This was actually a suggestion from one of my Instagram friends and I think it is brilliant. Scrolling through Instagram, it is obvious to see the “rose tinted glasses” of the pre-med world. So, I’ve decided to sit down and think about what I thought studying Medicine was all about in comparison to what it actually turned out to be, so here we go.
Expectation: I won’t have any time outside of Medicine to do anything else
Reality: I had PLENTY of time outside of Medicine, I just didn’t use it.
It’s true. It is so easy to fall into this thinking that Med Students only see the light of day when we graduate and that we spend hours sitting at desks and when we aren’t at the desk we are in hospital. Some days that is true but, it’s not what studying this degree is all about. Once you are here, it just feels like another degree. Sure, you do look at other students and wonder what it must be like to not have to learn over 200 PowerPoints for one exam but hey, this is what I want to do and that’s just how things happen. People have lives outside of their medical degrees, you don’t just become a walking encyclopaedia of Medicine.
Expectation: This will be too hard, and I won’t be able to cope
Reality: It was hard, but I managed it
I was a nervous wreck before Med School and even looking at peoples notes online scared me. I didn’t understand a word of what they were posting, and I felt it was all too much for me to handle. However, you just learn to adapt. I became used to long days and going home before 8pm felt weird when normally I would have been in my PJ’s by that stage. It just kind of becomes the norm. You will suddenly find yourself wondering how the hell you got through the year and how the hell you have managed to learn everything. No-one ever thinks they are going to find medicine easy. If they do, they are lying or a big shock is coming their way. You can do this, it is possible. It will just require a bit of work
Expectation: I’m going to enjoy every second because this is what I want to do
Reality: There were days where I questioned what the hell I had gotten myself into.
You can’t be happy 24/7, and this is speaking as someone who is like a pocket rocket. There were days when I just wanted to sit and disappear. These were the days where I just didn’t get what was going on and I questioned whether I was even good enough to be here. However, for every bad day. There are weeks where I felt on top of the world. I also found that these bad days were quickly fixed by small light-bulb moments, or when we were at bedside teaching and suddenly, I realised why I was spending hours glued to my desk. People have a habit of making medicine this crazy world, but when you are here, it can feel just like any other degree, just with the added factor of patient’s wellbeing in your hands once you graduate 😊
Expectation: Every lecture is going to be complicated and detailed
Reality: Some lectures are complicated, but rarely detailed.
Think back to GCSE. Remember the level of detail you needed back then? Well, that’s what you need for medicine. No-one needs their doctor to recite every detail of the Krebs cycle. You just need to know the basis of the physiology of what’s going wrong/ why you are giving the medications you are giving. The hardest block for me was Block 2 where we had a lot of physics hitting us left right and centre, but even then, there were only 4 lectures where this came into play. I never memorised the calcium-phosphate cycle, I never memorised the entire Krebs cycle (Disclaimer: Just because I didn’t doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ). It’s breadth not depth.
Expectation: I’ll be like those people on Instagram staying up till 2am working
Reality: I was in bed and zonked by 11pm.
You do what you need to do. I need sleep. So, I got sleep. No-one gets prizes for falling asleep during lectures 😉