How to survive 5 years in a private medical school
Do you know what its like to spend five years in a private medical institute with a group of teaching, administrative and clerical staff who are critical of every single thing you do? If your answer is yes, then welcome to the club. You are currently reading the weak link students outreach programme where I will try to educate you with smarter skills and techniques to survive five long years in a private medical school by sharing my personal experiences in nine significant points. So, in the words of our senior-most professor of Histopathology who never liked over smart students, “My friend, are you with me?”
1) BEWARE OF UNCLE ROASTS AND AUNTY ACIDS
Whenever I get to meet a random uncle/aunt at a utility store or a family gathering in my hometown of Peshawar, which I like to refer to as small pond inhabited by secret-leaking frogs since they’re are all so interconnected and it’s actually harder not to know people in Peshawar; I’m frequently asked what appears to be the two most important questions in every single person’s life, “Am I doing Medicine or Engineering?” followed by “Which institute?” and in my case their response is, “PRIVATE? OH! ” which is at an extreme periphery to how excited they get when they discover a Government sector Medical/Engineering frog they can proudly fit a prince in. For the longest possible time it gave me some serious tachycardiac chills. Like isn’t that just ‘couldn’t-care-less, oh-you’re-so-worthless’ amazing? So just a free advice: Beware of these good mood demolishers!
2) …AND DO NOT BE A JOHNNY DEPP
Having mastered the art of failing almost all the entrance tests of government and private sector medical schools, I was pretty excited for finally getting into one. I had donned a French-cut beard style and a ponytail for almost a single calendar year. Girls kind of liked it. Guys were plain envious and these teachers had me number one on their target-list. It was a chicken and egg situation. I didn’t know if I was doing anything wrong because I was pretty comfortable in my “undergraduate doctor” bubble until I failed in Anatomy and Physiology multiple times. That knocked some sense into me. And you don’t want to go through any of this, do you?
3) BE DIFFERENT BY CHOICE
My friends who soon became half-friends were finally back in their comfort zone because I was no longer a threat to them when they became potential suitors. In other words, I had a proper haircut and started to look like normal people. However, my high-profile graph fell all the way down to a point I started to doubt my own existence. I seriously did. I daily used to visit the Anatomy museum to play around with Brain, Heart, Eye and limb models out of curiosity to eventually realizing I really had those body parts in me. I once put a thumb close to my right eye to see how the small sun looked with my left eye. Makes no sense, right? Meanwhile, most classmates-turned-suitors started to see each other plus the teachers were of the opinion that I’m a psycho. Personally speaking, I felt a little schizophrenic and at times mentally absent. But I chose to stay different which is why I never fell prey to all-the-boys-love-mandy-lane syndrome and went extra-easy in forgetting sarah marshall. I don’t really have an elephant’s memory but of all the weird things that happened to me back then; the weirdest was telling a random sweet Gul Panra lookalike, “This is my bench, young lady” to which she replied, “JAAAOOO MAARRAAA!!!”
4) SAVE SOME “ME TIME” OF THE YEAR
The year is twenty thirteen. The month is December. The date is thirty first. I somehow managed to pass my First and Second Prof exams by the skin of my teeth and on new year’s eve, I launched the cover of my first poetry book, “The Student Diaries – A Collection of Poems” in Islamabad Serena Hotel by clicking the “Enter” button on my keyboard. Great times they were until I decided to launch my book two months later during the literary week in my medical school for which I was heavily criticized by the doctors from literary society. (Tip: They’re not the kind of doctors you call if someone’s having a heart attack). I got a legal permit earlier that week from the concerned authorities of administration to use the auditorium for a day. But I guess the literary society still remembered me as the guy with Johnny depp look-hair from First Prof. That kind of reminds me of the Gregory House meme, “Plan to have fun while in medical school? Good luck!”
