Do you have anything in your life that you’ve dreamt of doing for your entire life, that you remember from your earliest memories? Think about it now. Got it? Ok. Now think about actually doing it. Finally, after years and years of dreaming about it and thinking it would never happen, actually doing it. If you can imagine that, you can have a small idea of how I felt walking through the doors of my medical school, on the first day of orientation. I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t sit still. This was really happening, I was actually doing this: I was in Medical School.
My first year of medical school was a dream come true. That is not to say it was easy: there were a lot of struggles that I had to overcome, before settling back into a student life. I no longer had a profession or a steady income. I was also afraid of how my classmates would see me. Medical school here starts straight out of high school, so all of my classmates were 18-19 years old. I was over 30 <gasp>! And there was always that nagging black cloud whispering every so often: “You’re not smart enough for this.”
During the first semester, here in Uruguay, we have a lot of classes that many people think are boring. Things like ethics, and healthcare regulations, and epidemiology. I think they put them during the first semester so we have a chance to adapt to the amount of information they’re throwing at us. Once you manage to get through that and learn how to learn vast amounts of information in short periods of time, they start getting into things like biochemistry and genetics.
But I learned some valuable lessons, that go beyond the material I was taught: I learned that I am smart enough, and with effort and dedication, I can get good grades. I learned that no matter the age difference when people have a common passion, they will always find a way to connect and help each other. And most importantly, I realized that this was my dream for a reason: it is my calling.