Tuesday, June 10, 2014
A reflection from Tehmina Ahmad, Meds 2017
Coming into first year medicine is like walking into a brand new wild and wacky theme park. It’s full of excitement, intrigue and a vast array of possibilities placed right before your eyes.
From the get-go, Orientation Week is like riding spinning Teacups! You walk into O-Week, having no idea what you’re doing, there are 171 names to keep track of, and many ideas of what kind of physician you want to become are swirling in your head. Before you know it, the ride comes to an abrupt stop. Filled with fervor for life and newfound purpose from all the Professionalism talks you receive, you march onwards to the next challenge… the first day of class.
With block-based learning, we filter through knowledge of entire organ systems in 4-6 weeks. Slowly but surely, just like the ride-up the Drop Zone, the workload and tension heighten. Finally, just when you begin to feel comfortable, your world turns into a free fall with end-of-block exams. All the information you took in on the way up comes rushing out of you on the way down. Stepping off the drop-zone ride of exams, you feel reassured to have your feet back on the ground. In fact, most of your colleagues would remark, “it really wasn’t that bad!”
Time for something a little bit more relaxing. Likened to a Fun House with differently shaped mirrors, medical school conference events allow you see ideas and innovations through a new lens. Over the course of the year we have many events to help us better integrate into medical culture. One such event was OMSW (Ontario Medical Student’s Weekend) and is entirely planned by medical students. The weekend is dedicated to keynote speakers, current dilemmas in medicine and clinical skills stations to learn practical techniques. Coming out of this Fun House, you’re enlightened with novel perspective, a new sense of focus and direction.
After a fast-paced first semester, you would think the next set of 4-6 week blocks in the second semester would get easier, but it’s more like being thrown into a Gravitron. The pace is even quicker, there is more to take in and yes it does feel like you are stuck in one place, but somehow going no where fast! Yet, as the semester begins to wind down, you look out at your classmates and realize, everyone is going through the same motions. They might not have taken the same route there, but you’re most certainly all in it together.
At the beginning of this journey, you go through a range of overwhelming emotions, trials and tribulations, but overtime you learn to navigate through all the obstacles and map out your own adventure. As you leave this theme park for summer break, you cannot help but wonder what else is in store for you and your classmates upon your return.
Aside from the excitement and demand of medical school, when I look back at this entire experience, I feel incredibly humbled. Within one year, we have transformed from strangers to a family who takes on challenges and supports each other. The opportunity to be here and have the ability to affect change, reach out to communities and be moved by so many different individuals is truly unique to this profession. Words cannot describe the gratitude I feel for all of those that helped me get here.
As for anyone who may be thinking of applying, or has already applied, I just want to let you know, you have the capacity to be here and you are enough. It takes a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck to get you to where you’re going. Explore your interests for medicine and bring your passion forward. But most of all, enjoy the ride!