5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Medical School

1. I wish I knew how sacred my time would become

The intensity of Medical School is no joke, when they say your time becomes limited they really do mean it. Not only is the content hard but it is also hard to juggle your time. I’ve missed so many events and social gatherings just to try and not fall even more behind in my studies. Between going to lectures and studying it’s hard to find the time for the simple things you enjoy in life without feeling guilty.  Oh and let me not forget about the exhaustion; our plight is greater than mere tiredness but we are rather succumbed to latitude and we still have to push on. As a doctor you have to make many sacrifices throughout your career and time is a very big one so I guess it’s safe to say that these little sacrifices must be made today in order to have a greater tomorrow.

2. I wish I knew that you go through continuous cycles of demotivation and enthusiasm

Now this one has probably been the hardest to deal with. I honestly have days where I’m so passionate about Medicine and just seeing how what you learn manifests itself in everyday life makes me incredibly excited for my future in such a profession. Suddenly, a bad result or misunderstood concept is enough to have me questioning whether Medicine is right for me. Whether it be the current state of the NHS, lack of improvement or simply a bad day it’s enough to discourage a person. Going around in this continuous cycle is annoying but one thing that keeps me forever trying to press on to brighter days is that the fact that the benefits of practising Medicine do outweigh the negatives and that’s enough to keep me going.

3. I wish I knew how jealous I would be of other people on other courses

Reading Week? What even is that? It truly is such a foreign concept to Medics. Now I can’t speak for other Medical Schools but I definitely know at my Medical School we don’t get that. I guess what really gets to me is the time that they have, you get people who are in university for only 2 days a week and us Medics are praying we don’t have 9am starts for 5 days in a row. You would think that because we’re on 5/6 year courses they’d spread out our timetables a bit, give us time to rest but no this is not the case.

4. I wish I knew how Medicine becomes your life

I feel like once you get into Medical School a label immediately gets stuck on your head and maybe it’s just African households that do this but before you know it you’re being called “our future Doctor”. Not only are you placed under huge amounts of pressure from those around you but it seems as all other aspects of your identity simultaneously get ignored. I guess one thing you cannot deny is that Medicine is relevant and creeps into all aspects of your life. For example; a group of Medics attend a friend’s birthday dinner, the crazy thing about Medicine is that it slips into your conversations unknowingly and before you know it you’re having a full blown conversation about ileostomy’s and stoma’s at the dinner table. You’re quickly viewed as unrelatable to the non-Medics.

5. I wish I knew how rewarding the little things would be

We get to experience so many ‘firsts’ in Medical School and it honestly is so amazing. Some days I’d find myself in awe of the human body during cadaver dissection, in such great detail I have seen the intricate structures that lie beneath that which meets the eye, what a privilege. I often have moments when it hits me that I am actually studying my dream course and I guess it’s something that I’ll probably never get used to but I wouldn’t replace that feeling of satisfaction for anything in the world. Being able to witness the sheer gravity of the impact that such a profession has on a patients life and how grateful a patient may be after being treated is immensely rewarding.

I now know how to appreciate the small things in life; the thank you’s, the well dones, the late starts and the patient’s smile and that’s what makes it all worth it

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