The second year at medical school is slow and dull and dry. The reasons is mainly because by then you realise that you are not even close to becoming what you imagined yourself as a doctor, and also the subjects in second year are so dry that all you see are books, books and more books.
You study about the pathology of diseases, which you are going to see later , about microbes causing them, and drugs which you will get to use in the future if you pass the subjects. The only interesting subject in second year is forensic medicine, which partly makes you feel like a detective from the telivision serial “CID”.
Somehow you manage to cram all that useful information and step into the third year where now you are allowed somewhere near a patient. But for all your ‘beginning to feel like a doctor phase’ there is a senior colleague who thinks you are only getting in the way of his work. You are anyway the lowest in the food chain of medical school and are either eaten up raw in your bedside clinical postings by whoever can get his hands on you or are unceremoniously shooed away.
But you have to brave all these terrors and stand patiently in the wards observing , absorbing and learning all you can, from whoever is willing to teach, including the paramedical staff on duty who definitely know more than you at this stage. And then everyday sit down with your books and correlate and assimilate all you learnt to make some sense.
Final year passes off leaving you wondering where the time went and suddenly you have final year final exams.
This is one exam I must write about because there can never be anything like that ,ever, in anyone other than a medical students life. There is no syllabus. The subject is the human body, and even though for sanity the subjects are divided, it is the whim of the examiner whether he wants to stick to his own subject ,or ask you a question pertaining to another speciality.
When we gave our final year exams we had 11 theory papers and 7 practicals spread over a duration of 45 days. The practicals were the worst. We were called in at 6.00am in the morning and the case presentation , viva, specimen spots etc used to go on for the whole day . We would finish around 8.00pm and next morning had to report for the next practical at 6.00am. No time to sleep or to study for the next day. We were zombies …….. the walking dead, but still expected to brilliantly and correctly answer all the questions asked by a variety of examiners, all masters in their own fields.
We were mentally mauled and assaulted everyday and at the end of each day we used to feel we couldn’t go on. But still the next morning we would get up and go for the next exam hoping it would be a better day.
There used to be nervous breakdowns happening all around us. I am sure no medical student would have cleared medicine without an occasional suicidal thought.
I don’t know from where we got our strength. Our seniors our juniors our batchmates all hung in there with us and finally pushed us through those dark days.
But then as they say “ Dark clouds have silver linings”. Our silver lining was the fact that our examiners too were medical students once, and though tough task masters did award us our degrees unless we made big blunders in our exams.
Most of us passed,and it still sends a little shiver down our spine when we think of those days.