Loads of examinations, multitude of pop-quizzes, bulk practical exams, tons of written and oral reports – this is what medicine life is all about. You wake up at 5am to fix yourself for your 7am class. You stay at school for more than 8 hours with meagre time to eat your lunch and snack. You come home late in the afternoon, tired and restless, with lots of reading assignments to finish. You sleep at the wee hours of the day but still need to wake up early for the next day. To add up with the burden is your eagerness to come home to your family and spend quality time with them but you just can’t due to the hectic schedule. Life is never easy and it will never be for those physicians in training. And I admire those who are rightfully battling for the realization of their dreams of becoming a doctor someday. And when I say rightfully, I mean fairly and just.
With the pressure encountered day by day, it is really hard not to resist the temptation of having and being in an easy way to survive, an easy yet an unjust, unreasonable, irrational way. I am talking about cheating, cheating in all forms. Cheating during quizzes exemplified by asking from your seatmate what the right answer is; cheating during practical exams typified by leakages among circle of friends; cheating during major examinations described as having “Kodigos” or even taking an examination for your absent friend, acting like a substitute or a proxy, or worse, exchanging test papers with your cheat mates! This is medicine school, what comprises the student population are majorities of licensed professionals, thinking individuals who already know what is morally right and what is morally wrong. Do they not know that cheating is wrong? And what amazes me most is how they manage to pull it off, cheating, like nothing happened, like it is a normal way of living, like it is a part of their daily routine.
We are all on the same ground. We fight, we fail, we stumble, we fall then we rise, we stand up and we continue. But how come you cannot play the way others play it fair. Is it just too hard for you to believe that there are no shortcuts to success? Cliché right? But there are really no shortcuts, it is either you take the long, bumpy, rightful road to reach the ultimate end or you choose to destroy your dignity by passing all the subjects with cheating as your easiest escape.
Cheating is a form of self-deception. It is a selfish way to pass. It is also a form of crab mentality – you allow yourself to get high scores, setting the grading standard at a higher level in turn leaving your comrades who got low scores behind, not having a chance to pass. I wonder why people resort to desperate ways like cheating when there are still other means to exhaust just to pass. No matter what their reasons are, cheating is and will always be cheating and it is morally wrong. People can change and it’s never too late for you to change what you have started. People can adapt well, use this skill in your journey toward your dreams.
Compare medicine life to a surfer’s life, the waves being the stressors or the challenges that we encounter every day. A surfer, in order to see the incoming waves, must change position, from lying prone to sitting, then sitting to standing. In medicine, we can foresee what will happen next and it is up to us to plan not to fail or to fail not to plan. A surfer needs to paddle over and through the waves. Like in anatomy and physiology, we have two responses, the flight, wherein you choose to escape and finish the easy way or the fight, wherein you choose to face your problem dignified. A surfer keeps his balance by using the turbulence of the waves, ironic right? Keeping the balance over the instability – this is medicine, you learn how to walk along shaky paths by not depending on other people. Medicine is like surfing, you use the nerve-wracking waves to become better, to drift you towards your dream.
The next time you try cheating, think of your classmates who are working their ass off just to be where they are now; think of all those who fail just because they resist the temptation; ruminate on the fact that there are honest people out there who survived medicine by not asking their classmates on what the answers are and most importantly bear in mind that sometimes the hardest things and the right things are the same things.