Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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The (second) year that was

After a tough exam this morning, one that covered practically everything we studied in second year, the class was asked to evaluate the academic year that was. The first question in the survey form couldn't have been more appropriate: "Do you still want to be a doctor?"

I think the question hinged on the assumption that one's motivation to finish the medical degree is affected greatly by what one experiences in school. And the running joke was that, given the things we had gone through in arguably one of the toughest years in our medical education, the survey results were going to be skewed in the "No" side: "I don't want to be a doctor anymore."

Thankfully I still answered in the affirmative. I said that this is where I feel God is calling me, and I don't see myself anywhere else. Unfortunately I can't say that for everyone else. But this so-called "calling" to be a doctor is a dynamic process, I think, one that has its ups and downs—and people who may have answered "I don't know" or "No, not anymore" may have just been overcome by their emotions. The point is: we really can't say.

What things have I learned this year? What lessons will I take with me?

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First, I learned the value of hardwork. As one of my friends in med put it, "What I lack in intellect, I compensate with hardwork." Like him, I'm not the type—and I wish I were—who can absorb everything in one go. I have to follow through with hours of personal study; otherwise I don't retain anything.

Second, I learned the value of humility and submission. It's easy to grumble and rant and complain about hardships, and I know of people who like doing that—as a form of release, perhaps. But I have long resolved not to do that because counting one's blessings and naming them one by one, as a classic Christian hymn goes, is a more potent stress reliever than a Facebook rant.

Fourth Third, I learned the value of friends. This year I've had the extraordinary privilege of working with people whose company I genuinely enjoy. Interacting with them made me see the things that still lack in me. I've learned so much from them.

Fourth, I learned the value of prayer. For isn't it true that "my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26)?

The seasoned physician would probably dismiss his second year med school experience as a piece of cake—it's nothing compared to actual clinical rotations where the lives of patients are at stake, where carelessness doesn't just result in a wrongly shaded answer but in malpractice suits. But to the green-horned medical student like me, I feel like I have just climbed the peak of Everest, and what a liberating, ecstatic feeling it is.

4 comments:

  1. After climbing Mt.Everest, where to? :)

    Looking forward to another great/fun/challenging year ahead with class 2014!

    Isn't it amazing what the Lord has done to our neurons in just 2 years? :)

    -aa

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  2. Amazing, indeed, AAce, and I look back at the year that was with awe—every day, I survived because of grace. Grace upon grace.

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  3. Lance dalawa ang fourth mo. :P

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  4. Hay, dyslexia! Haha. Thanks for the correction! :D

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