprehensions like this keeps me sane. It keeps my thoughts organized. When things don’t get organized, I go crazy. The hospital can get crazy at times, which is why there are quite a lot of things I have to adjust to.

Then again, what makes me excited is the amount of things we will learn in a short span of time. So many new things I have to take in and absorb. I guess the key is to not lose heart for all of this, for the dream. I’ve always wanted to become a doctor. I just didn’t think it’d be this hard. I didn’t think it’d take a toll on all aspects of my health. It’s not at all those childhood moments when I played with toy stethoscopes. It’s not even just staying up all night to study. Nope. It’s a lot more than that. I hope to keep writing about it… if I don’t get exhausted enough. Duty does last for 36 hours. What they say is true.

So, again, help me God.

Pre-clerkship thoughts

We have a week off before clerkship starts and it’s almost up. Mom’s been acting as if I’ll be leaving forever. She seriously wants to do everything with me and eat everything with me, as well. Every parent who has a med student kid has been warning her to spend the most of her time with me, because there’s a huge chance she won’t be able to see me as much as she wants to anymore when it all starts. She has been bringing me to all her errands, and when she’s not doing errands, she’s with me in our bedroom. She just told me she wants to get a massage with me, which we haven’t done in years. She also just asked me what else I wanted to eat… after eating out for most days this week. I am quite surprised by this. I wanted to comfort her that I will do my best to see her when I can, but she’s scared she’s also going to get busy with work.

I, on the other hand, am really scared about clerkship. I’m scared about getting exhausted to the point of crying about it. I’m scared of being reprimanded by seniors. I’m scared of being rejected by patients. I’m scared of making mistakes, of not being good enough. I’m scared of difficult co-workers I have to deal with, who I’m already dealing with now. It’s an unfortunate challenge that I was grouped with the top student in our class. You know how that goes. Naturally, what she wishes will push through, even if there are other better and fairer ways. It’s sad, but I consider it part of my training.

If I’m not rooted in God, I am bound to fail. That, I know. I can’t stand alone. I can’t do this without Him. I can’t do anything without Him. I’ve been distracted lately, but I know that if I didn’t trust Him, it would all go wrong. I just have to keep praying to be like Jesus, especially because clerkship will test the heart. It will test what makes you human. We’ve been through a lot of exams for the past three years, and all we’ve been doing is study. Of course, we’ll still have to do a lot of reading, but it’s not all we’re going to do. We’re gonna have to learn to deal with people, especially those whom we don’t want to deal with. Our ego will not go unscathed, but wait. Jesus practically didn’t have an ego. It’s something I’m going to have to ask Him – to help me deal with situations the way He would.

So help me God.

We always need reminders

As finite beings, we always need reminders. Since we know that God is constant, it is us who need reminders, because it is us who change. God is never-changing, never-failing, and ever-faithful. Reminding ourselves of that fact in the darkest periods of our lives can be challenging. Most of the time, we fail. But it’s something we have to work on, because the truth does not depend on our feelings. The truth will be the truth whatever happens around us.

The good times are the easiest times to praise and thank God. Because this world is imperfect, it changes. You can be at the top of your game at one point, then the next, at the bad end of the wheel. But God’s love and goodness do not change even when you’re at that situation. It’s your situation and feelings which are changing. I realized I should really just learn to remind myself constantly of God’s love and goodness, even when I am in rock bottom.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8: 28

Clerkship

is something I have to mentally prepare for. I say ‘mentally’ because I don’t think there’s a way I can physically, emotionally or even spiritually prepare myself for it. I think it’s a mind-over-matter thing. I don’t think I can physically prepare myself for 12- to 16-hour long surgeries. How do you work out to prepare for standing for 16 hours? As for emotions, my best friend who works as a nurse at the hospital says that it will emotionally bother you at first when people treat you like crap… which you’re gonna be used to soon enough. As for spiritually, it doesn’t require much pondering. All I really have to have is faith. It’s a yes or no thing. Will I believe that God will see me through this, or will I choose to put my faith in my fear? After all He’s done for me?

