Tag: transitions

John Pereira (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

National University of Ireland, Galway

My name is John Dipak Pereira and I am from Malaysia. I have four siblings - 2 older sisters, an elder brother and a youngest sister. Both of my older sisters are doctors while my brother would complete his third year of medical school in the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) this June. My youngest sister intends to pursue law as a profession. My father is a lawyer while my mother is a homemaker. I would begin my first year of medical school in NUIG this September.

Moment of Connection

Law, medicine, and dentistry — these were the careers that I was constantly exposed to at home. With my father as a practicing lawyer for over 25 years, two of my siblings already qualified as doctors, and the third on course to completing his medical journey, most of my relatives and friends thought medicine or law would be my choice naturally.


“From now on,” our deans told us at orientation, “society will see you as a doctor. Sometimes you may not feel like one, but that is what you are becoming. This week marks the beginning of that transition, which will continue in the months and years to come.”

Medical Education: Are We Ready for a Change?

When I started medical school, I was most excited to start learning again. Having spent the last couple years as a teacher in a classroom, I sorely missed the experience of being the student. Reflecting on my college days, I missed the intellectual conversations generated in our seminars, hours poring over literature under dimly lit alcoves of Sanborn Library, even the far-too-frequent all-nighters spent hashing through complex biochemical pathways with my study group.

The Hardest Part of Medical School, and How to Overcome It

During my first year of medical school, I had the privilege of speaking at several high schools and colleges. The purpose of these interactions was to shed light on what I did to matriculate into medical school, my experiences as a medical student, and to answer any questions. No matter where I went though, one question always followed: “What is the hardest part of medical school?”

Learning to Listen

About eight months into my first year of medical school, an incoming student asked me how to prepare for the upcoming journey. I could relate to the panicked, excited feeling of the duty to prepare for medical school after an intense visit day. Yet, instead of defaulting to my ingrained answer of, “Nothing can prepare you for medical school,” which I believe was not in the student’s interest to hear, I carefully considered her question and answered, “It’s very important to be a good listener.”

Learning To Be Mediocre

Medical school is a constant, never-ending cycle between success and failure — sometimes one occurring within moments of the other. To be a medical student is to fail. We fail at the small things: working out three times a week, being on time for a friend’s birthday dinner, working on the research that has been on our desk for months. We also fail at the big things like exams, practical skills, asking for help when we most need it and sometimes letting ourselves sulk for too long.

No Happy Ending

One after the other, day after day it seems, I find myself in a room where the resident is breaking the news of terminal cancer to my patients and I feel an overwhelming sadness belied by numbness. It has only been a week and a half on internal medicine and we have already diagnosed three unsuspecting patients with cancer.

Erica Patel Erica Patel (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

Erica Patel is a third year medical student at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. She studied Narrative Studies at USC as an undergrad, and loves the intersection of stories and medicine. Erica is a board member and medical director of Wema Children Center Inc, a non-profit she started that provides education, housing, and medical care to orphaned and low-income children in rural Kenya. She plans on pursuing a primary care field and working in developing countries while writing about her experiences to increase awareness.