1. The superiority complex. Everyone who gets into medical college thinks they’ve achieved the unachievable. They’ve gone where no man has gone before — except, of course, the tens of thousands who have done so before them.
2. Continuously being told you’re “the cream”. Even those who realise that it’s not SUCH a big deal finally give in as the teachers brainwash them continuously with lines like: “You’re the cream of the nation.” Or “You beat ten (fifteen, twenty) thousand people to make it here.” Sure, it’s an achievement to get one of the 200 or so seats in your college, but don’t let it get to your head.
3. The toppers. Toppers everywhere are annoying but wait till you meet these people. They will manipulate you, use you, look down on you, lie to you — whatever gets them “the marks”. They will ask questions long after class is over, but before the teacher leaves so that you can’t leave… but will do so without using the microphone, so you can’t hear. And yes, they will always, always make you feel like an idiot.
4. The wannabes. They’ll act like they have no idea what’s being taught in college. They won’t take classes. They’ll pretend they don’t know the teachers. They’ll be present at every social event. And yet when the result comes out, they’ll be, drumroll please…right behind the toppers. Oh and brace yourself for the oh-so-astonished look when the result is announced.
5. The bullies. They come in all shapes and sizes…and genders. They can be quiet, loud, openly mean or ever-so-innocent. Do not fall for the cute smiley ones. They’re the ones who’ll stab you in the back.
6. The competition. So then how do you leave your competitors behind? Well, some seek the use of drugs — to help you stay up, sleep, relieve anxiety. Or you could fetch the post-grad books that require four people just to haul out. You know, the ones the rest of the class has no idea even exist. Or you could always hide a little something on your person during exams. Did you think doctors can’t cheat?
7. The teachers. They will spend half the lecture boasting about themselves, the prestigious profession, and how they sat on the same benches as students, pulling off the same pranks. And when they realise they’ve wasted half the time, they’ll try to cram the one-hour lecture into 30 minutes.
8. The teaching hospitals. My my, what lovely hospitals we have. To call the OPDs a fish market would be the understatement of the century. One thing I can’t deny is that our senses sure get sharpened. Our eyes have now been opened to shades of vomit unknown to man, not because we are being taught on the patient but because it happens to be lying on the floor. And we just stepped in it.
9. The status-conscious freaks. I always thought people left their status at home when coming to college. But there are people that will make friends based on status, Sit next to you based on status. Cheat from you based on status.
10. The stages. Every now and then (read 15-20 days) when the teachers get bored, they arrange a ‘small’ test which is conducted over 2-3 hours, depending on how annoyed they are at you, in an examination hall, under the supervision of examiners with proper question papers and booklets of answer sheets. Yup, you get the whole deal.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, October 2nd, 2011.