Two months into second year….and I feel lost in this intense world. The first block of exams has come and gone and I find myself questioning my place in medical school, at IUSM, and questioning how people do it. During second year orientation we were told that second year was a touch and challenging year. Furthermore, we were told that the first block was going to be the most challenging block of the entire year….and boy were they right!
The first block of this year has been filled with non-stop lectures: neurology and neuroscience had 34 lectures, Pathology had 24 and about 8 lab sessions, Pharmacology had 24 lectures and 2 team based learning lectures, Intro to Clinical Medicine had about 12 Lectures, and we had about 8 Physical Diagnosis lectures and patient encounters. To top it off, IUSM added a new electronic health records class which made all worse. It all has felt like being in the midst of a category 4 tornado with no shelter and no where to run. Apart from being constantly bombarded with lectures and busy-work, the mandatory work has been intense. It literally has felt like IUSM set us up for failure; I feel like we never have time to actually study efficiently nor prepare for exams. Even when talking to professors and current MD’s teaching us, they acknowledge the intensity of the load work this block has had, but they still did not nothing about it.
Now as block 1 of exams has passed, I can truly say that I have no idea how I am supposed to become a great doctor. I constantly find myself questioning my capabilities to study, and to study effectively, as well as prepare for Step 1. I feel that no matter how much I attempt to study, the amount of material is overwhelming and too much to handle. Lately I have found myself questioning whether or not I belong here. I feel that I have learned so much yet I know nothing. As I look around however, many classmates seem no to be stressed and enjoying themselves while I feel miserable. All my life I have been used to succeeding in my academics, always being atop of my class in undergrad and in grad school, and now I am just barely surviving, barely hanging on as if not to drown, I feel like a bid in a cage, or better yet, as bird who has had their wings cut off and cannot fly.
I think what makes all even worse is that all the times I have attempted to seek help, all the help that has been given is not suitable for me. Talking to learning specialist has been non-helpful as the advice given is really un-realistic. Sometimes I wonder if they really take into account personal background and life experiences when they sit with you instead of regurgitating tips that have been written in books…but I guess that is out of the question.
As I reflect, I cannot help but think that there is a reason why Hispanics only make up 3% of medical school enrollment and African American make up 8%. Our various struggles, lack of opportunity and access to resources definitely contributes greatly to these numbers. Nevertheless, I refuse to use this as an excuse.I refuse to accept certain hurtles and gaps in my personal life, academics, and life experiences as an excuse to no succeed here, and as a future physician.
Today as I was doing laundry, one of my socks fell behind my washer machine. As I attempted to grab it with a broom stick, I happened to find my college degrees behind it. It was in that moment that I took a look and realized that anything is possible with hard work. As I looked at my BA and BS degrees I remember how my high school college counselor had told me that I shouldn’t apply to The U if I could not afford to pay for college. As I blew the dust from my masters degree, I remember how a counselor told me I wouldn’t get in into the MPH-MBA program. Better yet, re-reading my acceptance letter to IUSM reminded me how I proved wrong my Pre-Med advisor who once told me I did not have the profile of a traditional medical student and advice me to do something else with my life.
As a result, I have been reminded of how far hard work, dedication and most importantly determination, can take you in life. A new light of hope and energy has been lit in my life. I am now more eager than ever to work hard, or work harder I should say. I have never had anything handed to me easy, I have cried, I have lost, but at the end of the day I have been victorious and this new battle at hand will be no different.
Therefore, for anyone out there who finds themselves reading this post and questioning their place, their ability to succeed and come out victorious, just remember who you are. If many have done it before, if I have come along all this way, then there is no reason to doubt. Remember that one must dream to believe, and you must believe to achieve.
“Delight Yourself In The Lord, And He Will Give You The Desires of Your Heart.” ~ Psalms 37:4