|Behind the scenes:
Student shares story
Chelsey Baldwin of Little River is a first-year medical student. This
is the first of a monthly column that will follow her journey through
all four years at MUSC as she trains to become a doctor.
At the beginning of each college semester, I always dreaded the routine
first day questions between the instructor and students, which always
seemed to include: “What interesting thing did you do this summer?” and
“Who here wants to go to medical school?”
than I care to remember, I was one of 20 students in our class of 30
who wanted to attend medical school and who incidentally never traveled
to Europe the previous summer, instead spending the months of June and
July shuffling rats around on the fourth floor of the Basic Science
Building. I can’t remember when I stopped raising my hand for the roll
call of medical school hopefuls, but I did. The reason wasn’t so much
that I was discouraged or losing sight of my dreams. It was that I was
tired of being a faceless drone in a mob of students for whom the odds
predict will never end up applying to medical school or who will be
faced with the disappointment of a rejection letter.
This “mob” of students was my peers, my friends and my competitors.
It’s an odd feeling to wish your friend well on an exam, while secretly
including the stipulation—as long as I do better. However, I feel as if
it’s only natural. Entrance into medical school was an objective that I
achieved not through the love of science, but through my dedication to
beat the odds. Surely this is not due to a lack of compassion for
others, nor a replacement for a desire to learn, but out of necessity.
I had watched my beloved sister face rejection two years in a row to
medical school before she was accepted. To see someone so deserving, so
genuine not rise out of the mob, has instilled a drive, a fear so
powerful that it’s hard to remember who I was without it.
Even upon acceptance to MUSC, the battle has been hard to relinquish.
Yet with my diploma in a paper tube in the closet and the summer heat
at my window, a much welcomed relaxation has come over me. This summer
prior to medical school has been a glorious, lazy lull that I have
spent basking in the rays of my social life, reading novels, and
waiting tables at the Boulevard Diner. This I regretfully bid goodbye
as the days leading up to orientation slip past me.
Goodbyes and last days become more frequent as the end of August draws
closer, and I’ve come to find that everyone has advice, and everyone
has a story. There has been a wide assortment of anecdotes ranging from
suggestions on how to conduct myself in school to stories about
people’s trips to the emergency room. It is amazing to witness the
emotion and memories that just my future plans to practice medicine
evokes in people. Each story, piece of advice and well wish has been
like a seal of approval on an accomplishment that I’ve strived to reach
for so long. It’s a very exciting time. It’s as if I am
approaching an enormous cusp in my life, one that I can only hope to
face with as much dedication, resilience, and grace as I can muster.
(third from left), joins in the reading of the medical student oath
during the White Coat Ceremony Aug. 21 at the Gaillard Municipal
Auditorium, attended by 163 students of the Class of 2014.
Orientation has been a whirlwind of introductions, pep talks, and
warnings about possible pitfalls. I think the sheer number of
classmates has been the most surprising to me. There are so many people
to meet that I fear I haven’t even come close to half despite my best
efforts. We are all so different: ages, marital statuses, backgrounds
and interests. However, as it has been pointed out to us at our White
Coat Ceremony, we do all have a common goal: to become the best
physicians we can. This commonality and the fact that we will go
through much of this upcoming journey together is bonding and
Friday, Aug. 27, 2010