Thursday, 11 October 2007

Things I've learned from Medical School part III

In this edition...Procrastination and ridiculously inappropriate emotions.

Procrastination: I don't know how or why med students gained this bizarre reputation of spending most of their waking (and some of their sleeping) hours glued to their chairs , hard at work amidst all those text books. "Da7a7" is a particularly favorite term the populace use to describe us. I mean sure, we have insane amounts of work and very little time and/or energy left to do it after going through all those rounds and private lessons but guys...just cause we have a lot of work, doesn't mean we actually do it. Since I've started medical school, I've noticed that we've all developed terribly exciting hobbies like sitting around watching the clocks go by with our mouths agape (sometimes a little drooling , too) , walking around the house/streets , wildly gesticulating and wondering how we're supposed to pull this off or sitting in front of the television with our eyes empty and glazed and again with our mouthes hanging open. It doesn't matter what's on , as long as it's colorful , pretty and doesn't require 200 multiple choice questions to be solved right after while the material is still fresh. It's simple really, we have the time and yet we waste it. You could blame it on anxiety , avoidance , denial , low self-esteem or even perfectionism. Going through an educational system which stuffs massive and often useless amounts of information into your head and expects you to perfect it from A-Z will do that to you. Internal medicine for example is approximately 1000 pages and that's basically like studying a dictionary by heart but unlike a dictionary , at least 300 pages are full of crap that is never even applied clinically. Combine that with insane time tables that fit the university staff's social life and vindictive professors (I'm not sure who they're seeking revenge on exactly but apparently we're pretty high on that list .) who , you know , just for the heck of it decide to slam us with a test that's meant for someone hoping for a master's degree rather than a lowly undergrad ( not that even a postgrad student would pass it, mind you ). Ya know...just to stir things up a bit...cause a few riots in front of the dean's office , a few fainting spells in the middle of the tests or some simple mass hysteria. That sorta stuff.
The maximal form of procrastination , though is how at least 1/3 of a 1600 student class postpones a test each year for 3 months. I never really understood how it was O.K. for part of the class to take the test in September and the rest to take it in December with no consequences whatsoever. It was originally intended for situations like an illness , a death in the family..etc but now it really isn't all that necessary to have a good reason.You just pay a 100 pounds and that's it...3 extra months at your disposal. We all start the year together, know about the exams together , yet it's O.K. for some people to take tests later than others and still get the same treatment. It's O.K. to leave that back door open for those people who just can't get their act together on time. I know what panic attacks feel like and I know how it's like when you feel like you're likely to vomit if you read another word but is it healthy to promote this sort of mentality among people many of which are expected to make life or death decisions at a moment's call? Don't try to make sense of it..I've been trying for five years and I'm still not there yet.

Inappropriate emotions : I've been worried lately about the mental reactions I've been having. I'm not being dramatic when I say I think I'm slowly dying inside. It's like I'm being replaced by a cyborg known only as MS-11240820357. Just last week, while I was still recovering from the trauma of my four internal medicine exams and wondering how I'm supposed to get the energy to get through my pediatrics exam and then my orals and practicals, a friend of mine called and the following conversation took place :

Friend: I have some really bad news..
Me : omg..what ? ( my mother looks really concerned at this point because according to her , I turn a deathly pale)
Friend : "...." 's father passed away , yesterday.
Me : Omg , that's horrible (at this point...the color returns to my cheeks.)

It seems totally normal except that I turned pale because I thought that our IM results had come out early for some insane reason...BUT NO , it just turns out that a colleague's father has died instead and that was actually easier news to handle for me *HeadDesk*.

I was also at a practical lesson a couple of days ago for my pediatrics exam. A child the doctor was examining started to cry ( out of fear rather than pain, we don't torture little kiddies...not yet anyway) . You know what was going through my mind while the poor kid was crying ?? " Damn, what do I do if my "exam case" starts crying ?? I'm no good with kids anyway! " . YES, I know I'm a horrible person and I'm pulling out the gun out of the drawer as we speak to prevent myself from turning into a monster. ( or at least that's what I should be doing ..or you know, looking for a cliff or a really drunk driver or something.)

Thank you, Medical School ! Thank you!

O , I almost forgot... HAPPY EID EVERYONE! :D


shafee2a said...

Acually i always get this image about Med School Students :),my nephew was one too,also at Ain Shams.God he lived a miserable life :D..everytime we passed by his room we found him sitting on that miserable chair infront of those million pages-boooks.i remember he used to make funny notes about it like:"i'm afraid i'm gonna be stuck here till some time in the future i get out of this room and see flying cars or the Earth's abducted by aliens..:D",Anyway,i really admired this in him - surviving all this torture :D-and for that hardwork he was an honour student for the seven years... i really think it's worth it :)

spellz said...

look who's the Drama Queen right now :P
I cant overcome the vacation feeling
i just cant study
about the postponning thing
I guess R is going to kill u reading this:P
although she had her kinda reasonable reasons :P

Ravine85 said...

Shafee2a : I think it's worth it ,too. Sometimes, it's just so overwhelming that I wanna run through the streets and scream bloody murder.
I hope I make it through till the end isa :D

Spellz : I'm entitled to a little bit of drama every now and then. You can't have it all to yourself all the time , you know :P.
R knows how I feel about postponing and I think she would've finished on time if the option was not that easily available. Having the thought of escaping in the back of your mind will hinder your performance one way or the other.

Om Luji said...

Happy Eid, Ravine. I was so sorry to learn about all that's taking place over at Med School. Our educational system is a total failure. Hope to see education receive due attention and come first on the list of our reform plans. Wishing you best of luck with your exams. Don't worry about the kids. Just a smile would help them to relax.

Juka said...

I hope you are not postponing?! And Spellz given what you are all going through you all deserve to be drama queens.

Yalla, Happy Eid vacation dear.

hesperia said...

woh girl! tough break! call me weird but i never felt that med school was that difficult( dont get me wrong, i'm not wonderwoman or anything:D) but like u said we got the time, we just dont use it...
about the postponing, i think it's punishment enough to not get a proper break- by which i mean a crazy hectic vacation..(my favourite!) also, because the invisible aim (not sure it was intended that way though) is to graduate competent docs, so, if some students need more time to absorb the info, all so good that they can have it. afterall, we all got the choice to postpone, so, it aint really that unfair. and it's still a deadline albeit 3 more months.- inspite of all that crap i just said, i actually wouldn't postpone an exam for the world.

as for the kids- try lolipops, they work for me ;)
and your weird emotions- hun, you just need to lay back 8-)