Since my first semester at Whitman, I have taken the medical school prerequisite classes alongside many other students imagining their futures as physicians. This being said, for a long while I was not certain if 1) being accepted to medical school was possible for me and 2) if it was even the path that I wanted to take. As such, I would think to myself that I was just leaving medical school as an open option. This philosophy actually helped me cope with the stress of the rigorous coursework immensely. A boring subject or a bad grade didn’t bother me as much as it would bother others since I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to be a doctor in the first place. In my mind, if I didn’t enjoy or excel in the coursework, it would just mean that medical school wasn’t for me. As it so happens, this way of thinking eliminated a large amount of my premedical stress and allowed me to continue taking the difficult classes each semester without completely burning out. Although my transcript is far from perfect, I’ve made it through the majority of the prerequisites in one piece. There’s a decent chance I would be accepted to a medical school if I filled out the applications. Consequently, I can no longer appease my brain by thinking that I am leaving medical school as an open option. It is time to decide whether I want to apply or not, and the stress of this decision is very different from the stress of organic chemistry.
There are many reasons why enrolling in a medical school is scary, but there is one that really stands out to me. Throughout college, I have learned to thrive by investing myself in very diverse academic and extracurricular interests; this is one of the signature characteristics of my Dwayne persona. For example, I’m double majoring in biology and film and media studies. I am not the most promising student in either discipline, but there is no one else studying both of these things. The uniqueness of my interests gives me a powerful sense of fulfillment. Although I’m not certain what I want to do following graduation, I know that I want to try out different things and keep my experiences as diverse as possible. I am very afraid that going to medical school will force me to eschew my other interests and solely focus on medicine. Medical school and the life of a doctor take up immense amounts of time. Moreover, as soon as you enroll in medical school you are nearly 100,000 dollars in debt. It seems that there is almost no going back if you decide then that you don’t want to be a doctor.
My hope is that my time in Denmark will allow me to begin to unravel, if not answer, this difficult question. My core course at DIS is Medical Practice and Policy, and it’s one of the only off campus studies programs offered that is related to medicine. So far, I find all of the info very interesting since pathophysiology isn’t really taught in Whitman’s introductory biology classes. For example, I’ve heard about meningitis many times, but I never had any idea about what it actually is before taking this class. I’ve also gained a better insight into the obstacles that medical students face. We visited the macro anatomical lab at the University of Copenhagen, and I learned that the students had only 7 weeks to learn nearly the entire human anatomy (over 3500 scientific terms).
I’ve also selectively chosen my elective classes according to my non-medicine academic interests. Biology of Marine Mammals = Organismal Ecology/Conservation, Psychology of Endings = Old Age/Death, and European Documentary Film = Documentary Filmmaking. I’m also interning as a student videographer in the DIS marketing department to see what it is like to film with an organization. So far, I can safely say that I really am interested in all of these topics. As the semester continues, I will try my best to gauge how I really feel about everything that I do. My observations will certainly not stop me from enjoying and appreciating all of my different activities.
This concludes the second installment of a Fresh Dwayne in Denmark, and I just realized I still haven’t talked about Dwayne at all. I guess I’ll just have to introduce him in the next post.