Saturday commenced at roughly five minutes before eight in the morning. Despite wanting to sleep in, I begrudgingly lifted my weary head from my pillow and managed to extricate myself from the bed—which I barely slept on this week.
Oh, the joy of exams.
This week has brought me to highs and lows, and despite all the growth and maturity I’ve been claiming to have achieved, I still couldn’t prevent myself from being frustrated at not acing every academic requirement and from chiefly placing my self-worth upon grades. It’s a conditioned response I couldn’t unlearn easily, as majority of my life has been persistently occupied by academics. (I know, it’s a sad story. But I also had an angsty teenager phase, spent trying to write my heartbreak into songs and listening to OPM, then to the likes of Secondhand Serenade and Paramore.) Good thing I have Roi to basically knock some sense into me, whenever I’m worrying unnecessarily and thinking unhealthy thoughts, and he reminded me that it’s not just about the grades. To an extent, yes, but they do not define a person. They should not define a person.
Most of today has been spent in the busy street of Bambang in Manila—the go-to place for medical and laboratory supplies—in search for the elusive diaphragm of Littman’s Master Cardiology stethoscope (an errand for my father), and then some laboratory materials: vials, lancets, microscope slides, cover slips, a dissecting kit, and a small slide box. Walking all over the street and asking every store (for Canada balsam, why didn’t they have Canada balsam????) proved to be physically taxing enough to count as exercise. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe, as this sedentary lifestyle I’m sporting is starting to bother me. Just a bit.
During my search, I caught sight of a girl perusing a pretty rainbow Littmann stethoscope, turning it over in her hands as a woman, most likely her mother, watched on. The girl an echo of a future I want to work hard to achieve. And in that moment, I felt the calling of medicine so keenly that it ached somewhere in my thoracic cavity. A twinge—of anticipation? Excitement? Fear? Will I be like her, too, in the future?
What I’ve studied today, so far:
- Plant Systematics – Fundamentals, Speciation, Resources. Prelim exam on Monday.
- Uhhh, just for that subject, actually, as of this moment. Hahaha.
What I’ll study tonight (another sleepless night):
- Blood and hemopoiesis
And then maybe tomorrow:
- Some basic laws on differential calculus. And so it begins.
I printed some old transes from when I was a Dentistry student. I have taken up Microscopic Anatomy then—which is just a fancy name for Histology, really. The new university didn’t credit it, though, but it’s fine as I get to refresh on Histology in time for med school. Hopefully.
Also, in the middle of printing all those pages, I realized how much I’m supposed to read over the remaining hours of the weekend when I can as easily not read them at all. Still, from now on, I’d like to go above and beyond the material presented by my professor and do actual reading on my own. Technically, I’ve been clumsily practicing it for a while now, but I’d like to cultivate the habit.
We should all strive for learning. Maya Angelou captured it perfectly when she said:
I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.
Learning must not be limited to the academic setting. It must be on a broader, more universal scale. Knowing better makes this world a less darker place, each time we liberate ourselves from the shackles of ignorance.
Still, we must remember that it is also important not only to learn but to apply what we have learned.
And I yearn to practice health care from all that I have learned, am learning, and will be learning.