Thursday, November 26, 2009


One thing our administrators like to brag about is how different our school's curriculum is. For one—and this is the part I like best—all of us are assigned to mentors, usually a husband-wife pair, both of whom are graduates of UP College of Medicine. These mentors will meet with us occasionally to check up on how we're doing. They will help us adjust to the rigors of med school, making sure we don't commit suicide because of failed exams. And these meetings will happen for the rest of our medical education.

I'm in a mentoring group myself. Ours is a noisy batch. Ching is the only woman; the rest have testicles. Our mentors are Dr. Rodney and Belen Dofitas. So far, we've only met Ma'am Belen, but we look forward to seeing the husband soon.

Our meetings consist of small talks where Ma'am Belen asks us how we're faring in the exams, if we're having any problems at all. Usually these happen over a free meal, in some restaurant where we stuff ourselves with anything we can lay our hands on. She's kind in giving advice, tips, and stories—especially about how med school was like then during her time.

Tonight we had pizza and ice cream at Robinson's Place. All of us were there, save for Ching who had to attend to a serious matter. The timing couldn't have been more perfect: we had no exams to think of, and there are no classes tomorrow.

The conversation shifted to working abroad. Dalvie brought up the fact that almost half of each graduating class in Medicine goes to work in the States. Ma'am said that is always an option, but, for her part, she never felt the urge to go abroad. Then she gave us wise counsel: true, the pay outside is plentiful, but we must weigh the cost of the leaving. No family support, and it's harder to raise a family there.

There were many things we covered, like dealing with professors whose lectures disagree with the book, having a good time, and preparing for exams. It's different, I guess, when the advice comes from someone who's been there, done that.

I'm excited to see what happens next. Soon enough, we might do videoke or go to Tagaytay. But regardless of where we'll go, talking to Dr. Dofitas is always a breath of fresh air.



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