Whenever my friends or family ask, “How’s medical school?” I have a simple, scripted response … But this response relays a fraction of what medical school has been like.
Given that we are in a profession that aims to prevent harm, treat ailments and promote healthy living, the concept of an ideal body seems to be embedded in our work. The problem with the idea of normalcy, however, is that it is an ill-defined and very subjective idea that varies among each individual.
They say to become truly educated is to begin to realize how little you really know. I used to not understand this — it seemed the more I learned, the more I knew. How could it be different? This changed in medical school. It was only then that I began to feel more and more ignorant with each passing day of my education.
The first time I saw a vertebra in medical school was not in anatomy lab. It was on a Thursday afternoon on the playground at Rolling Bends, a low-income housing community in West Atlanta. The smooth, white bony processes poked through the woodchips alongside broken glass and cigarette butts, almost, but not quite, unnoticeable.
Enthusiastic. Proud. Motivated. I smile sheepishly as I approach the coastal town of Pondicherry, nestled in tropical South India.
As I lifted my head away from my work, I realized that I was being watched. On the other side of the window was a group of five young women, mouths agape and eyes wide open. They were students, up and coming radiology technicians, brought here to observe. Their instructor was hoping to desensitize them to the harsh reality of death and prepare them for the day that they would venture here alone with mobile x-ray machines.
The library opens at 8 a.m. As usual, I overestimated my commute and arrived almost 15 minutes early. This became an everyday occurrence for not just me but for another library inhabitant like myself, That one guy. As I approached the library’s closed double-doors, I saw that one guy waiting.
As a medical student, I have big shoes to fill. I feel that void in my foot-space at all times. These shoes are expensive, and they are monstrously huge. We’re talking circus clown, Shaquille O’Neal, Andre the Giant shoes.
One week after I took Step 1, I found myself frustrated with my mother. The reason? Not completely clear.
Just a few minutes into my drive I made a right turn and my car suddenly lost control. It was snowing the entire day and I realized the road was covered in ice.
As medical students, we spend endless hours stuck in a library, with tons of books and piles of notes that we try to get into our heads … It is only logical that it is challenging to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine while aiming for academic excellence.
I don’t want to admit that medical school is tough for me. I want to be a natural at this. I want to devour my schoolwork and never satisfy my thirst for more.