If there is one word to describe my experience so far as a first-year medical student it would be this: overwhelmed.
I began my first trimester at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine this past August. Now, I pause to look back at these past four months.
I knew going into medical school that it would be hard, so it comes as no surprise that it is just that- difficult in ways that stretch me to new limits. Simply the amount of material that I am expected to learn each week is overwhelming. As my friend, Rachel, who is in her third year explained to me, medical school is like trying to drink water from a fire hose without drowning. Then there is the stress of testing. I have never been a good test-taker. It certainly wasn’t my test scores that got me into medical school. How can I remember all this new material and answer 80 multiple choice questions in 2 hours? I struggled at first. In fact, I will have to remediate my first course. When I found out my test scores were a couple points below passing, I was so disappointed. So many worries went through my head. Was I going to fail medical school? Was I going to let down everyone who had believed in me and supported me up to this point? I was working so hard; if I wasn’t eating, sleeping, or running, I was studying. Sometimes I even studied while I ate. In undergrad, I had never really taken a lab practical, so it has been a challenge to learn how professors tag cadavers and what kinds of questions they ask. Since LUCOM is a new medical school, I have also been facing the extra challenge of having no upperclassmen to ask questions to. Through all this, I was not only struggling to do well academically but to find a balance in my life, especially with my relationships that I suddenly found myself with a lot less time to invest in.
BUT, this is not the end of the story. And the struggles are not why my medical school experience has been overwhelming. In fact, I have been overwhelmed by how GOOD God has been through it all. To begin with, I am overwhelmed that I even have this opportunity to study medicine and learn to care for the body, mind, and spirit. I am overwhelmed to be at Liberty University where the faculty truly believe in training us to be Christian physicians. My professors have blown me away by their dedication to our inaugural class of 160 students. They hold extra study sessions, pray before almost every class and lab, and are available outside of class. I have been particularly thankful for my adviser who has listened to me after many frustrating tests. He has reminded me multiple times that he and his wife pray for me on a regular basis. I am also amazed at my fellow classmates. There is no competition between us, but rather a desire to help one another. I have been blessed with wonderful roommates and friends to study and laugh and share with. They remind me that I am not alone in this. I joined a bible study of Godly women who support each other, pray for one another, and remind me to keep my eyes fixed on God. On top of all this, I found out that I received a full scholarship along with a monthly stipend through the National Health Service Corps. They will support me through the four year of medical school in exchange for four years of service in an underserved area after I complete residency. I couldn’t be more thrilled considering this is what I desire to do anyways. I feel called to serve in a rural area and hopefully as a missionary overseas one day. I have once again been overwhelmed by the support of my family, friends, and boyfriend. My mom, dad, and brother have believed in me and supported my dream to be a doctor since I was a little girl and they know more than anyone how much this means to me. My boyfriend, Mike, talks to me on the phone every day and has given up a lot of time to come visit me in Lynchburg. Whether I’m in a bad mood or excited to tell him good news, I know I can count on him to listen to me and support me. By the end of this past trimester, I was able to significantly improve my grades and figure out how I study best. I have found a sense of peace that I truly am where God wants me and that through Him I can fulfill my calling.
I am not sharing all of this to simply tell you how wonderful my life is, because after all medical school is still very challenging. I am sharing this because I am overwhelmed by God’s grace. I am so undeserving of His love. I haven’t done anything to earn it and yet He continues to give me His strength. He is using people in my life to wrap me in His love. He deserves the glory for all that is good and for all that I am learning. I am overwhelmed by the experiences that have led me to where I am now and for the opportunity to study medicine. As I look around, I am overwhelmed by the unique gifts that He has given each of us to serve Him. The God that we serve is beautiful, wonderful, glorious, and overwhelmingly full of grace.
“On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
And on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deed shall be proclaimed,
And I will declare your greatness.”
My musical inspiration and favorite song right now: Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6oxXwRWFTo