A Letter from Pre-Clerkship Me
May 30, 2016 (or anytime in the future after July 30, 2015)
Assalamu Alaykum wa rahmatullah!
Hey dude, it’s me, your pre-clinical clerkship self a.k.a. the self that you had (hopefully will still have) before you started your death-defying ordeal called “Clerkship”. I know this is crazy, but hey, since when did we ever consider things “not crazy” huh?
Perhaps, right now you’re about to begin your most challenging year in Med School. And the anxiety is killing you already—you don’t know what to expect, you feel like you know nothing at all! Don’t worry, that is exactly what you are supposed to feel. Just give it a a few days and you will get used to the feeling, the pressure and slowly you will find yourself adapting to the new environment you have.
Or maybe you are already in the middle of your clerkship year: Now far more confident that you were the past years. Getting your way with all those days that you feel worthless and useless at all. Maybe you are already on your way to another 36-hour duty, another long day huh? Or maybe you are having another endless night working on paperworks and case reports for your presentations the next day—how many times did I tell you not to cram!? Or maybe you are just sitting on a corner in one of the halls of the ER trying to steal some naps, or maybe just sleeping lifelessly in your bed at the callroom after duty. Or maybe you are on your rounds checking your patients. Or God knows, you are being grilled by your consultants about your morbidities right at this very moment! (Good luck bro! Buy a whole pizza for yourself later, okay?) Wherever you are right now, I just want you to read this once in a while. I hope you do my friend, I hope you do.
Anyway, I am here writing this letter perhaps to remind you—yes, the me in the future—about who you are before clerkship. Hoping that you wouldn’t change after all those things that you have been into. Hoping as well that I could shake some senses into you when you suddenly changed and became a monster without you noticing it. So please remind yourself always and never forget these things I am about to tell you.
1. Bismillah. Begin everything with Bismillah: In the glorified name of Allah. He is the beginning of all good things, and He will surely make things far easier and better if you remind yourself why you are doing all this horrible things to yourself: To please Him, to Worship Him alone.
2. Never, ever forget to pray. This is your source of inner peace. This is your direct “landline” to Him. This is your only rope to keep you holding on when things become too out of control. In good times and in bad, never forget to pray.
3. Read the Qur’an. I now you will be too busy to even look at your phone leave alone your books in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Still, find time to read at least a verse or two of the Qur’an or a hadith. This will remind you of your purpose in life. You already know that right? Indeed, you are so blessed to be a Muslim, share that blessing as well.
4. Read. Read. Read. Do not ever lose that sense of curiosity to know more. Keep that responsibility of being knowledgeable about the conditions your patients have. What is worse than a doctor who doesn’t know what his patient’s condition is? Of course you cannot know everything, but at least do take some extra effort to learn on your own. After all, this is one of your greatest responsibility to your patients as well. You owe them at least that.
5. Do remember where you came from and who you really are. You are Ahmad, a son of a teacher, coming from a family with humble beginnings. You started as someone down below. Keep your dreams high without raising your voice to others. Keep yourself on the ground, be humble, for you are nothing but a piece of dust. And dust you shall become one day as well.
6. Remember, always remember your family. Your dear mother who sacrificed everything and suffered all her life for you. Remember her smiles, her warm embrace. Remember to keep her proud by doing your best here. Call her once in a while. Tell her how much you love her. Tell her you miss her, talk with her about anything. I know your time is now limited considering your schedules in between rounds and duties. But please, try to squeeze in a few minutes for her.
Also Remember your late father, the few remaining memories you have of him and the dream that you will see him once again someday in Jannah, ameen. Remember you dear sisters who aer supporting you right now. Remember you siblings and your relatives who have high hopes for you. Remember, you are the FIRST Doctor in the clan if ever. Do not ever fail them.
7. Treat everyone with respect and kindness, especially your patients. You may be too exhausted with everything and your body is yearning to get a few minute of rest. You are on your verge of breaking down, and then your patient failed to do you expected him or her to do. No, DO NTO BE ANGRY. Breathe in, slowly count to five, and then explain everything again to your patient. Make him understand how important these things are for him to be treated. Be kind, always keep yourself on their shoes before doing anything unnecessary.
8. You are human. You are not perfect. You can commit mistakes once in a while. Just don’t make it much a habit to do so. If you fall down, remember that these are just part of your training, not just in the hospitals to become a better physician, but in life as a whole—to become a better individual. Learn from those mistakes and commit in improving yourself to avoid making those mistakes again.
9. In everything that you do, just do your best—that’s how Islam taught us right? Do your best—and put your trust to Allah alone. Remember He knows best what is good for you.
10. Work with your team with greater dedication and responsibility as well. Make the most of what you have to keep the team working. Do not hesitate to volunteer and help out. Remember that you may be different people altogether but you are all in this together. You either work as one or you all fall as one as well.
11. Do strive to accomplish your tasks way ahead of time. Yes, I am reminding you again about this! Do not ever wait for the deadlines to come for you to work on your required tasks. Remember how to prioritize things and do what is necessary. You have done this before, surely you can do it again, right?
12. Don’t waste your time on worthless things. Manage your time wisely. Time is such an irreplaceable things that is borrowed to us. And whatever you do with every second of it will be recorded forever. And they will never ever come back. This is the only life you got, yes you only live once and you die only once as well. Make the most of it with greater purpose.
13. Treat yourself once in a while. Surely you deserve something that will make you happy somehow. Go watch a movie with friends, enjoy a long trek, or go buy a cone of ice cream. Don’t be too hard on yourself but don’t be too lax as well. Just strike a balance with everything that you do.
14. Believe in yourself. Yes, believe than you can always do better than yourself. Stop those pessimistic thoughts you always have about yourself. You are here for a reason, and because you can do better as well.
15. Remember why you are here in the first place. Remember all the people behind you that pushed you up here. Remember the people of Sulu whom you still owe a lot. They need you back here in Sulu. You have to prepare yourself to be of better service to them. Keep them in your heart, they are your inspiration; your shield and your weapon when this war goes from bad to worst.
16. Of course, with all these things in mind, do not forget about your health as well. You have a responsibility as well with that body of yours to take care of it while you are still alive. Follow the advices that you doctors give to your patients. Live a healthy lifestyle because that is the best way for you to do better things in life.
Yeah, yeah, I know this is going too long already. SO I will stop here. I will send this letter again to you after a month, then after 6 months then after a year just to remind you of these things once in a while. Hope you won't get to used to reading this and just ignore it. haha.
Ahmad ibn Hajiri