Thursday, September 15, 2011

White Coat Ceremony

The white coat ceremony is a day of celebration. Friends and family members travel from all over to see you cloaked by your educators and colleagues and welcomed into a noble profession. It is also a day of recognition as you finally realize you have achieved your dream of entering a medical school and are well on your way to becoming a physician.
After the greetings, speeches, and all other spiel, you finally get to raise your right hand and say the Hippocratic oath. Reciting those words to me was like transitioning from one side to another; it was a rite of passage that burdens you with responsibility and accountability for others. It is a time to promise a commitment to your patients.
Many criticize this ceremony as one which instills a wrong sense of entitlement in students. I completely disagree. I, personally, felt like I was being accepted into the field of medicine; I didn't feel at all like I had by some magical power also received the gift of knowledge or experience... that comes gradually, hopefully within the four years of med school and the following years during residency.
Overall, it is an emotional day. You really get to acknowledge your success of entering medical school and those who love you join you in your celebration.
But, please, don't be disillusioned! The hard work waits outside for you once you come back from your jolly celebrations. Now that you have entered medical school, you have to work your way out of it.

First Day of Medical School

First day of medical school for me was unforgettable. Looking back, I remember how the opening ceremony went, how excited I was. I was dressed in jeans and a tank top, while most of my classmates where sporting their suits and sun dresses. I felt the energy radiating from my class mates as everyone rushed into the lecture hall, trying desperately to populate the first few rows. It was crowded and loud.
The professor walks in and starts lecturing. The class was hanging to his each and every word. People's hands were flying in the air every few minutes with questions. During our break, people swarmed the professor like bees to honey, asking him pressing questions.
After class ended, we were given our first team based assignment. That's when people started panicking...
I remember the panic in my head as well as I read the assignment and was literally not able to comprehend the question.... not because it was in a different language but because it felt like it was in a different language. It was a Biochem question. Having taken my last Chemistry class over three years, ago, I was in no shape to answer the question presented to us.
Looking around, I saw fellow students challenged just like I was. We spent hours trying to figure out one question.
I went home that night, called my sister and told her how I might not be ready for this. I felt like I didn't know anything. I was having my doubts just one day into medical school. She calmed me down and told me that I would get used to it and hopefully, it would get better with time.
And I did get used to it just like everyone else. It's been almost two months and the classes are no longer as full as they used to be, with people opting to study at home or the library. The front rows are not as dense, and the hands are not flying up with the frequency and energy they used to have. And the professors don't have to worry about being claustrophobic while in the center of a circle composed of eager medical students.
The dust seems to have settled after the stampede.
I guess what I'm trying to portray is the sense of panic people go through the first few days of medical school. It can be very intimidating being among students who are smart and focused. It's natural to feel hyper and motivated those first few days. It's also natural to feel overwhelmed, too.
But guess what? Whatever you are feeling, you will calm down. You will get used to it all once you develop your rhythm and find what works for you. Don't do something because others are doing it. Do it because you believe you will either benefit from it or that it will better your learning. And make sure you find your stress relief! Whether it is rewarding yourself with an episode of Basketball Wives after hours of continuous study or joining a restorative yoga class down the block, just find something that will take your mind off of school work for a little bit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A new beginning

Hi, everyone!
Hope this message finds you well. I have been trying to find a way to continue this blog while not traveling. The past year has been a crazy one. So much change, so many challenges and new beginnings.
As most of my friends and family members know, my life long dream has always been to become a doctor. My whole life, I have wanted a career which would make a difference in other people's lives, a career with a lasting impact on this world and one I would be proud of as I look back at the end of my life.
Becoming a physician is a journey which involves so much hard work, dedication, compassion, and patience. I can say for sure that I have exhibited all these traits as I took on this challenge and started my courses as an undergraduate a few years back.
Last year, before my trip to Ethiopia, I finally reached the point when I was ready to apply to medical school and started my AMCAS application in May of 2010. I was verified in July and well on my way to competing with approximately 42,000 brilliant students for 18,000 spots.
On March 2nd, about nine months later, I found out I was accepted to my top choice medical school, close to home. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
So I started my first year about a month and a half ago and my life has completely changed. I want to use this site to document my experiences in medical school as well as to share them with others. I would also like to help out others who are making their journey to medical school and answer any questions they may have about this whole process.
My passion for travelling is still a big part of my life. I will try my best to travel abroad and nation-wide on medical mission trips during my medical school years and I plan on document those trips as well.
I will try to post consistently and frequently but as many of you know, the vigorous medical school schedule may not permit that. But I promise to try my best.
I hope you enjoy my posts and join me as I realize my biggest goal ever!