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The Survival Guide - Welcome to Medicine (A Dose of Reality)

Ammar Anwar
3rd Year MBBS 

Hello, all you nervous and excited souls waiting for the start of your medical career at KEMU, and a warm welcome to one of the best medical institutes in the country. Ah, to be a freshman and in love with KEMU! I miss that feeling now, after spending two years here. Enjoy while it lasts, because (surprise!) MBBS is going to suck the joy out of your life and the life out of you. If you would like to remain in a hopeful and chirpy mood and disregrard all those "rumors" that lurk around saying how difficult MBBS is and how difficult survival at KEMU is, you should stop reading right about now. But if you are curious to know the realities of being a medical student at KEMU, keep reading, but at your own risk (because I can already hear fragile dreams shattering everywhere). I'm kidding (not really though). Just keep reading, will you? 

Here are some of the things that you are going to experience and some of the things you should learn to accept and make a part of your life.

1. Forget Your Past

Yes, actually forget your past. Forget that you got 1030 or 1040 in MCAT and 1020 in FSc because none of it matters now. It was all just for getting into MBBS, it was never meant to follow you to your grave. Just forget that you have been a topper all your life, because in KEMU, you're again at the bottom of the foodchain with all the others in your batch. I tried to bring up the fact that I had 1020 in FSc at a lot of points in 1st Year, but it didn't help me. It isn't going to help you either so just forget all about your past.

2. Accept Mediocrity

This is the point where you feel like you just clicked on the worst blog ever because not only does it tell you to forget about your past but also tries to suck all hope out of you by telling you to accept mediocrity. I forgive you for thinking that. 

Coming to KEMU is like entering the Hunger Games, the only difference being that in Hunger Games some contestants didn't know shit about fighting but at KEMU everyone is just as skilled as you are. And there is not one President Snow here. There are a lot. Trust me now, because you WILL experience it yourselves.

"Creme de la Creme" is a term often used to describe KEMColians. It translates to "Creme of the creme" meaning that KEMColians are actually the creme of the nation, which stands true but only till the first day of MBBS. This "Creme" turns sour by the time you have your first class test and realize that everyone here is just a more skilled and more laiq version of you and your fragile illusion that you're the big gun is shattered to pieces. So before that happens and you curse yourself, just listen to my advice:  Accept Mediocrity.

3. Hostel Life

KEMU Hostels are pretty okay. Rooms are spacious and you have a 24-Hour canteen and a mess that is literally a mess at times but sometimes manages to make good, edible food. And there is not just one mess, there's 4 of them. So that's a bunch. But being the party pooper that I am, I cannot let you engage in any illusions about the hostel. The washrooms are dirty. Even the bathrooms, not just the toilets. The sinks are too, and I swear if I call some botanist even he won't be able to identify the plants and all kinds of horrible stuff that grows under the sinks. Food is the last thing you'd wish to see in a washroom, but all thanks to our great room servants, you will see the mess food in a dirty fungus ridden mess under the sinks. So if you ever go to wash your face in the morning and see last evening's biryani under the sink, don't think of it as a hallucination or a bad dream, that shit is really happening.

4. Bad Eating Habits

Along with a mediocre mess, you are going to get accustomed to bad eating habits. And by bad I mean really, really bad. Mess timings are 1PM for lunch and 7PM for dinner and these timings really screw up your internal eating clock, if there is such a thing, that is. You will be hungry at odd times and if you rely solely on the mess for filling your pait up, you will find yourself starving if you don't order something to eat. But don't worry, I'll be writing about food in my next blog so you have one less thing to worry about when you come to KEMU.

5. No Chai

This one is the worst. For a person like me, whose daily intake of tea exceeds 4-5 cups, coming to the hostel was a nightmare. I did bring my electric kettle with me and had the teabag aur everyday wali chai but pretty soon I started to realize that it was too watery and I needed an alternative for it, fast. And then I got the Westpoint Hotplate with a sauce pan, a frying pan and some other things. And life was immensely easier. I could enjoy my own cup of doodh patti or chai whenever I wanted to. I'll be writing about this more in the food blog so worry not.

6. Drama

Yes, wait till you settle in, and make your group of friends. And then if you occassionally hear the star plus music and weird camera zooms and pans in real life, don't be surprised. That is just the regular drama that comes with the package of a group of friends. There will be fights, dostis will be made and broken in the first year and by the time you become sophomores, you will pretty much get used to the daily drama that follows you everywhere you go. But as I stated previously, you will get used to it sooner than later. 

7. Depression

MBBS and Depression go hand in hand. There isn't a moment you'll spend at the hostel when you're not depressed. Even when you are happy, you'll just be thinking that you're happy. Happiness is just an illusion. Okay, that's probably exaggeration, but really though, there is a constant feeling of dread and depression that follows you wherever you go. When you're in the hostel, this feeling gets stronger. Yes, there was depression before MBBS, in the Post-FSc period, but this is a whole other kind, the kind that becomes a part of your life. So try to battle it all you want, but it will remain there. At least that is what happens to me and many others. But the reality remains as is, depression is a bitch and MBBS has loads of it.

8. Sleepless Nights

AKA "All Nighters" AKA "My tayyari isn't good so I have to stay awake till I fall asleep during the exam in the morning". Before coming to KEMU, I had had a few sleepless nights. Sure, I used to stay awake till 3 or 4 in FSc but at least I used to get 1-2 hours of sleep before college. But now, sleep is just a concept for the weak. If you want to perform well, especially if you haven't studied a word previously and kept all the syllabus for the last night, an all-nighter is the only way to save yourself. You can have all the tea and coffee in the world but I can assure you, you WILL make a lot of plans for the night and then you WILL, and most DEFINITELY WILL fall asleep to screw up everything. And then end up sleeping for 2 to 3 hours and wake up an hour before the prof exam to find that there are still a loooot of units to cover. And there's only an hour. *sigh* The pain and struggles of being a mediocre medical student.

But in the end, you will always make it. Even when you feel like you're going to fail the test, you're going to pass it if you try your best and you will always get through everything in the end. Just pray and give it your best shot. 

And once again, Welcome to KEMU! If this blog has been a total downer, you should be happy about the fact that you've made it to the place where millions dream of coming. And no matter how hard it seems or how tough it looks, it is going to be okay. Never stop believing in yourself, not even when an awful blog tries to suck all hope out of you. Lol. Best of luck for your journey and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Liked it? Read more by Ammar Anwar:

       Read the 12 awful things that need to stop happening right now.

      The first stage experience of a firstula.

The Survival Guide: Food
      The First in the series of Firstula Survival Kit, all the essentials needed to survive at KEMU.

The Survival Guide: Ragging
      The Second in the series of Firstula Survival Kit, all the essentials needed to survive at KEMU.

      The First in the series of Comprehensive Study Guides for 1st Year MBBS - Answering all the questions firstulas ask about which books to buy and where to study from.

     The Second in the series of Comprehensive Study Guides for 1st Year MBBS - Answering all the questions firstulas ask about which books to buy and where to study from.

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