I’m Not in Kansas Anymore

Not in Kansas Anymore

It was frightening the first time round. I didn’t know anybody. Didn’t recognize my surroundings. My mom was hundreds of kilometers away, and even if something happened she couldn’t be there to help. Sure I’m old enough, but you always get that feeling of security when you know you’re not the one in charge of getting things done. I didn’t have that feeling anymore. Welcome to campus life my brother!

I got lost on the very first day and had to walk the streets of westlands for an hour and a few minutes on top looking for my hostel. Talk about baptism by fire! I spent close to twenty minutes looking for the lecture halls the following day. Didn’t know the halls were right under my nose and I’d been passing them all along. Enough said. You’ve realized how ‘fresh’ I’ve been for the past few days.

The first rule our class coordinator, a seasoned orthopedic surgeon,gave us was this: “The boss is always right”. Med school is not for the weak. Respect your seniors. If you can’t cope, you know where the door is. All these sentiments made me think I was in a hazing ritual. But one thing is very clear to me: I was not in Kansas anymore.

Never again will I know as much as I used to in class. It is time to be humble, to realize that only God can be the ultimate physician. Only God can understand the workings of the human body and mind perfectly and completely. We can only try to grasp *5-10 percent of who we are. Of how we work. Of how our systems collaborate and coordinate to make us function.
I’m in awe. The brain power in our class is phenomenal. The champion of each village and high school in the country who wanted to be a medic is present. This is no time to think of myself as a genius. I’ve come to realize more than ever before that med school is a journey you simply cannot take alone. You need other people to walk beside you. People who understand that you don’t keep in touch not because you don’t want to, but because you simply can’t multitask that much. People who are going through the same pleasurable torture that you’re going through.

It’s only been two weeks but I’ve already understood that in med school, it is better to have read and forgotten than to have never read at all. Doesn’t make sense, does it? It is only now that I have began to grasp the power that is in those words.

The road might be long. The bumps many. But even as we try to understand long words in a dead language, we know that at the end of the tunnel we will have earned the privilege of being able to serve. The privilege of alleviating pain and suffering. The privilege of being called ‘daktari’ 🙂

I’m not in Kansas anymore.

* Made up statistic 🙂