For Medical Students

If somebody were to ask me “Did you enjoy medical school?” I wouldn’t know how to answer. First year was awkward, second year was tiring, I learned most during third year, clerkship tested my limits, and internship was liberating.

Graduation

When asked for advice, I always say to my students and interns, don’t hurry. Med school is fast enough as it is. Take your time and do your best to learn what you have to. That is the commitment we all have to make when we decide to become doctors: a lifetime of learning and self-improvement. If you are a medical student or if you want to go into med school, I hope these stories help you find inspiration, or answers, or whatever it is that you’re looking for.

M.D.

I am not supposed to be in med. While most people – I, at times – say I shouldn’t be a doctor, the real reason is because I couldn’t.

Although I already knew since first year high school that I wanted to be a physician, my inclination was never towards the life sciences. I despised my biology class; I hated having to memorize every italicized and bold printed term in the book just to pass my teacher’s verbatim exams. I am more of a Math-Chem-Physics student, preferring to memorize a little and derive everything else. Add to that my heightening interest in the literary arts, and it will be clear why I shouldn’t have attended med school. Continue reading →

Gusto Kong Maging Doktor Dahil

“So, why do you want to be a doctor?” Pipilitin kong tumingin nang diretso sa mga mata ng nagtatanong sa akin. Ilalabas ang matagal ring pinagpraktisang ngiti. Kaunti lang. Sapat upang magbigay ng impresyong sigurado ako sa mga susunod kong salita.

“Because I want to make a difference in other people’s lives.” Continue reading →

Meeting Memory

I met her yesterday. She was, despite a scar the size of a rice grain above her left eyebrow, beautiful. I was alone, slouching on a wooden bench along Manila Bay, taking pleasure in the intermittent breeze which smelled of salt and sea and sanity and peace. The rim of the sun had just touched the horizon when I noticed her walking towards where I was. Continue reading →

Gutterboy

Gutterboy drops his bag on the floor and throws his keys on top of his study table. Today, he took his last exam. That his first year in medical school is over still seems surreal to him. He has long wished for this day to come, and now that it has, the feeling of relief overwhelms him. Continue reading →

Ang Kamay

Dati-rati Ipinanguguhit lang ng bahay Panira ng laruan Pangmano kay Itay Kinukulayan ang mundo ng kasiyahan Binibilang ng mga daliri bituin sa kalangitan. Sino nga ba ang mag-aakala Na ito’y mabibigyan ng pagkakataong Makapaglingkod sa kapwa? Continue reading →

The Doctor I Do Not Want to Be

Through Ofelia Reyes, a 36-year-old laundrywoman and mother of two, I would get to know the resident physician who I’d never want to be. To this day, remembering what transpired that night in Ward 1 still makes me shudder, for I had never thought anyone could commit such atrocity to a patient spending whatever was left of her short life confined in her charity hospital bed, not knowing whether the next attempt to take a deep, painful breath would be her last. Continue reading →

Dalawang Tanong na Hindi Ko Kinalilimutang Itanong sa Aking mga Pasyente (o sa Kanilang Pamilya)

Humigit-kumulang walong taon na akong nakikipag-usap at nagpapaliwanag sa mga pasyente ng pinakamalaking pampublikong ospital ng Pilipinas. Bilang medical student noon at neurosurgery resident ngayon, natutuhan kong dalawang tanong ang pinakaimportante sa lahat. Continue reading →

Ngayong Isa Ka Nang Doktor

Suot ang toga at hawak ang kunwaring diploma, mahirap bilangin kung ilang daang araw na nga ba ang lumipas mula nang una kang tumayo sa harap ni Lady Med. Natapos ka rin, sa wakas. Continue reading →

More essays and stories?

