Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How To Survive The First Week of Med School

Veni, vedi, vici.
I came, I saw, I conquered.
I survived the first week of medical school.

               The night before the first day of school, I had a lot of questions in my head. Will I meet friends? Are we going to have "terror doctors?" Do I have to wear my uniform the first day? Yeah, mostly geeky stuff. That night, I had multiple alarms to wake me up. Then I snoozed, and dreamed of a white blazer and a bright light. Naks. Geeky. Hahaha!
              I woke up the next day, not to the sound of the multiple alarms, but to the voice of Manang Liosa waking me up. I arrived in school, texted my classmates, Kathleen and GingGing, rode the elevator to the fifth floor (which will be my "home" for the next months, and years, I hope), went to the gym, met Kath, her sister, and Edgar, sat down for awhile, be bored, blended with the crowd of first year nursing students, then proceeded to the auditorium for the Mass and the general orientation. I didn't listen to any of the reminders, or whatever it was they were talking about. I was having "fun" in my seat, looking at anybody and everybody to the point of staring. I looked at their shoes, their clothes, their hair and thinking about how they should cut it to satisfy the eyes of the faculty. I was looking at a group of 3 or 4 boys, who were also busy looking for possible prospects and eye-candies. I can imagine them chilling at THE SPOT near the elevator, on the way to the canteen, cat-calling ladies and sitting like there's no problem in the world. Basically, the whole morning was spent doing nothing. I could have listened to the announcement or reminder, but I knew most of the things that they were talking about anyway. TIP #1. Look at your environment. Take the time to observe not just the physical aspect of the school, but also the people around, as well. Use your senses. So when the time comes that you have to walk around in a blindfold, you'll know your way out. Or something like that. Hahaha!
              At 1:30 in the afternoon, we had a medical library and computer orientation. It took them 3 hours to finish (?!?). On a positive note, I learned about  conducting a boolean search, using operators and commands. They're really geeky stuff, so beware. Haha. I actually learned a few things after the orientation. I even got to try them at home, and yes, I have medical e-books now. *winks. TIP #2. Be open for new things. Do not let your misconceptions hinder yor learning. There's so much to learn, and there are many opportunities to learn if you just listen. TIP #3. Never wear a shirt with a bright color if you don't want to be called. Red, yellow, orange, and the likes. You wouldn't want to draw attention to yourself, right? Also, don't wear anything with a conspicuous logo, such as that of Starbucks, or Coca-cola, or anything of the sort. Worse, don't wear a shirt with a bright color and a logo, or sit beside a person wearing a bright color and/or a logo.  "Oh yes you, the girl beside the guy in a red banana shirt." Sheeeesh.
               For the next 2 days, we had an orientation to the problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum, had a practice session on concept mapping, small group discussion, orientation to the PBL evaluation and grading system, as well as medical perspective. I was attentive most of the time, but for some parts, I swear I felt like my eyeballs could roll out in a minute. TIP #4. Sit beside a person who can jab you whenever you feel like dozing off. TIP #5. Never sit in the last row. Teachers usually look at the people at the back. They're the most likely people to be called, and they usually think that you came in late even if the truth is, you're the first person to arrive and is just too scared to sit in front and breathe the same air that they're breathing.
                On the 4th day, we had --- drumroll please --- a FILM SHOWING. Woohooooo! Hahaha! We watched "Titanic: The Uncovered Secrets" or was it, "Titanic: The Last Secret?" I forgot, I'm sorry. I was late so I had to stay in the last row for 5 minutes, or so, before I found where Kath and GingGing were seated. So anyway, it was an interesting documentary. I might watch it again just for fun. TIP #6. Be on time. Latecomers, if not always, miss the good stuff.
                On the 5th day, the last day of our first week, we had a small group discussion, concept mapping and evaluation. Our case was on --- guess what? --- oh yes, TITANIC. Amazing, huh? And I thought we're going to have "chocolates." *winks again. Hahaha. TIP #7. ALWAYS speak up. You don't have to be a know-it-all in order to say something. Just say whatever it is in your mind. If it makes sense, or if you think you have a good point, then say it. It's a discussion, after all. We learn from eachother. TIP #8. No man is an island. Yes you can make it on your own, but it'll always be a breeze if you have friends to stand by you and who can help you. Get help when you need it.*Thank you Elise. TIP #9. Smile. It's the easiest way to gain friends and to make oneself beautiful. 'Nuff said. TIP #10. Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't make a big fuss about your mistakes. Learn from them, instead. TIP #11. Time management is the key. When you know the things you have to do, and accomplish your tasks like you're supposed to, there will always be time for other things. I believe I did whatever I have to do for the whole week, and so the next day, I gave myself a good break: be with the person that I love, do the thing that I love and be with the people who love me and who I love back. : )
               People always tell me that I should've waited for another year to get into med school. But I say, "There's no other day but today." I know it will not be easy. Sometimes, I ask myself, "Am I volunteering for a mental, emotional and physical suicide? Can I do this?" Those are the times that I doubt myself and the things that I can do. Whenever I feel like giving up, I remind myself of my goal and what I want my future to be. Without the people who believe in me, Hester Renel, my friends and family, I will never make it. So, thank you. Thank you also for helping me survive my first week. There will be more days, weeks, months, years to go. Please help me in my journey. Lastly, TIP #12. Love what you're doing. Everything starts from there.