My alarm still goes off at 6:30am. Though school has been over for a while, I cannot bring myself to switching it off. Over the past year, 6:30 has come to signify a few things. It represents the start of a new day - where I can aspire to learn new concepts and understand those I struggled with the previous day, talk to friends I haven’t spoken to in a while (for a minute or more). It’s a time when I pray and ask God to make my day smooth and stress free.
When I hear my all too familiar iPhone ringtone at 6:30am even though school is out for the summer, it reminds me that I am alive and I get to pursue my dream of becoming a medical doctor for an additional day.
Medical school is challenging, understandably so. “What just happened?” or “What does he mean by that?” and the all too familiar “How do they expect me to remember all this information?” has been my slogan for the past year. I’ve left lectures feeling defeated and fearing that I may never grasp the material. But somehow, the light bulb goes off as I’m studying and it all comes together beautifully. I particularly recall my frustration when learning about the brainstem. For one, I did not know why 3.5 inches of tissue could ever be this complex and important. But it was calming to know that others were having the same struggle and we were all determined to understand the complexities behind the brainstem. The exam on the brainstem ended up being my best exam in medical school.
Outside of the classroom, I don’t do too much, something I hope to change in the coming year. My roommate last year always seemed to have plans outside school. Shopping, game night, bars and Game of Thrones study breaks were amongst the things she did. I have to admit, I was very envious of her lifestyle. I would say out loud “How does she have the time for that?”
But the reality is that life still happens outside of school and it’ll be great if I could have a great grasp of how that 'extra life' works. I still have to weigh in on family matters, keep up with friends and their relationships and find times to reconnect with myself. But when you get to go through school with the best people ever, it makes it worth it. When I find myself having some down time, I read, watch a movie, listen to Wendy Williams and all her celebrity gossip, spend 30 minutes on Facetime, take a nap - whatever I need to do to disconnect from school.
Whether we have 80 more years left on this earth or 10, we should live every day pursuing what we love and value everything we have. Explore the world, live out your passion, set out to be who you want to be.
- Adesola Oje
My parents, on the other hand specialize in handing out my number to friends and family who are slightly interested in medicine and bio-engineering. I have gotten several missed calls and voicemails from people with no idea who I am. There’s usually a moment of awkward interaction where we try to decipher who might be on the other end. Soon enough, when we are somewhat familiar with each other, the conversation becomes less stiff. “Why medicine?”, I always ask. As I listen to what each individual has to say, I always want to know if there’s something else they see themselves doing. Because of how tedious medicine is, I am acutely aware that it is not for everyone. I try to get people to think about their lives.
“Does medicine fit into the picture?” If it does, "great!" but if it doesn’t, you should not do it.
The ultimate goal is to look back and have NO regrets. Life is short! I’d like to live a long happy one - with the love of my life (whoever and wherever he is. lol) and our children and grandchildren running around in the yard outside. I want to drive a Prius and have the most amazing medical career as a cardiologist. And I live my life everyday working towards that. What I learned from reading Paul Kalanithi’s book is that as doctors, we spend every day dedicated to saving our patients’ lives. The reality is that we are all going to be patients ourselves; for some, that time began before medical school while for others, the time will eventually come. Whether we have 80 more years left on this earth or 10, we should live every day pursuing what we love and value everything we have. Explore the world, live out your passion, set out to be who you want to be. Because when the last day comes, you’ll be able to smile and say to yourself
“I am happy I chose this path”.
Hope you enjoyed this first-hand account of what life in med school is like. Leave a comment on your thoughts, including how this article has shaped your decision to enroll or not enroll in medical school. And please keep our guest author in your prayers.