Friday, June 15, 2007

First Week in Med School

My first week of medical school was a complete emotional roller coaster. My feeling swung from excitement to apprehension to delight to sadness and every other emotion known to the human range or spectrum. I am still adjusting to living in a dorm again; I don't have the endurance for the two hour trips one way to or from school. I've taken my bedroom here at home for granted, that I missed the space and the privacy so much in the first two nights. I have a roommate who is four years younger, who is here in the metropolitan area for the first time, and is an undergraduate student. I don't have internet access there yet. I still haven't fixed up my closet, my kitchen cabinet, and my desk. I feel that my own space is so Spartan, and not as homey as I was used to. For the very first time in my life, I am so HOMESICK. I'm also adjusting to being a student in a Catholic school again. After eight years of 'hard core' secular education, I was shocked to see that we started and ended classes with a prayer. We also started the school year with a Mass. We would be celebrating days of obligation, feast days of saints, etcetera. It's not that I'm a nonpracticing Catholic; I do fulfill my obligations but it's just that I'm really not too keen on the Thomasian traditions of prayer as yet. The people I've met in my batch and in my section in medical school were surprisingly friendly and warm. I've already met some elementary school batchmates, Pisay dormmates, fellow UP Manila graduates, people new to Manila, Filipino-Americans, Americans, upperclassmen (like my surrogate brother who was the one to help me during the pinning ceremony), and professors who were my mom's high school batch mates. I'm quite happy that these people seem to be genuinely nice, but as always I do keep my guard up because I can never be too careful anyway and I still have to work as hard as the Hufflepuffs in medical school. The funniest thing happened during our 'freshmen' tour. The whole batch (530 of us all in all) were divided into teams of about twenty and we were guided around the building to get familiar with the rooms and offices. The teams were named after all the subjects in the Harry Potter canon, and I think that Professor Snape would be very proud to know that I belonged to Team Occlumency. Maybe it's a sign that I rid my mind of emotion, empty it...make it blank and calm, that I would be able to focus my energies on learning instead of agonizing over each and every single decision I've made. Right now, I'm failing at Occlumency. I still feel troubled that I chose to study in a Catholic university, that I am in a dorm, that I am in this place at this time. The prospect of behaving like this extremely prim and proper young woman twists my knickers so much; I find the all white uniform, particularly the pencil cut of the skirt, so difficult to deal with, after four years of civilian clothing in undergrad. I'm still learning how to walk in heels, when I'm the champion klutz; remember that I'm this person who usually makes a very close acquaintance with slippery stairs or sidewalks. I'm bothered by the thought of whether my academic training in this university will truly make me the best damn doctor that I can be. Oh yes, I have major self-esteem issues right now, and I can only blame myself right for choosing to wallow in misery for the moment. Despite the most worthy advice from the people who mattered most, and from the surprising words from an unexpected mentor, I am still coming to terms with my feelings of inadequacy or failure. Maybe I share Hermione Granger's boggart. Maybe I'm just adjusting or am feeling some culture shock that I never experienced before; I never felt this way in the transition from Catholic elementary school to a science high school or from a science high school to the state university. The only comfort I have is that I went to medical school because I wanted to, and not because I was pressured to do so. So, what am I doing on LJ on a Friday morning? My classes for today were cancelled and I went home last night for a family thing as well. I'm taking this sweet time to cherish the DSL connection, my familiar bed, the warm food, the laundry, and some rest. Come Monday morning, I'll have to take a deep breath and plunge head first into the start of formal classes for medicine. So for now...Occlumens!

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