Medical School and Me: Then and Now

This is a post of two parts. 

It’s hard to imagine that 9 months ago we were in our first week of medical school. Having pledged our lives to be doctors and making one of the hardest decisions of our lives. Now (whilst writing this) I am getting dressed to celebrate the end of our first year OSCEs and wondering what the hell I am going to do with my day tomorrow…

Two weeks ago I would have told you I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. The stress and never ending pressure to keep going and succeed eating away at me. Now, I miss is it… which reminds me that this is why I picked medicine in the first place, and that this is part of the journey. That it was a test in itself, could I cope with the pressure, would I back down. 

There is so much I would love to change… like not falling down the stairs of my OSCE briefing, or revising more anatomy over the last few months. I would have started working earlier so money wasn’t a constant issue and I would have faked that confidence I have found in the back of my closet much earlier in my medical school career. 

Now, having spoken to people at the medical school open day recently and having the time and brain space to look back at it I realise that this is all part of the medical school process, this is how we learn and grow and become amazing, kick-ass doctors. If we can’t deal with this we won’t deal with conditions of the NHS. 

Nine months ago I thought medical school would be simple, that it wouldn’t change me at all in the way it has. That I would be able to maintain that close family relationship I had with my siblings and parents, that my relationship would work. 

Now, I am single (and loving it), have a new relationship with my parents and sisters. Not at all in a bad way, I’ve just grown as a person and that relationship has developed and growth with it. 

In September I hated social events and would sit anxiously or just avoided them altogether, now I am having my last few drinks before I give up alcohol. A decision I’ve made of my own volition and am much happier as a person with. I am going to events that  I’m invited to a forging a path for myself in Coventry without other people to open the doors. I am doing it myself more than I’ve ever done before. 

Two months ago I couldn’t see the light at the end of this tunnel. I was planning for my failure, exploring how I was going to explain failing medical school to everyone I knew. Was seriously questioning if this was worth the suffering I was putting myself through and whether I was good enough.

Now, I am pragmatic about the ability to resit (and how it is certainly a way to prove I am going to be a great doctor) and looking for volunteering, work experience and extracurricular actives for the next year (and figuring out where my deposit is coming from… send help!). It’s important to remember that I wouldn’t have made it this far without people believing you could do it. Now all I have to do is prove it to myself.

The person I was nine months ago has grown, developed a harder stomach and a stronger desire. She is passionate about what she wants to do with her life and is determined to get there. I’ve picked myself up from the ground numerous times and crawled out of the dark thoughts of feeling unworthy too many times now. I have learnt that medical school not only teaches you but changes you, and definitely for the better.

My views on medical school may have changed… but I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

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