If there’s one thing that we know about medical students, it’s that they’re smart. After all, medicine has the highest cut off of any of our universities’ courses. We have an idea, in general, that medical school is hard. Today let’s find out exactly how hard it can be. We talk to Doctor Okorewa Mante, a currently practising MD, about her experiences as a medical student.
Expectations Before Medical School VS The Reality
We all go to the university with expectations. We have an idea of what it’s going to be like. She expected the medical school to be strict. What she did not expect, however, was the emotional toll that it would have on students. The programme, as you would expect, is a lot to handle. According to her, students have to pull themselves through it. It takes an effort. You always had to be up to speed on something.
It was tough because you couldn’t forget what you had learnt. In some programmes, new courses are introduced and they’re entirely different from things covered in the past. In medical school, every new course was to build on foundations that had already been established. You had to cram. You couldn’t forget the tiny details, because you were always going to account for them.
As a result of this fast-pace of learning, there were situations in which some students could get stuck behind. You had to find a rhythm. And you had to get into it. There were also a handful of students that this wasn’t the case for. These students, the extremes, could get by on their natural aptitude. However, for a majority of students, they had to force their way through the program.
First Year Of Med School
In Doctor Mante’s words, the first year of medical school doesn’t really hit you. In the first year, you have fresh blood. All you want to do is see what a hall week is like, you want to go out with friends and you want to have fun. The university is the place where you experience real freedom for the first time. And medical students like most other first years, just want to explore that freedom. You have so much enthusiasm. This is the point where you’re waking up early because you have lectures. And you’re not missing any of them.
The moment it really hits you is when you write your end of semester exams. It is at this point that you realize that what you’ve signed up for is going to be tough.
The Courses From Hell
The most difficult courses in medical school, according to Doctor Mante, are Biochemistry and Pharmacy. She says while other courses like Anatomy can be understood, Biochemistry isn’t quite that simple. It is detail-oriented, and there are a lot of those details. You need a good memory for this course. And you need to cram.
Pharmacy is similar in that respect. You need to have a mind for the details, and you still need to cram. There is so much specificity in what you have to remember. She says doctors really do respect pharmacists a lot.
Was It Worth It?
She describes the best feeling that she gets as a doctor. She says it’s when you put in an effort. When a situation challenges you, and you push yourself. And then, that effort translates into a positive result. You know that you did your best, and because of that, a situation is changed for the better. When that is capped off with appreciation, that’s an incredible feeling.