I never thought I’d reach the end of third year. Med school has always been a looming, intimidating thing for me. I can’t believe I’m at this point in my life, even though I have yet to go through half of what I should go through regarding my chosen career path. It’s already been challenging, but it has yet to be over. The worst has yet to come. I wonder how it could get any worse. The hospital is an entirely different ball-game. A senior told me that temptations will always linger. I think I’ve had a glimpse of that. Integrity is not a thing anymore most of the time. There are times when I feel like an idiot for standing up for what I believe in, because apparently, it’s common sense not to have integrity with certain matters.

What I should really focus on is how God will see me through this. I should always remind myself not to wake up as a loser, scared of everything, scared I won’t be able to do this or that, scared that the things of this world will overtake me. Because, wait, He has overcome the world. He has already been faithful. He will be faithful still. When I think about it this way, it makes me excited. It makes me excited just to know that the God of everything we know and we don’t know acknowledges me, cares for me, and has done things for me in the past which I know I wouldn’t have been able to do myself. Knowing that I have a bigger challenge ahead of me with my God in front of me is enough assurance. I just have to keep reminding myself of it every single day.

Things I learned in med school so far

For the first three years I’ve been in it. I think this applies to life, as well.

I think young doctors or med students have the biggest egos in the hospital.
That’s coming from someone who has yet to enter the hospital, and has only 2 weeks before she enters the hospital. A lot of nurses have been telling us about med students who are arrogant at the workplace. My best friend, who is a nurse, tells me that residents tend to be terrible, while consultants are the ones who are kind. As someone who is about to enter as part of the bottom of the food chain, this is a scary thing, because I will be under residents.

If you think what you said about someone else won’t go around just because you told people to keep it a secret, doesn’t mean it will not go around. One hundred percent of the time, it does.
Rumors will always be there. Gossip will always be there. The truth will always be distorted if it gets passed around. So if you don’t want anything going around, just shut it. You’d think this drama would disappear in med school because all everyone does in med school is study, that’s wrong. People who study hard party harder. Wait, does this mean I don’t study hard? Because I tend to fall asleep in karaokes after exams.

Study effectively and learn effectively.
Learning can be fun, but studying? Not so much. Unfortunately for a lot of us, med school would entail hours and hours of studying with seemingly no end. It’s a fact that you will not remember every single thing you try to cram in your head weeks, days, or even hours before the exam. And that’s okay.

We don’t study to become expert test-takers; we study to become doctors.
For now, it may seem handy to be able to take tests like an expert. Testmanship is a real thing, but it probably won’t apply when you’re faced with a consultant, a resident, your interns, and ultimately, your patients. A, B, C, or D. all of the above will not flash above a patient’s forehead.

Nothing in this world lasts forever.
That pain-staking small-group discussion with a terror professor who seems to take pleasure in your humiliation won’t last forever. You’ll have to just bear with it for two hours. The thing is, he probably doesn’t take pleasure in your humiliation – he just wants to extract the best out of you as much as he can, because he believes in you and your ability.

If you think you can’t do it, just keep doing it.
And then you’ll be realizing, at the end of the year, you’re already done with it. I wasn’t really in trouble for any subject this year, as opposed to last year, when I failed a neurology exam and I had to do well in my finals just to have the assurance to pass. But my classmates who were in trouble this year didn’t give up. I heard them praying about it, I heard them working hard. Of course, there were times when they did want to give up. But they didn’t. They just went on with it. They pulled through.

It has been an eventful past few weeks

I had exams for three weeks, finished third year of medical school, went to a BTS concert, and tried wake-boarding for the first time. And it’s not even over. Tomorrow marks the first day of orientations before we go on hospital duty, and I still have two trips planned with friends before I officially get swallowed up by the hospital in June.

