Telling people that you’re studying to become a doctor almost always elicits the same response: there always seems to be a wow factor when you tell them about your plans — what field you wish to specialize in and how long it would take you to be a consultant. It appeals as amazing to other people how much you’re willing to spend more years just to study. There’s a sort of awe when they find out you’re a medical student because to them you appear confident and sure of yourself.
But here’s the tea: we all go into our first day ever in med school bright-eyed and full of hope, and we finish a single school year looking defeated like we’ve aged three years.
A month in med school feels like a year already flew by. Sometimes a day won’t be enough to finish everything. They don’t know how often we’d wish for a day to be more than 24hrs just so we could finish a whole chapter for a 5-item quiz; to be able to study for exams upon exams; and to finish requirements on top of another demanding requirement. We often hear others saying, “why are you complaining? Didn’t you want to be that?” and it would take every ounce of will power to not snap and say “I did but that doesn’t mean I can’t get tired. I knew it’s going to be difficult but my well-being fucking matters too.“
We’d go home after a saturating day at school, take an hour to rest and eat dinner, gear up to study until late into the night (sometimes until morning), and if we’re feeling brave, take a 5-minute nap hoping it won’t turn into a 5-hour sleep. This is a process we repeat every single day. There’s so much that needs to be accomplished that it sometimes feels so suffocating like you’re struggling to keep your head above the water to keep yourself from drowning.
There will be days we’d get it just right: finish our reading list for the grading period and be lucky enough to read everything at least twice, and end up passing our exams. There would be a time we’d fail by .5 even after pouring all our energy into studying just to be able to catch up. We don’t always win in med school but our loses make us appreciate even the tiniest of victories. Our triumphs doesn’t always come in the form of a passing mark, sometimes it comes as a realization that no matter how hard you failed, this is who you want to be — that you would keep working until you become that person even when it gets difficult and especially then.