Reflecting on the impending start of medical school

It is only fitting that my first post on this blog comes at a time after midnight. If you want to know why I have named this blog “Medicine @ Midnight”, my late night posting habit is not one of the reasons (Read the About page). Instead this late night writing is part of a trend of time running away from me and my futile goal of fixing my sleep schedule before school starts.

There are now 8 days left until orientation begins which means that I am stuck with feelings of worry, excitement, and a desire to disappear under my blanket for a few weeks. I cannot believe that I am even at this point in my life. My whole academic journey – my whole life – has lead to this point and now I feel utterly lost. I want to know as much as I can before school about what to expect – but I am also overwhelmed with what I’ve already been told.

Our school system is different from normal this year (needless to say but – because of Ms. Rona). A few weeks of our term will be in-person while the others will be online. I was disappointed to hear that we would not be in-person every week but a part of me is also happy to spend more time with family and get my life sorted out in a more gradual way.

I was apprehensive about orientation week – what with the expected drinking and partying – so I am glad I am sanctioned out of those awkward social situations by default. That is one of my big worries as a Muslim entering medical school. I have heard that drinking culture is pretty big – and that alcohol is present even at professional settings. I do not fully feel comfortable in those settings – even if I myself am not drinking. On top of that I am of the few Muslim kids in my class so I am worried about the isolation. There are upper years though, who have promised to help me navigate my way. They have gone through the same struggles and can help impart some wisdom to a completely lost soul like me.

In unexpected news, I have an apartment! Housing was one of my biggest stressors in university, so the fact that this arrangement was settled quickly is amazing. I am resolved to learn my rights as a tenant at some point. My previous living situation was less than ideal so it is important I know my rights properly. Our changed semester layout though meaning that for most of the first term, I will be with my family. This extends this strange and comfortable time I have had during quarantine.

I have also actively decided not to pursue any applications in these past few weeks because I want to cherish the last few days of responsibility-reduced living that I have. I want to spend as much time with my family as possible and I want to do so stress-free. I have spent the last 6 years completely occupied with accumulating roles and responsibilities that could help me reach this point. Now that I am here, I want to breathe and gather my thoughts. If I spend these thoughts in the pursuit of more opportunities, I fear I will be burned out before I even begin. Besides, I have to write some scholarships to help make up some of the financial pressures that are already clouding my mind.

I am excited – I swear! As morose as I sound I am equally light-footed and giddy.

It’s just this giddy-ness is threaded with incoherent anxiety and awkwardness which does not make for thoughtful writing.

Here’s proof:

I am nervous about making friends and I am so nervous about meeting patients and how am I going to learn how to study? I got my first stethoscope a few days ago and I almost cried when I saw myself in the mirror for the first time. I think my dad did too. I have a pair of dress shoes now and I cannot wait to wear them and finally feel like a professional and not just a flailing student (although I will still be that). I want to become familiar with the upper year Muslim students quickly and I have so many questions to ask them. They are holding out on a full introduction until September to avoid overwhelming me but I want to know as much as I can now. I stopped myself from messaging someone a few days ago out of fear of seeming too eager but that is exactly what I am! Eager!


Are you starting medical school soon too? Where? – And more importantly… let’s be friends!

Until next time~

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