Photo Credit: Gelo Manalang

11 comments

  1. Your blog is so inspiring. 🙂 I’m a first year med student. I had a plan to put up a separate blog for my med stories but I’m not that much of a writer. I have so much respect for you. I’d like to be like you someday. 🙂

  2. I was just browsing my social feeds when one of my friends are posting your blogs. I am in my junior internship aka “clerk” and reading your blogs gives me nostalgia and inspired me to strive harder. Thank you for inspiring us 🙂

  3. Dear Dr. Baticulon,

    Like most people who have read the contents of your blog, I am in awe and truly inspired with the stories that you have shared. I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that I have reposted some of your works in my own blog. I do hope you don’t mind, and I have claimed them not as my own. Again, thank you for the wonderful gift, for inspiring the rest of us. Cheers to all doctors in their quest for lifelong learning..

  4. Doc, ano po ang pre-med course mo?

  5. Nini P. Clemente

    May I ask why the main female character in your essays is almost always named Ofelia Reyes? Thanks!

  6. I am a third year highschool student and I want to be a doctor, bu I still don’t know what pre med course to take. I hope you can help me. Saludo ako sayo!

  7. Hi! I’m a Nursing student in one of the branches of Ateneo, i’m from Ateneo de Davao. Im an aspiring MD student who wants to get enrolled nad graduate in ASMPH. I just wanted if there are pdfs or any online reads that you have authored that can help me (specially in biochem) or in any field. It would be a great help and it will surely be appreciated. Heres my email address. kcbalboresedu@gmail.com

  8. Currently LU6 po ako sa UPCM. Nag LOA po ako in the middle of clerkship. Ayaw ko na pong bumalik… ever. 🙁 ano pp amg maipapayo ninyo sa akin?

    • Hi Karla, if you don’t see yourself wearing that white coat and taking care of patients, don’t force it. It will just make you miserable in the end and your patients will inevitably suffer, too. But think hard and go back to why you pursued this path in the first place. If you took your LOA just because of a hiccup, you can always come back and start over. I hope you find the discernment you need.

  9. Hi doc!
    I have been scouring the internet for an answer to my question: Should I pursue med school?
    And stumbled on your blog just now. The first entry I read was you MD entry. Suffice to say I was hooked on how you weave your experiences to your stories. I am not even the least embarrassed to say I may or may not have read 80% of your articles here in one sitting and shed a tear or two.

    We have so many similarities (Engineer dad and negosyante Mom). I used to enjoy writing and I think I should get back to it soon. Fellow isko(a).

    Anyway, I am already an engineer by profession. But it has been my childhood dream to be a med doctor. A lot has happened (mostly financial concerns di ko din kinaya mag Intarmed tulad nyo idol ?) and my mom left us too soon. When I lost her during college I felt I was on auto pilot of having to graduate and work to earn which is what I did. But occasionally I have this gnawing feeling that I am meant to do something more. Just last year my uncle (who also happens to be a doctor) offered to finance my med school expenses. They never knew I dreamt to become a doctor once a upon a time, only my mama knew. I was at a loss for words and overwhelmed to say the least. Thankful but mostly fearful. I am now in my mid 20’s and realize it may be too late for me to start this journey. I do not want to be a burden to my family for the next five or so years. My siblings (especially si ate) are very supportive pero ayokong maging financially dependent at baka dumating ang araw na kailangan nila ng suporta ko at di ako makatulong (financially).
    I have a stable job now and I don’t know really if this is what I’m meant to do. I feel like I have to go back to square one if I pursue med school. Then there is also this other feeling that my mama had intended for this to happen. I have this feeling she wants me to pursue this. I wish she was here to tell me so ?

    Ps. If mag med school ko ako feel ko makakarelate ako dun sa “I miss math” feeling and hating to memorize all details to pass an exam that you mentioned ? I have similar study habits as you (minus the 2 week preparation time) medyo tamad ako. Pero I realize now that has more to do with the interest I had with what I was studying then.

    Lastly, doc thank you for the gift of your words. You may not read this but if you do, know that you have impacted more lives not just with your profession but your writing as well. Utak at puso. Proud to be isko! God bless you doc!

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