10 things I learned at med school

Published: July 1, 2010

People refuse to believe that being a first year student doesn’t make you a qualified doctor

1. If you thought clearing the entry test exams after high school was the end of your hardships, you are in for a treat. Every year brings new surprises, challenges and career options and better still, new perceptions on life. Biology, chemistry and physics appear minuscule and boring compared the grilling subjects we study at med school.

2. People around you think you are a doctor from day one of med school, not knowing that you are far from actually understanding any disease or how to treat it. They come to you for advice. If you fail to check their blood pressure, which you will, they are extremely disappointed and refuse to believe that being a first year medic doesn’t make you a qualified doctor.

3. The idea of simply “being a doctor” vanishes with each passing year. It changes into something like, “I want to be a neuro-surgeon, a gynaecologist or an anaesthiologist,” as soon as you hit sub-specialties. The worst part of the whole deal, perhaps, is that with each day you remain as clueless as a camel which has inexplicably found itself on the North Pole.

4. You become uglier, lose a lot of hair and either gain plenty of weight or become anorexic. The world of fashion exists in a different universe altogether.

5. Any literaterary sense that you had, what so ever, evaporates. TV, radio, movies and drama serials become a part of the distant past. “House M.D” is the only medical show you are remotely interested in. Political discussions, intellectual arguments and life-changing stories make you uncomfortable; because of your own hermitic life. You are a social outcast.

6.  The general public stops co=relating with your new found vocabulary. Instead of saying, “XYZ had a heart attack,” you tend to say “XYZ had a myocardial infarction.”

7. Your newest poems revolve around books rather than people. For instance “Ellis, Ellis, where art thou Ellis” was written for a surgery textbook. It is okay to fumble and probe your memory if you forget a person’s name but extremely rude and almost unethical to let a book’s name slip the depths of your brain. “Bailey and Love’s” will seem more poetic and romantic than anything Shakespeare has ever written.

8. The Socratic method of teaching is intimidating at first. A domineering consultant’s questions will rip your ego apart on a daily basis. Yet, getting used to it is a revelation and understanding the Socratic method is ultimately bliss. You begin to accept their blows gracefully and you can’t wait to be in the position when you can do the same to your juniors.

9. Patients will actually realize you are students. Though you give them your flashiest grin while introducing yourself, your ineptitude is apparent to them. They are smarter than you think. Give them some credit.

10. Lastly, as you near graduation, your conversation will mostly be based on PLAB, USMLE, FCPS, GRE and the likes. Every day, you will tell yourself that there is one less day to graduation and then you’ll be out of there on your own, independent at last. This, however, is an absurd dream. Remember, how life after high school seemed easy and heavenly. The realization eventually hits as hard as it possibly can.

Bushra Maheen Rahman

Bushra Maheen Rahman

A doctor from Peshawar who writes, blogs at www.pistaye.wordpress and tweets @MaheenRahman

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.weliveinlahore.com Dr. Adnan

    @Bushara , hahaha this is funny and yet totally true. Damn exams and those late hours, Grays Anatomy or Snell’s Clinical Anatomy in hand and watching House M.D.’s 5th Season .. lmao ! … nice one though ! .. miss old days !Recommend

  • http://uglyduckling91.blogspot.com uglyduckling91

    Funny! And so true. Not that I’d know; just like agreeing with you.
    It’s not Lupus so it’s all cool.Recommend

  • Maryam

    I never wanted to be a doctor myslef , so am an engineer now, the reason i gave to my parents for taking medicine was” before i will get out of med school , my hair will all be grey, i will have no fashion sense and no idea which movie ppl r talking about and yes i will be one ugly fat girl”
    even though when ever visit hospitals , i just luv the students wearing those white overcoats and scrubs….its looks so amazing …
    probably the reason behind that is i m addicted to SCRUBS, GREY’s ANATOMY and HOUSE…Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    What to say? My cousins are doctors… They have passed through the same….:)Recommend

  • SH

    I have to say, some of these are not quite true :p but an interesting article all the sameRecommend

  • dr. Altaf ul Hassan

    Thank you Bushra for your nice work.You have made me to recall those days which I spent in Medical College.I also share some testified interesting informations received from some where.I tell you 10 reasons for choosing medical profession for those who are crazy about it.
    1.They hate to sleep.
    2.They have enjoyed their lives in childhood.
    3.They want to disturb their family lives.
    4.They want to take revenge from themselves.
    5.They desparately need a breakup from their dearest friends.
    6.They want social boycott.
    7.They love to work on holidays.
    8.They want to see tears in their eyes.
    9.They love risks and uncertainties.
    10.They want to remain unmarried even aftr getting married.Recommend

  • Nida Haque

    spot on! except as scary as this may seem, number 9 isnt true at jinnah hospitalRecommend

  • http://cervet.blogspot.com Cervet Cahn

    Good Article, but i can relate most of it with my engineering.

    No matter how cool they are before entering the school, when passing out all the geeks and jocks stand in the same line, the line of geeks!Recommend

  • Sidra

    So true .i feel i can relate to it already even though i am in second year of med school ..Recommend

  • Sara

    Haha, that was greatly discouraging for someone whose looking at medical as a career option. I’m pretty sure it’s true. But still. </3Recommend

  • Abdul Haseeb

    Really true.. can totally relate!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000178305745&v=wall danial

    omg, im in first year, and m facing all the said things!!!
    medicine is a strangest field, i wonder why i opted:(
    but still i love it,ahh, it has made me hell confused,too:)Recommend

  • Imad

    Reminded me of the days I spent in the medical college….Recommend

  • Dr Anjum

    Lolz …so true……..;pRecommend

  • Talaiha

    i love! so true!Recommend

  • Dr yahya

    that true for every thing
    I see that every day in my life. Recommend

  • Neelum Shah Jilani

    So true:)Recommend

  • bilal danish

    even though im never gona think of becoming doc .. most of my frnds in med … are exactly like how u said … instead of calling doc for help i call them .. if i have any probs :P hahaha Recommend