Why I'm thankful for my blockmates

Group mates can make or break you in Medicine. You don't have much of a choice but to get along with those people. The medical curriculum—at least the one in our school—is designed such that most of the time you don't work alone; you have to work as a collective and cohesive group.





This set-up naturally poses a major challenge for those who can't work well with others. For instance, those who are too opinionated, too full of themselves, too shy, and too quiet will have a hard time unless they can adjust to their new social environments. The key is balance: the group members must complement one another and must learn how to give and take.

I'm writing this now because I just got back from our Block's year-ender celebration, and I've come to realize a few things.



But before that, let me tell you about the party. Leeca Caro graciously hosted us in her wonderful home in Quezon City to dispel her grandmother's worries that she doesn't have any friends in med school because she never invites them over.





The food was mouthwatering—no, really, the food was really, unbelievably good. I particularly enjoyed the fried dory served in butter-and-lemon sauce, as well as the dessert, notably the blueberry cheesecake.

After dinner, we had games and photo shoots, with the make-shift photo wall as our backdrop. I had a glass of wine, the pretentious probinsiyano that I am. The conversation was free flowing and mostly revolved on reminiscing our past experiences in the wards and clinics. These stories were sprinkled with some notable anecdotes. I guess parties come alive when people mutually enjoy each other's company—a major reason why I prefer small gatherings to big ones. And after what we've gone through these past months, there already exists a bond, a connection, among us that brings the 20 of us together, all members of Saluyot, our block whose name was taken after the plant from which we derived an anti-ulcer agent for our Pharmacology research.







I've more or less profiled each of our block member in this blog post, and every day I am thankful for the privilege of learning with and from them. I'm not saying that our block is perfect—it is far from that. But there are a few reasons why I praise God for my blockmates, perhaps the same reasons other people are thankful for theirs.



1. They're such a joy to work with. They make hard work feel a lot less like work because it is fun having them around. They make small group discussions interesting by their contributions to the discussion—an out-of-this-world differential diagnosis, a quotable quote ("The vital statistics of the patient are the following: blood pressure of 120/80..."), or a funny mannerism. They're not selfish in lending their stethoscopes or blood pressure apparatuses, nor do they keep a strict account of those things. They volunteer to carry out the harder tasks to give way to those who are tired and preoccupied. They listen to other's opinions and respect them, even if that means having their own suggestion rejected. They appreciate and thank others for the great work, and they offer—and accept—correction. And they push others to unlock hidden potentials, as in public speaking.



2. They're easy to please. They don't immediately complain when the consultant decides to back out the last minute, or when an examination is too hard. They're happy when they learn something new, when they're dismissed 30 minutes before schedule, or when they're assigned to a friendly preceptor. They're especially giddy when a consultant treats them to breakfast, coffee, or donuts.



3. They're smart. They don't devour books; they just know which details to remember.



4. They like to keep things simple but not simplistic. They hate lengthy patient histories, irrelevant physical examination findings, and unnecessary maneuvers. The mantra is, "The less you say, the less questions you get asked." This has always seemed to work.



5. They're adventurous in trying out new restaurants. They like exploring new places, but they also come back to favorite hang-out places: Chicken Charlie along Adriatico Street, Midtown Diner along Padre Faura, Hainanese Delights at Robinson's Manila, among others.

6. They make fun of others while being equally funny. What infectious, stomach-aching laughter we all have!

My prayer for my blockmates this Christmas is for them to understand the "peace that transcends understanding," as Paul so described in Philippians 4:7, a peace that can only come from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ personally.

We only have a few months left before the ICC year ends, and I hope we'd all make the most out of what's left of our Third Year. 

5 thoughts on “Why I'm thankful for my blockmates”

  1. I hope you won't mind me posting this on my wall Lancey :) I miss you guys already! sigh. Happy holidays and a blessed Christmas! -Tincee

  2. a major reason why I prefer small gatherings to big ones
    - I agree to this!

    saluyot <3! hehe nose to nose! :)

    -aa (pseudo-saluyot member)

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