It’s shocking how much you change as person in your first clinical year. For the most part, the first two years of medical school is a continuation of your undergrad class experience. You may learn more knowledge at a quicker pace, but the format remains the same. You study for a test, you write the test, you go on to the next subject.
8 months since entering the wards, I find myself a different person. Not so much that my personality has changed but more because I have been exposed to things I have never seen or done before.
You see new life come into the world, you see people take their last breaths. You have to discuss with patient’s and families about the end of life and how they wish to proceed. You meet and interact with the most marginalized groups in society. People who live on the streets, drug addicts, people who have gone through a lifetime of abuse. You get the chance to open up someone’s body to fix them. Suicidal people no longer faze you. A year ago, the though of sticking your finger into someone’s rectum was revolting. Now, it’s just another routine examination that is necessary to do.
People trust you because you wear a white coat, or because you hang a stethoscope around your neck, even when you feel like you know nothing. It’s a whirlwind of emotions and experiences that I have yet to sort out. It’s all jumbled up, there’s little time to just think about it all because that time is often spent making up for lost sleep.
“You can’t understand it until you get there,” said those who have gone there before me. I agree with them.