10 Thoughts every med student has at some point

A degree in Medicine is really quite a journey – incorporating years of study, exams, and clinical coaching. Sometimes it’s good to pause and reflect, and know that you aren’t alone. In fact, it’s pretty likely that your peers are feeling the same way and perhaps even thinking the same thoughts! UQ-Ochser medicine student Anastasia has summed up some of these thoughts perfectly. How many do you identify with?   

  1. Is this really for me?
    Even if your first toy was a pretend emergency kit and you proudly announced your intention on channeling the likes of the Grey’s Anatomy doctors when you were fourteen, chances are you’ve doubted yourself and what you really want from your career at least once. When you’re completely swamped by lecture notes and readings about a topic that you may or may not be that interested in, it’s hardly surprising that previous idyllic notions fade away and you’re left wondering if this is truly the best track to “help people” and “make a difference”.
  2. Is it worth it?
    We all know going into Medicine that it will be a very long and very expensive endeavor. However, it can be difficult knowing that many of your peers have graduated and already have, or are well on their way to having, stable jobs, their own families and maybe even their own homes while you try to conveniently forget how much debt you’re accumulating. Trust that the sacrifice will be worth it to do something you’re passionate about.
  3. I can’t remember the last time I had a real conversation with my mum/best friend/significant other back home.
    When you have an all over the place schedule and so much information in your brain that anything non-med related is promptly disposed of, maintaining a good relationship with loved ones can become a bit difficult. Doing so requires a whole lot of effort on your part and a whole lot of patience on theirs, but make the time to do so and you’ll build a great support network and be much happier and healthier in the long run.
  4. So…when are we seeing actual patients?
    It can be frustrating to not be able to hit the wards from day one and learn about all the cool cases in a real medical setting. It pays off to practice beforehand though, because once you do enter the wards, you start to feel like a kid playing dress up and realise how much you don’t actually know. Rest assured – you’ll learn quickly in this environment.
  5. I got this. There’s no reason to think I’ll blank out in front of the clinical examiner/model patient/real patient. I’ll just quickly glance at my notes again for the thousandth time, just in case…
    Somehow, in situations where you’re put on the spot, everything that you’ve spent so much time learning goes out the window. It can be daunting knowing that unlike your undergraduate years, where you could happily erase that integration technique or that organic synthesis reaction from your memory once you’ve completed the class, the information that we learn now will actually need to be retained for many years down the road. An occasional pep talk to reboot your confidence is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
  6. This amount of caffeine can’t possibly be good for me; in fact, I know it’s not.
    Med students are notorious for ignoring their own health needs, even basic necessities like eating and sleeping. Copious amounts of caffeine with a lack of shut-eye can lead to an overall miserable physical and mental existence, which we all know is not conducive for treating other people. Take care of yourself, before taking care of others – try it.
  7. This is how it ends. I have this disease.
    Known lovingly as “medical students’ disease,” it’s a condition that has plagued many a medical student for decades. Those affected start to believe that they have the symptoms of whatever disease they are studying. Never mind that it’s a rare genetic condition that only exists amongst .001% of the population and appears before the age of five, you have it.
  8. I’m really bad at “adulting” and being on top of it as a student at the same time.
    Figuring out how to balance studying with all the basic requirements of being a full grown adult, like paying bills and making sure your house doesn’t burn down, is an intricate skill in itself and should be learned and refined throughout your med school years.
  9. If in doubt, I’ll just say SLE, diabetes, thyroid problems, or pregnancy.
    You’ll be right, like, 80% of the time - but don’t take my word for it – best to be as prepared as possible.
  10. I should probably go out and be more social. But then, I should probably stay in and dust the cobwebs off the histology text I haven’t touched for like three months.
    It’s easy to feel guilty when every day is study day and any bits of free time could potentially be filled by extracurricular activities and contemplating your life. Still, balance is important so try to make room for study and play. You could even combine the two and get into some of the school related social activities like Med Revue or by attending the Global Healthcare Conference.

Last updated:
30 January 2017