Monday, August 24, 2009

The Greener Grass

Haven't blogged in a little while - sorry about that. Last week I found out that a few of my friends who had applied for med this year had been unsuccessful in obtaining interviews. I was quite shocked at this outcome for two people in particular - I was *so* sure that both would not only get interviews, but also be offered places straight away. I guess it's difficult to expect that the faith you have in someone else's potential will be transferred to a grueling selection committee. Still, I was *so* sure...

In light of these events, "gratitude" has been the order of my day recently. Anyone who's been through the medical school application process will attest to the ruthlessness of the high-stakes-all-or-none nature of the process. The more it means to you, the more stressful it is. We all jump into the pool, all too aware that we may be spat out again, just like that. Difficult thing to realise though is the implications and actual reality of being rejected; if you're lucky enough to be invited to stay in the water from your first application. I'm trying really hard to convey a sense of empathy and understanding to these friends who weren't accepted this time 'round - but I feel like I'm failing miserably. Standing on the greener grass makes every word I say sound less and less genuine or convincing. Not sure what else I can do?

I reflect back on this time, two years ago - when under the same moons of this Holy Month (it's currently Ramadan in the Islamic calendar) - I prayed and prayed that I would be accepted into the program if God in His wisdom knew that it was the right path for me to take; and for strength to accept a rejection if it was not. On being accepted into the program of course, all the prayers were by and large forgotten - it was I who achieved this, not some Divine Being. As the months went on, I started to take for granted how fortunate I was to be accepted first time 'round. But now I feel like I'm starting to regain some of that initial gratitude that I felt and paying due recognition to the Help that I received. At the same time, two years in, I've also come to realise that first-time acceptance isn't necessarily a great thing to have happpen, particularly if you've come straight out of high-school --> undergrad --> med school. I'm envious beyong words at those students with PhDs; 10 years nursing experience in a humanitarian aid-work setting; 15 years experience as parents; 5 years experience as teachers; the list is endless. I get pretty defensive when it's assumed that I have no "life experience" - because that's not entirely true either - but really, nothing is official or noteworthy. So yeah, all in all, I've come to remember how lucky I am that I was accepted first time 'round; but also realise the value of having an extra year or two or ten, while you are accepted, to do something amazing with your life... until you're finally asked to jump into the pool and stay :-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

10, 9, 8....

The count-down begins: we only have 10 more PBL weeks left for this year (out of 32). Oh my! I can't believe it's August already either :-O This month I farewell my beloved neuro block and welcome (half-heartedly) the upcoming musculoskeletal block. If I have one ambition, it's to remember the carpal bones without a bloody accompanying acronym!! I also hope we learn how to stabilise #ed limbs with a plaster cast - I've always wanted to learn that! One thing we learnt how to do during neuro block, which I thought was tres cool, was lumbar punctures :-S In my nerdy-neuro-obsessed mind, there's something creepy about gaining access to such a well-guarded area... as a body-fluid, CSF is so sacred; I feel like we shouldn't ever see it (and if we do it's either urgent - or ominous if it's coming out of the nose/ears post-head injury). *Shudder*.

Over the past week or so, I've reinitiated attempts to fulfill my New Year's resolutions - to exercise more and eat healthier foods. I was going very well until about April when, after my sister's wedding, I saw no need to try to fit into a size 8 dress. Now I'm back into it, for fitness and fun, more than anything else really. For now I'm just going to the gym and doing my own thing - treadmill, bike, cross-trainer - because whilst I like the idea of enrolling in an organised sport program, I think I'm too competitive to enjoy anything like that on its own merit :-S

What else has been happening? Not much really. I wish I had an exciting story to share with you about an epic adventure or the like. I guess I'm just quite content with the impeding end to what's been a long and mentally-draining year. If all goes well, it's my final year of full-time theoretical/didactic studies and I'm really looking forward to being in a practical learning environment. Closer to then, I guess I have a few exciting things coming up this month, with the City2Surf next Sunday (which I'm going to be on St John's First Aid duty for); completing the various first aid and life-support courses that I wrote about as part of my St John's training throughout this month; my sister's birthday on the 19th; and the beginning of the holy Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, which will start on the 21st or 22nd (depending on the moon).

Anyway, hope the week is a good one! :-D