The story of a Nearpeer's MDCAT (2020) student
Name: Muhammad Waqas
Marks in MDCAT: 186
Medical College: Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore
As you are now part of this MDCAT JOURNEY and knows all about it. Let's delve into the life of a medical student and see how life is like for them.
As an MDCAT aspirant, you often dream and visualize the day you will achieve your merit for your favorite medical school. After a grueling day of studying, you lay down and wonder how your life would be once this struggle is over? How your parents and well-wishers would be proud of what you have achieved? One day you'd even write ‘Dr.’ with your name and how you'd feel out of this world? But what if you fail to achieve all this? Well, know that you are not alone in this journey.
When I was at that juncture, I did all those things too. I would too, wonder about all the "What ifs?" What if I don’t make it? What if my fortune fails me? Yes, it's all part of the journey guys!
I am Muhammad Waqas, a first-year MBBS (AIMC, Lahore) student and I am here to share some of my experiences with you and also want to give you advice based on my experiences so far.
Starting off, I would say, all MDCAT Aspirants should try to bring a little shift in their perspective about the struggle that they are in. You should stop thinking that you HAVE to do this – like it is some sort of a chore and every time the going gets tough.
Rather, you should consider yourself lucky and privileged that you GET to do it. You are on a road towards a very noble and respectable profession. Therefore, try to love the process and stop worrying so much about the outcome. Love this struggle, put in the hard work, leave no regrets – do everything you possibly can and then leave the outcome to Allah Almighty.
If you are doing all the hard work you can and would do anything to achieve your aim – then surely fortune will work in your favor and the long, arduous hours and sleepless nights will be worth it. And I can assure you, it is a feeling like no other in the world. The contentment, joy and pride that you feel in achieving your long-desired goal and making your parents smile – the feeling is ineffable.
Now, let's talk a bit about what’s at the other end of the finish line.
Some people think once you get into medical school then doing MBBS, becoming a doctor - everything is a slam dunk. That is a misconception. Life is the second name of struggle. To thrive and to be content, you have to keep struggling. It is what makes life worthwhile.
But that doesn’t mean there is no fun or relief at all. You have to manage it. You have to give yourself time off too. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Right? Well, it does make you a dull boy, if you have no life other than studying.
Surely, after MDCAT and before joining your medical school you will have ample time to yourself. My advice is, utilize that time to refresh and recharge yourself and have as much fun as you can. Don’t just sit there waiting for the day when you will go to your medical college. That day will surely come, but don’t take these days for granted. Learn some new skills, read books, indulge in your favorite hobbies, spend time with your family – make up for the time you spent toiling during your arduous MDCAT preparation. And do not just waste away your days scrolling through social media.
Moving on, once you get into medical school, here are a few things that I learnt and still learning that I think you should know as well.
Firstly, don’t be fooled into believing that in MBBS you can do everything in the end - NO! Familiarize yourself with all the aspects of your classes and studies, right from the start. Sure, you don’t have to start toiling from day one but also don’t make the mistake of being oblivious of the things happening in your class and lectures. Keep yourself up-to-date. Have fun too but in moderation.
Let’s be honest, studying medicine is really hard but it becomes even harder when you impose it upon yourself like a burden, and all you do is study. So, you should maintain a balance between studying and having fun. You must spare out some time for socializing, extra-curricular activities and your hobbies. And you’ll see how you find yourself at ease.
In addition to that, most of you think that the content you will be studying in your medical classes will be pretty much the same as of FSc. But, let me tell you that, studies here are quite different from the stuff you are already familiar with. And obviously, you will be dissecting a corpse which is one hell of an experience. It is the most interesting thing to learn yet most scary as well. A lot of student faint upon dissection of cadaver and interestingly this type of fainting also has a name called "vasovagal syncope" You might get faint a few times in the start and nothing will make sense to you but this will be the most exciting part of studying medicine. My advice is, be patient. Keep trying without beating yourself up or losing courage. Gradually, you will learn the ropes.
Along with that, building connections is very important guys. You must interact with your seniors as well as your classmates. Exchange phone numbers and try to socialize as much as you can. Believe me, this is a journey where you don’t want to be a lone ranger. You will need a lot of help and guidance from your seniors, and the good news is – they are always happy to help. Hence, give your seniors due love and respect.
Maybe at times, you will find things too hard that you'd feel flummoxed and doubt your choices. You’d wonder, “How did I get into this mess?” Remember, it's okay to feel that way. It is all part of the journey and life is a bittersweet symphony. And especially our journey is a bit of a rollercoaster ride.
Last but not least, despite everything, you have to remind yourself to be grateful. The human mind often focuses on the negative. Once you achieve this dream, you will start thinking and worrying about all the things that lie ahead but remember to practice gratitude. You are lucky to be here so proceed accordingly.
Remember what I said earlier, you GET to do this.
Always remember, happiness isn’t found on the next rung of the ladder. As you are working towards your goal i.e. MDCAT, don't associate all your hopes with the fact that once you'll clear it, all your troubles will go away and you achieve long-lasting happiness and won’t have to struggle anymore. If you think like this, you will be gravely disappointed.
Sure, you will be happy the day you achieve your aim but that isn’t the end. Take pleasure in this struggle and labor. Don’t push all the happiness back until that day.
In the end, I just wanna say, we often think that once we are successful we’ll be happy. But actually, it’s the opposite. Once we are happy, we’ll be successful. Always remember this.
Do not forget to give Muhammad Waqas a clap if you found his story inspirational.