5) ABBREVIATIONS WORK, WELL, SOMETIMES
Third Prof, in a strictly technical sense, was when I actually realized, medicine is not that difficult to comprehend. I could be a good doctor. I actually started to like medicine. Somewhere in my subconscious I thought, If I had realized that three years ago, I would be in KE, AKU, AMC or at-least KMC today. Since life didn’t turn out the right way, I chose to outsmart those random uncles and aunts I ran into every now and then so they’ll know I am not such a terrible guy. I sometimes, quite seldom actually, succeeded in telling them I studied in KMC, which they wouldn’t mind asking me to abbreviate for them since it is obvious for Khyber, not Kabir and the next thing you know, I’m the prince of Peshawar. Lucky day, huh?
6) AVOID THE RETURN OF BATMAN VILLIANS
A teacher once cancelled my Pharmacology annual paper at sharp nine hundred hours. He said that my dress pant was rather parachute-y and not exactly a part of college uniform. I was wearing a white overall, a white shirt with black shoes and grey colored pants which were slightly casual. But the rest was fine. What makes me want to put my finger through his eye into his brain with the hope that his brain would finally start working is the fact that he wasn’t able to “see” many students in the hall who were there in Shalwar Kameez. And hence I was his hand-picked-weak-link prey. It’s too frightening to mention the real name of this teacher but his face and name both quite resembles Ra’s al ghul from the Batman movie, only without hair. You can imagine.
7) WATCH OUT FOR THE NEW PRINCIPAL
The Batman villain made me visit the Principal’s office to ask him if he’ll allow me with my parachute-y pants to enter the examination hall. From Hall-Exit to Principal’s office three floors down, I was pretty confident that he would recognize me for being his old student in the Forensic department but to my disappointment, I confronted the newly appointed Principal, Brig (R) Dr. Something-Something who showed me butterflies of the rainforest in a sarcastic fashion. He made me write an application to get it attested by the Student Affair’s section where the head clerk who appears to have more attitude than all other head of departments combined wasted my twenty five minutes until I finally went back to the Principal’s office for the last signature. The new Principal, despite this, took my mug-shot while I was holding the application and said to me, “I’ll hold a special meeting on this issue with higher authorities”. There goes a weak link or should I say the most notorious kid in the block.
8) WIN THE RACE OR RESTART IT
Dr. Ra’s al ghul black-listed me from applying for the post of Editor-in-Chief of College Magazine and I watched about a hundred something movies in retaliation later that year. But your humble narrator ultimately passed Third Prof exams and guess what, Batman finally returned his books to the library! But it was Forth Prof where I had to confront him one last time before Christian Bale played Batman. During the Pre-Preps long viva on the prevalence of diabetes in three tertiary care hospitals of Peshawar which I had successfully conducted during my research this year, he gave me 24/50 marks (Passing Marks: 25) and that’s when I came to know this guy has something special for me. He’s holding a grudge! I have cleared all my major clinical subjects of 4th Professional i.e. EYE, ENT AND Special Pathology and this guy just wouldn’t pass me in community. What do I do now? The only possibility I can think of to deal with him until I’m officially promoted to Final year is by restarting Asphalt 8: Airborne on my laptop every time I am not winning.
9) ALL YOU NEED IS FAITH
By now you pretty much have a rough idea how I spent four years in a private sector medical school and hey! I am yet to break a leg in the final Prof. I can’t believe I’ll be a doctor next year. But my worst nightmare throughout these years has always been the unsustainable equilibrium between “Ultra-Orthodox” Religious fanaticism and the wrath of these so-called educational ambassadors upon us. I call them the suicide of education. So if I were to ask you, on a scale of one to Jeffery Dahmer, how would you rate these pseudo-ambassadors? These monsters were ten point five on the ego scale if you ask me but I chose not to feed their fragile egos. I really hope it will pay off in the long run. I’m fearful of mediocrity. But I have faith in my self. After all, to deal with this population epidemic we need some herd immunity in academia.