Reflection On The First Year Of Medical School

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As the white coat was hoisted over my shoulder and the oath was recited, I knew I had taken a
step towards a journey I had envisioned. My relatives had already started referring to me as a doctor,
sending in their x-rays and prescriptions — to decondense and decomplicate.

I got a jist of the responsibility and possibly be expected to be a know-it-all by wearing a white coat
entailed. But I merely was a first-year who was learning the names and recognition of human anatomy,
basic physiology, and histology. I didn’t feel like I had learned anything useful over the first year — none
of the learning that I could apply clinically anyways. It was more like I was eating lots of bland rice,
digesting heaps of information all at once struggling to recall.

But now that I am in a whirlwind of -oologies — with pathology, pharmacology, and parasitology the
variety of lectures has gravitated me to being interested back into medicine and learn the importance of
those bland rice to strengthen my basics.

Reflecting on the journey of first year, one of the highlighting changes was possibly the denotation of
time — there is no doubt that medicine takes huge bites out of your time and energy, but it also impels you to be selective with it. Propelling you to manage time better, as the lack of it increase its
value as you reshuffle and line your priorities, accommodating your interests in between your fixed

Medicine at least in the pre-clinical is all about retaining and recalling the mammoth amount of
information. It is when you realize that hard work isn’t enough, or at least not enough to save you from
the negative-exhausted-complaining-raccoon you’re off to become. But rather it needs to be a
combination of the two – smart & hard. A part of which is focusing in lectures, so it takes less effort to
understand concepts when you return home and revise.

Whilst books root you onto a chair for longer periods than usual, your responsibilities await for you on
the sidelines because whilst it seems it’s all about academics, which for the majority it is giving its
curriculum, there is more to it such as your personal growth and self-care.

Thus you experiment with spaced repetitions, mnemonics, creating flowcharts, actively recalling, visualizing, storytelling events, relating and linking to the oddest of things just to remember and find your effective-less-time-consuming of a study method.

Lastly, Support system. With your time and energy devoted to larger tasks, you need support, whether
it is to keep your sanity intact or delegating responsibilities. One of the best ways I learnt was through
group studies; having it explained in the simplest of ways, teaching it or even questioning once another
embedded it better in my mind. Not only such sessions grounding, and less isolating –you come across
better ways of associating concepts – mind you with the right people.

Whilst some days are taxing and monotonous, it’s important to not neglect happiness and rejuvenation
to destress whether it is by indulging in your passions from time to time or merely catching up with a
friend because the journey of medicine has just begun.

You’ve got 5 years to cultivate habits and build the spinal role of discipline, growing mindset and focus to shape you into a well-rounded doctor. Welcome to the journey of earning yourself the initials Dr. and making the entire journey a blooming one!

Sabila Siddiqui

A medical student who is passionate about content creation; taking the form of writing, graphic art, videography, and photography.