The long journey’s at its formal start — five years of MD/MBA (what’s that? why is it relevant?), a couple of years residency, and a million or two moments of crying. I’m so excited. I’m also afraid I’ll forget things (half of my college experience now seems like a haze in my memory), so here’s a new blog series post thing.
Road to Medicine
If you asked me when I decided to go into medicine, I don’t think I’d be able to give you a clear answer. My only actual Career Moment as a child was deciding I’d be a lawyer (Harvard Law, of course), thanks to the inspirational queen that is Elle Woods.
But sometime in the last ten years I just woke up knowing that I’ll work to become a doctor. By third year high school, there was no question.
Sometimes I try to justify this choice by thinking of my dad, who died of cancer 1.5 decades ago. I’d think of the times I play-acted at nursing him back to health. I’d think of revolutionizing the world with medical research.
Today, I offered a thanksgiving lunch with my family. Everything that allowed me to achieve anything came from the strength of my mother, family and friends. One of my greatest sources of inspiration might not have been physically there, but he lives in all our hearts. It’s a big thing to go all the way from the small town of Nagcarlan, to eventually graduate AB Economics Honors from AdMU, rise up the corporate ladder, help raise a family. In many ways, he inspires me, albeit in a different way my mother does. I have very few memories of him. But I distinctly remember playing doctor with him as a child. He’d lay down on our couch and pretend like my plastic orange stethoscope was the real deal. And someday, I hope to be a real doctor, making changes in health research and service. And I hope to make him proud. (Especially since, finally, magiging Atenista na rin ako!) Happy Father’s Day, papa! I hope you had fun as well today.
In any case, I’d keep getting inspired throughout the years, and I’d keep committing. I’ve immersed with communities in Pampanga, Manila, and more recently in Rizal.
And I realize in debate and discussions, again and again, that any right we enjoy in life are premised first on the right to health, and that there’s no sense fighting for feminism or progressive nationalism or equity in general when only a meager percent of the world can choose to enjoy it.
Education, transportation and right to liberty. But health first.
By the time I was inexorably moving towards medicine as a career, I already fixated on the idea of helping people access quality services. The most beautiful thing in the world is the sight of people who could choose to live their lives well. That’s a kind of art I think more people should appreciate.
Making the Right Choice
I’ve never had a dream school, but if I had one, Ateneo would come pretty close.
Ateneo was the school of my dad, brother, sister and a handful of other relatives. The Ateneo Way –whatever that is– was sold to me heavily that summer of 2011 (?), during the Ateneo Junior Summer Seminar.
I wouldn’t trade what I experienced in UP Manila for the world, but I always wondered “What If?”. Ateneo, after all, was my only other choice for college.
Come med school, I guess I won’t have to wonder. In a way. (
Though now I’d keep wondering, what if I got into UPCM instead?).
But why Ateneo?
I had to go through several bureaucratic hoops to enroll in Ateneo. For one thing, I actually deferred enrollment before taking it back in the same month, because of financial reasons. But I like to think that things had a way of working out because Ateneo was the school for me. And also because my mother is a saint.
Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. Doesn’t it sound grand? It’s a new school, not even as old as me, but we all thought the Ateneo brand had to mean something. And it does. The Ateneo brand meant very specifically that the training is geared towards becoming physician-leaders and nothing less.
I’m not trying to sell ASMPH, or anything, but for any aspiring med student with the right amount of idealism, ASMPH’s dual degree program of conferring an MD and an MBA is an undeniable edge. There are three things ASMPH wants you to be: a social catalyst, a dynamic leader, and an outstanding physician. When I was interviewed by Dr. Querubin way back, I was already impressed by the emphasis on magis.
For someone like me, who wants to change the public health sector in this damnably lovable country, I think it’s perfect.
I know all of these things because our transitional summer began and finished already (at a criminally early date, honestly). I haven’t had to sit in orientations or make friends for a long time, but it was okay.
We had to sit through MBA classes and PH modules together. We listened to a series of orientations and alumni sharing that involved ideas like:
- Prepare to be transformed.
- How relevant will your medical profession be to nation-building?
- Behave appropriately.
- The problem of healthcare is often a problem of logistics.
- Ignatian Spirituality: Suffering and laboring with Christ.
(Also I need to update myself with medical dramas, if I got our MBA prof correctly).
I’m actually deadly thankful of the people from UPM Bio who’re also with me in Ateneo. The best support group/survivor team/whatever. Thank you all so much!!! I’m so awkward. Lels.
