Lessons from my First Month in Med School

9:18:00 AM

UP College of Medicine has an organ system integration curriculum, this subject is composed of the anatomy, physiology and radiology of the musculoskeletal system. This subject has two lecture exams and two laboratory exams. First days of dissection were exciting. I was enthusiastic in holding my tools while dissecting the cadaver like a surgeon. As day passed by, I realized that it was very tiring. After several days of dissection, I easily get tired of dissecting and studying all the muscles, nerves and blood vessels. I only have around two weeks to study EVERYTHING. I have to swallow all of the lectures and laboratory information as fast as I can do. I am quite sure I will vomit all of these information after the exams. Unfortunately, I dont have all the time to understand everything in medical school. There are times that I have to accept that I have to memorize things without fully understanding them. I have to compromise otherwise if I focus on one topic and try to fully exhaust the lesson I will never finish the coverage the exam.

Late this afternoon, I received my pre-final grade for OS203: Musculosketal Module. I know I could have done better. I was exempted from taking the final exam but my grade is just above passing. Well, my prayer to God was just to be exempted from taking the finals. And I am so grateful to the Lord because I know that I was only able to pass the examination because of His grace. None of these can be credited to me. Medical school is really a humbling experience. There are times that even though you study hard, you stay awake all night studying for your exams, you will still fail or get low grades. It seems like the time spent in studying is not proportional to the results of the exams. No matter how hard I try, I still get low grade.

I though I did better in the second exam but when I received my grade a while ago, I got better grades during the first exam. I studied well for the second exam, I was more confident while answering the lecture exam. But I guess my effort was not enough. I was not really discouraged. Actually I was challenged to study more and do well in the next exams. I care about my grades because I have to pass all my subjects in order to maintain my scholarship and also because my academics is also my personal testimony. This is where God has placed me and I know that as a student I can also glorify Him by being a good student. I care about my grades but my life does not revolve around grades. Like what other folks say, grades are just numbers. It's true. Whatever happens, I know that I will be a doctor. I will be an MD-PhD. No one will remember if I get a good grade in one subject or if I am a topnotcher in several subjects. What will matter in the future is the skill to treat diseases and care for my patients.

So what are the things that I learned so far in my first month in the medical school. 
1. Focus on learning. When you are already in the hospital, your patients will not ask you how many times you topped the Biochemistry or Anatomy exam. Application of all the things that you learned in order to deliver healthcare and cure illnesses is the most important thing that your patients need.

2. Treasure friendship. You have a lot of classmates. These are the people whom you will rejoice with in times of triumph (passing the exam or being exempted from taking the final exams) and the same people whom you will weep in times of defeat (failing and exam). These are the people who will help you and build you to be a better doctor. Gain friends in medical school because these are also the people who will be your colleagues in the future.

3. Stay connected. There is time for acads but there should also be a time for fun. You don't have to study all the time and become secluded from everyone. Medical school is the prime years of your life, early to mid 20s. Never let the medical school snatch your life from you. You deserve a break and most especially you deserve to enjoy life.

4. You can never do it... ALONE. As I said medical school is a very humbling experience. You will fail at some point of your medical school journey. There are times that you will be burned out. But you have to realize that you have a God up there who is always with you. You have a  Father in heaven who knows you fully, who understands you, who loves you unconditionally and who can sympathize with you. You have a God who is an ever present help. Draw strength from Him.

This is just the beginning. There are more experiences and lessons to come. I am excited on the next things to happen. I am excited to experience more of His grace in the medical school.

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