Medicine requires stamina and grit. Studying past midnight, being on duty during a holiday, missing family events or hangouts, are not uncommon in the field. As the summer approaches, some of us may be yearning for a break especially in these unprecedented times. With this, we asked one of our alumni, Dr. Patricia Asuncion, Phi 2011B, UPCM 2016, how one could keep things light and fun in med school.
“People have this idea that medicine (both studying for it and having it as a vocation) can be physically, mentally, and spiritually draining. How do you make med school fun? Do you have any fun med school stories that you would like to share?”
When I found out that I got accepted in UPCM 10 years ago, I remember feeling two things: first, excitement because I got into my dream medical school; second, fear. Fear that I was going to give up my social life and live away from my family.
My high school and college friends congratulated me with “We’re so proud of you! ‘Wag mo kami kakalimutan ah? Magpakita ka pa rin! Sumulat ka.” As if I was going to go abroad and phones weren’t invented yet.
They say med school will suck the life out of you. It will, if you let it. Looking back, did I regret my decision? Sometimes. If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d probably be married with 2 kids right now. But did I enjoy it? Yes!
9. This is your second chance of being a student. So be a student wisely.
You are now a 20-something year old student. You’re at the peak of your life, and yet you are still doing “student things”. Enjoy it. No, I don’t mean to get drunk everyday and flunk your subjects. Be a student wisely. Go where it is that you’ll have the most meaningful fun. Attend school events and traditions. For me, one of my most favorites was Lady Med. Now speaking as a Rupaul’s Drag Race fan, I can’t believe that back then I was somehow living my drag dream by transforming straight male students into queens and have them compete in a pageant. We were make up artists, backup dancers, video editors, and stage personnel. It was such a fun class production! Another med school tradition I was able to enjoy was SUNOG or PURI where interns cheer on their favorite people and shout at the people they despise. This seems disruptive, but trust me it is very therapeutic. Please thank our class for our sunog efforts and successfully abolishing PACU (Anesth post op) monitoring for it was such a pain.
10. Join Phi
This list wouldn’t have been possible if not because of my Phi sisses. If not for Phi, I will not be giving tips like this. I will just be saying tired phrases like “Study hard.”, “Don’t dull your sparkle”, “Be your best self”, etc. Because of Phi, I found new friends and family in my sisses and brods. It opened the door for me to gain lots of experiences in med school. We studied, we partied, we travelled, we contributed to society, we learned new hobbies together, you name it! I will be forever grateful to my sisses and brods for joining Phi was truly the best decision I made in med school.
You may think that me and my friends were delinquent students. Trust me, we’re not. We just found the best way of balancing studies and enjoying our youth. After all, we were 20-somethings looking to live the best life possible. A lot of the craziest people I know graduated with honors. A lot of those “party people” ended up topping our class, eventually becoming chief residents and fellows.
You will not remember med school in your room leafing through a 1000 page book. What you’ll remember are the drunken nights with friends, the hustle and bustle of pulling off a school event, and going to places with your most favorite people.
Once this pandemic is over, my wish for each and everyone is to get out and LIVE. ☺