And apparently immersions are at the heart of the Ateneo tradition, and so we had our first actual fieldwork last July 15. We went to Barangay Kalayaan, Angono, Rizal, for a foretelling of what we’d expect to change and live and breathe in the future.
I got lucky enough to go with such wonderful people (“BEST G12OUP”/”MEDISCIPLES”/”KALEIDOSESCOPE”). And then the OrSem and the trip to Tagaytay.
I feel like with the OrSem, that inuman session, and that fun trip to Tagaytay, we’re kind of set to be amazing friends and groupmates. I just feel really lucky to have been lumped in with them??? Every one is awesome??????
I’m a little bit in love with everyone???????????????
I can’t write down everything that happened during the course of one intense week of team bonding, but I hope I remember all the laughs, frustrations and successes.
It’s a bit crazy. These are the people I will probably live, breathe and suffer with for the next 5 years. I actually don’t know how to feel. It will be an adjustment. In the meantime, life goes on, in its eye-opening fashion.
Preparation for a Lifetime
So it’s going to be a whole new world, with a whole new bunch of people and places to see. I’ve only been to Ortigas a couple dozen times in my life, and now that there’s reason to explore it…
I prepared maps. In hindsight, I may have had too much time in my hands.
The cute and amazing thing about Ortigas is that everything appears to be in walking distance of each other. At my most relaxed pace, I can walk SM Megamall to school, Rob Galleria to the condo, to the school, whatever, and all other variations thereof. There’s an Ortigas Park, a couple of restaurants I already picked out, a Lopez Museum, the HealthJustice office, and also several massage places I can easily visit.
There are several places I still have to visit or check out before I get bogged down by actual med school: the Lopez Museum, a variety of coffee shops (Craft Coffee Revolution, Habitual Coffee, Toby’s Estate), the new Mall of Korea. At least I’ve been to Frankie’s!
It’s brilliant. I love leisurely walking.
I also love sleeping in late, hence a new condo. I am extra chilled/thrilled to live my DIY studyblr life with A, my new roommate. I’ve known her since we were… six years old? LOL. We were pretty close at some point in elementary, but artfully drifted apart sometime in between. But we’ve been schoolmates forever. This will be AWESOME.
I’m pretty sure we have a childhood photo somewhere….
And the last thing I want to share –school supplies!!! I’ve been so extra unchill about my things.
Thanks to Pinterest and the studyblr community, I’ve been coming up a lot of DIY ideas and organization hacks.
I chose to use a 1.5″ 3D-ring binder notebook because I’m expecting a daunting amount of letter size ‘transes’. My friend M, who if I haven’t mentioned goes to med school ahead of me, uses a clipboard folder. I’ll also be using the free clipboard that came with our OrSem, I guess. I’ll keep you posted.
I got the polaroid-inspired design idea from Lauren from LaurDIY, who is my style and dream peg for the privileged DIY lifestyle (obvs, it would be a different matter entirely if I was in a budget DIY mood). These are all my fave Instagram or Facebook posts (I don’t actually have a polaroid camera), which I turned into these handy printouts using this tutorial by Dana Fox.
I also got the binder divider design idea from another one of LaurDIY’s videos!
Inside are these gorgeous printables:
I’ve had them on my bookmark/likes/reblog for years. I love them all. Please show them some love too!
– August Monthly List and Calendar by Ariadne
– Weekly Planner with Floral Print by Alice & Lois
– Monthly In&Out Spending Sheet by Boligraff
– Notes: Lined, Mid-ruled, Grid by MiraNotes: Lined, Mid-ruled, Grid by Mira
– The Pomodoro Technique by Nicole
– 100 Days of by EFM
I made a bunch of printables myself, as inspired by the ones above and others, but I’ll be posting about that some other time! Mostly I customized them to fit my needs more.
And the things inside my bag:
I have to make a separate post about my DIY watercolour palette (I’m not actually using the one above as God intended, since I do not recommend Li’l Hands Watercolor; I’m replacing the cakes with dried Shinhan Professional tubes), but that’s for another day. Hopefully.
My mom and bro were both incredulous of my ability to maintain this level of gorgeousness as the schoolyear goes on. I entirely understand. But a girl can dream of being neat forever, right?
So that’s the first leg of my med journey. Here’s to the future! Hopefully I’ll post something again within the semester. :)
Photo Credits: Picture of the ASMPH building from the Ateneo website, the group shot in Rizal from a groupmate, and the batch/group shots during the OrSem from Hiraya and upperclassmen, and the group shots in Tagaytay from groupmates, batchmates and also Doc Navs.
LAST NOTE: I NEED HUGS.