Third year of med school is known as ‘tired year’ among us. We see a lot more patients, have a lot more subjects, write a lot more papers, and get a lot less sleep. It used to sound intimidating, and I remember being nervous about starting third year this time last year. The thing is, it was just a matter of perspective. Even though we had less subjects and less things to do in first year and second year, third year was the year I enjoyed the most so far in med school. We could sense that we were improving, even though we still had huge flops as students, but it was amazing to learn more and at the same time connect it with things we learned before. What’s even more surprising is that my grades were the highest when I joined an inter-med school swimming competition. I don’t even understand how that happened, but my friend says it’s because exercise promotes blood flow, and it just helps you study better. I believe her. Of course, things are a lot more difficult. It doesn’t get easy. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. It was a great year.

It was also the year I got to spend a lot more time with the Lord. Third year is the year I disciplined myself to wake up early, at 4:30 to 5 in the morning, just so I can have that quiet time with God. It doesn’t happen every day, and it’s not every day I get to read His Word and digest it, but this peace came from Him. I know it’s from Him, because I pushed Him away before. I ended up surrendering it all to Him this year, and I sure am glad I did.

The BTS concert is practically the culminating activity of my fan-girl life. It was a tiring day, but it’s something I never experienced before, and I told myself I wished I did when I was younger and had more time, like in high school or college. It’s hard to fan-girl as a med student. Ha-ha.

We went to the place early to get freebies from fan-sites and ended up having lunch at 3 in the afternoon. We didn’t mind, because I just appreciate these fan-site admins who just keep spreading the love and make effort to keep the fandom close. Of course, there will always be immature, wild fans, but if you ignore them, you’ll enjoy even the fandom itself. It’s nice to talk to other people who have the same interests. And what’s great about stanning BTS is that it’s not just the surface you stan. It’s not just their faces or their aegyo. It’s their art. And when you talk about it with other fans, it’s amazing.

Seeing the ocean of Army Bomb lights was also an experience in itself. The fans were already singing along to the music videos playing before the concert started. And when it did, I didn’t know where to focus – if I would keep watching BTS singing and dancing on my binoculars, if I would jam to their songs, or if I would wave my hands with the improvised light stick and just feel the song. It was an amazing experience and it went on too fast. The post-concert depression that came after was just heavy, especially since it was our final exams, but in the end, I’m just thankful I got to experience it.

Now, wake-boarding. This one, I didn’t expect! I never thought I’d be able to try it out. I went with my friends, and of course, it was fun. I didn’t even know it was a sport. It was great to have a change of scenery – from staring at transes all day and all night long, from taking exams for three weeks, to being carried with the wind on a wake-board. We had to learn in the beginner’s lake for the first three hours. It’s funny because we were using med lingo to help critique ourselves. I realized the med student in us will never leave us wherever we go. It’s great we got to pick up at the same time. We headed to the big kids’ pool for the last hour after the instructor ‘promoted’ us, where we got to try the knee-board! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to complete a turn because the turn at the edge was just too powerful, it sent me flying off to the side.

It’s been an eventful three weeks. I’m just waiting for my grades now. I’m worrying about some subjects, but I just hope and pray I’ll get the grades I’m targeting. It’s been tiring and nerve-wracking, but right now, as I rest, I am just thankful for everything.

BTS Concert

Today, I finally went to a BTS concert. They were phenomenal, as expected. Even though I was seated far away, I didn’t have to be so smack dab in their faces to be energized, to be amazed, and to be inspired.

The army bomb ocean was beautiful. ARMYs are quite powerful. It’s awesome how BTS’s love for their craft inspired and moved people to give back the love to them and to fellow fans. I love that they keep this connection with their fans (which, however, can be abused by fans through invasion of privacy), but it lets us know they don’t take all these things for granted.

Thank you, BTS. You’ve taught me a lot of things. You’ve inspired and motivated me in a lot of ways. And quite weirdly, you have also made me laugh, just by being your true selves. More power to you guys, and I hope to see you shine again.