Year 2 Reflections…Challenges Make Us Stronger

This week was refreshing as we started the final block of the Fundamentals of Medicine: The Nervous System and Human Behavior. The previous block (Reproduction) was surprisingly one of the most challenging blocks for me due to the sensitive nature of some of the topics such as complications in pregnancy. It was difficult to listen to the lecture on miscarriage having personally experienced the trauma of a miscarriage 7 years ago. It felt like I was reliving the experience and I found myself thinking about my dear, sweet, unborn child that I never got to meet.

Moments like this plus settling my son into Grade 1, helping him with homework, occasionally managing on my own while my husband was away, plus the pressure of exams, made things seem overwhelming at times (there were definitely plenty of tears). But I continually remind myself how grateful I am to be in medical school and how much I enjoy it. And in those moments when I was really down, I thank God for his indescribable peace and grace that sustained me. I thank God for my wonderful husband, who despite experiencing his own stress and pressure at work, continues to support me and stand by me on this journey. I thank God for my family and friends who continue to pray for me and motivate me. Sometimes I feel as if I am a marathon runner who has supporters running alongside me shouting, “Keep going! Don’t give up! Keep your eye on the prize!”

One of my dearest cousins used to tell me that nothing worth having in life ever comes easily. This needn’t scare us about trying things and stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone! It is worth the effort, tears and sweat in the end!

I am truly excited to be learning about the human brain, nervous system and behavior over the next few weeks. This week in the anatomy lab, I had the rare privilege of holding a human brain in my hands. I hope this will not be too gruesome for some of you to read but I had to write this to express my sincere appreciation for the magnificence of the human body and for those people who donated themselves for our educational learning. To be holding the essence of this individual’s personality, memories, hopes and dreams in my hands made me reflect on how important each life is.

Featured Image by Potential Doctor: Sunset view of Montreal after a hike up Mont Royal 

 

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The Human Body

As I have been delving into various topics in Biology and Psychology while studying for the MCAT, I can’t help being reminded what an amazing thing the human body is. From intricate cells with numerous organelles each performing a specific function to the higher centers of the brain responsible for our memory and emotions to immune cells that fight off infection. I just cannot help marveling at how coordinated the functions of the body are. And it reminds me again and again of the magnificence of God’s creation. How can the lens of the eye adjust itself to focus on a distant object? How do the hair cells in our inner ear result in a signal that allows us to hear sound? How do the smells going into our nose interact with memory centers in the brain such that a simple smell can bring associated memories rushing back to us? (Remember how happy you feel when you smell something that reminds you of Grandma’s cooking or the milky scent of your baby’s clothing?) It is truly mind-boggling how complex and yet beautifully coordinated the body is.

The body is also such a powerful symbol of our society and our need for each other, just as the different parts of the body work together to create a functioning human being. The body and society do not always function as they should and there will often be differences of opinion but our lives are made more colorful by the unique people around us who continually teach us something new and help us to be better.