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Med Struggles

Hi, I'm a 2nd year medical student in the Philippines.

How am I? I’m physically okay, but mentally and emotionally, no.

The first few weeks of school were okay. I'm a slow learner and slow reader, so I would spend many hours (a bit too long, to be honest) on one lecture before proceeding to the next, but I was learning. Some exams had really long coverages, but I had time to read through almost all topics. I would sleep at 4AM and wake up by 8AM, but that was fine. My first wave of exams were good. I was passing! I was so happy and proud of myself.

Then came the second wave of exams. I was getting really exhausted and overwhelmed with the lengthy coverages for each exam, including the number of group projects and papers we had to do. The topics were more in depth as well, so it was really information overload. I was really struggling, especially since I get easily distracted from studying, plus I read really really slowly. I've already failed three of my exams quite badly. They were all scheduled within a week you see, so there really wasn't much time to breathe or absorb the topics. It was really bad. I'm so scared I'll fail some subjects.

Here's the context too: all classes for the school year have been converted to purely online classes, so I'm remotely learning by myself at home. The administration has been very supportive and kind towards its students, but of course, that still won't spare us from the overwhelming amount of workload we have. Each exam coverage is waaay longer than the normal exam coverage in traditional (pre-pandemic, physical) classes. Let's say, normally (pre-pandemic) there'd be 10 chapters for 1 exam; but now (pandemic, online classes), there's 20+ chapters for 1 exam. It's definitely taken a toll on everyone's wellbeing. Too much to learn in such a short time has been really really hard. Especially for a slow reader like me.

I've been breaking down every week or at least been very withdrawn the past couple of weeks, especially the weekends. It's been really hard for me. I haven't been focusing as well anymore. The anxiety, fear, and overthinking are overpowering me. I'm not sure how I can motivate myself to keep on going. No amount of rest, sleep, or self-care has been motivating me anymore.

Sometimes I'm not sure if it's cause I'm really not cut out for medicine, or I'm just not studying well enough (I think the latter is the real reason ahaha).

I'm generally an impatient person, and seeing how I have no money of my own to donate to good causes frustrates me. It frustrates me that I'm stuck here at home, studying for poorly planned and toxic exams, which aren't at all conducive for effective learning. I'm stuck here, not being able to raise funds or in-kind donations for those who need it the most. While it is true that doctors have one of the most fulfilling jobs because we get to serve other people, it's still a loooong journey ahead before I can actually do this.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't been abated at all by the government and it's been 8 months already. And recently, the Philippines has been struck by 3 consecutive typhoons. I feel like I could definitely be doing more, but here I am, stuck at home studying. Sometimes, I really wish I took a job at the Department of Health (DOH) instead so that I can maybe start creating more effective change (such as in the public health system of the country and preventive measures against COVID). There's still so much more to change here in the Philippines, and I wish I could be a part of it now. I really just want to help out right now. There are so many typhoon and pandemic victims out there that need help. But I'm just stuck at home, studying.

I'm really just stuck in a rut right now. It's been really hard.

PS: I know that everyone is also struggling right now because of distant learning and working. The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and I just wish it'll be over soon. I'm sending virtual hugs to everyone!!