Hi guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m coming to you with a new post about what’s been happening in my life lately. I’m almost finished with my first semester of medical school and I have only one word to describe the experience so far: jaded.
I’m writing about this, not to whine and whinge and ruin your positivity during the week, but to keep it real with you guys in hopes that someone reading this post will feel like they’re not the only person in the world to have these thoughts and find some consolation that they’re not alone in this 4 year fight to becoming an M.D. (or D.O.!)
The rant begins…NOW:
The overwhelming feeling over these past couple of months (especially weeks) is that I feel I lack support in many ways. Besides the obvious loneliness of moving to another country to become an IMG (international medical graduate) and not having my family, friends, and Bulgarian community close by, I also feel unsupported and therefore unprepared. For starters, American pre-med programs and degrees do not emphasize anatomy and physiology. Heck, my undergrad didn’t even offer anatomy. I was exposed to cadavers on my own time through programs I sought out by myself. And even still, I still feel so under-qualified to even be here because I don’t know anatomy at all! What I am really good at though, and what my undergrad college REALLY prepared me on, was *drumroll* physics and biochemistry. Wonderful subjects, truly. However, physics is not emphasized in medical school, nor is it emphasized on the USMLE.
I also dealt with an absolutely horrible building manager in my previous apartment, who went after me in court to continue paying rent even though I had already moved out and somebody new was renting! I ended up taking him to court and won, but the experience was exhausting. My mid-semester break was spent crying for the most part because I was afraid of the courts (it was triggering because I was a child of divorce and custody battles at a young age) and building up a case, gathering evidence, working on stacks of paperwork, etc etc. At the end of it all, I’m glad I won and I’m glad that’s behind me.
Last but not least, the pièce de résistance: I herniated a disc during final’s week. I woke up one day, unable to sit, stand, or do anything without excruciating pain and numbness down my legs. It turns out I have an active L4/L5 disc protrusion, dissection, and degeneration and it is pressing on my nerves. I had to get an MRI and I’m still under the care of a chiropractor and doing physical therapy. This, of course, caused all of my finals to be deferred and my vacation plans to be cancelled. So I’m still studying for finals even now (well, attempting to because I am so burned out) and taking the deferred exams during first week of next semester (which is next week). The stress of finals has now been dragged out 1 month. 1 MONTH! I have never had experience with a semester system. My undergraduate program was 9 weeks long and I only ever had to cram information in my mind that was less than 9 weeks old. Now, I’ve been learning things for 16 weeks. That is so much information to hold in my brain!
I was talking with a friend that I made here in Australia and she is incredibly amazing and spiritual and she said that the reason why my semester ended with “spine issues” is because of the lack of support I’ve been feeling. The spine is supposed to symbolize support and structure, so it only makes sense that I ended up having a disc protrusion.
So there it is, friends! What’s been happening lately? I’ve been feeling unsupported and jaded.
At the end of the day, I have a lot to be grateful for. For one, I have my partner here with me and not a lot of people in my international program can say that. I’m blessed that I don’t have to deal with the stressors of a long distance relationship like so many of my colleagues are. But today, I’m not focusing on all my blessings (which I’m sure if I had the energy to sit and meditate, I would realize that they are greater than the shortcomings I’ve experienced). And that’s ok.
The first year of medical school is hard. Moving to a new country is hard. End of story.
So I’m spending my time reveling in anger, sadness, loneliness, and whatever other negative emotion I can think of and THAT’S OK. Because as soon as I get it out of my system, I’m going to have the energy to count my blessings.
I’m curious to know if anybody else has felt this way, especially in medical school, and especially during first year! If you have stories or thoughts to share, please comment below or send me a personal message on email@example.com I’d love to connect with you beautiful people!