My hometown | 2001 | Preparing for my first surgery
Mom: What are you doing?
Me: Practicing standing still.
Mom: Stop fooling around, we have to get ready!
It’s so hard to keep the neck still if they don’t make me fall asleep. What if I swallow and they cut something else?
Bucharest | 2003 | The second one
In the operating room, my hands were tied up on the table and all of these covered faces were looking at me. The hole in the surgical field was bigger than my neck and it allowed me to see something red reflected in the metallic part of the spotlight. It must be blood, I thought.
Doctor: What do you wanna be when you grow up?
An old guy like a teddy bear with beautiful blue eyes was my surgeon.
Me: I don’t know…
Why do all the grown-ups ask this? What did he answer when he was little?
Me: A… doctor!?
And I heard a muffled laugh under his mask.
Doctor: No… it’s very hard and it takes too many years.
And I saw the girl standing behind my head just…
Me: Ouch, the scissors!
Doctor: Sorry, she wanted to cut something here and pinched your chin a little. Don’t worry, you’re almost done!
But the girl, with her covered face, had the same big blue eyes…
Me: Are you related?
Me: Your eyes, are the same… and I never saw blue eyes like this.
Doctor: Well… this kid can observe! I could hear a proud smile. Yes, she is my daughter, she is a resident.
Me: Well, then why did you let her?
Doctor: Let her what?
Me: Be a doctor, like you. You said it’s hard.
Doctor: Well, kiddo, if you love it, it’s also wonderful!
I fell in love with Psychology and personal development. So, I went to the Olympics.
Teacher: Do you think compromise is good?
Teacher: Wrong answer!
And then he would leave, with no explanations. Other times he would give me the same test twice in a row or, as I remember laughing:
Teacher: This is wrong. Read the book again!
He looked a few seconds at my paper and said this, just after I gave it to him. How would he know?! These are 100 questions!
Me: Sorry, but how wrong?
Teacher: All correct answers were A and I don’t see enough of them here. Study more, Cristina, and I’ll see you at your next test!
After this one, my focus was on Economy and Informatics, until one day:
Classmates: Wow! It’s so hard to study all this!
After our regular Biology class, the teacher stayed a few hours extra, to teach the ones who wanted to go to the Olympics and get into Med school. All my classmates rushed away but… how hard could it be? So I started learning with them just to find the answer.
I could do Management, P.R. & Marketing, yes, this could work! At least I have options if I don’t…
Mom: You’re in!
Me: What? I got in?!?!
Me: But are you sure?
Mom: Yes, the list it’s online, go check it! Honey, I’m so happy for you!
And all my family started calling and when I heard them I realized what just happened and started feeling this emotion… I was in!
1st year | Med School
Anatomy, first exam
At least I tried, I didn’t go out, I just stayed home and studied, at least I did all I could… you can’t ask for more… if I fail it’s OK, it means it’s not for me or that I should try again… Cristina, just relax, stop thinking!
Why are they so anxious, moving around, learning before the exam? It’s all done now, they can’t change it in the last moment. These are students who studied Biology in high school like I studied Math and Info. I admire them, but will I ever be as sure as they are? Will I be able to learn and understand as they do…?
What was the point of drawing the muscles, bones and nerves so artistic?! I should have done some quick sketches, I would have had more time to repeat everything…
She called me in. I felt my mouth dry and I went inside. Came out with a 9.
However, this year I did fail exams, had to take them again and it was never the end of the world, just the end of being afraid. We were all trying to do our best. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you try again, that’s life!
2nd year | Med School
Me: Do you know how a cell looks like?
3rd graders: How?
Me: Like this! And we broke the egg.
3th graders: Wow!!!
They gently touched the egg with one finger, as if they had never seen one before! This was the way I started my journey into volunteering, teaching 3th graders about the human body and first aid.
3rd year | Med school
Professor in Psychiatry: I agree, how would you like to name it?
I froze, I never thought about this, I never imagined she would say yes… What will I say? I don’t know… and the awkward silence was ticking!!!
Me: I don’t really know… could you help me choose a name?
This is how I made the courage to approach a Professor in Psychiatry to ask her to collaborate with students and establish a scientific reunion regarding Psychology and Medicine. I learned that vulnerability is a strength, this is how you can show who you are and meet your tribe.
Dad: Why would you clean tables in a foreign country?
Mom: What if something happens to you there?!?
Dad: You will be a doctor, stay home and learn at the hospital! I don’t understand, how much pocket money do you think you can raise? I’ll give you the money!
Me: Dad, I want to go for the experience, not for the money and… I don’t mind cleaning tables!
Anyway, I didn’t go… I was too scared and not ready for a real job on another continent…
4th year | Med School
Wooow, this is so beautiful, they are so beautiful! As if I never saw them like this. My colleagues were wearing fancy clothes, we had live music and we were welcomed with champagne. I guess this is what people imagine about doctors! I laughed. Well, in this moment, it was true!
I had 2 posters at an international congress… not bad, not bad at all, Cris! Cheers!
Me: I want to talk about research!
XYZ: Nobody will talk about it so openly, you have to…
5th year | ERASMUS study scholarship | SPAIN
ERASMUS scholarship interview
Professor: Where would you like to study?
Oviedo, Madrid, Cordoba, Zaragoza, Oviedo, Madrid, Cordoba, Cordoba.. Just say it!
Me: Oviedo, I would really like to go to Oviedo!
Oh my God! What did I just do? I will go to Oviedo! I will go… I will live one year in Spain! Yeeeey!! A whole new post is coming soon!
6th year | Med school
Pause. Paused, my life is being paused- another year because of my ERASMUS. It’s so weird when we feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy I had the Erasmus, sad I lost my generation. This is a chance for me to invest in myself, in the experiences Med life kidnapped and other students enjoy.
Me: I will go to U.S.!
Mom: What do you mean?
Me: The program I told you once, you know? I will go there with a summer job, as a hostess!
Dad: Cristina, you have one more year, it’s time to study, to finish school, why would you do this?
Mom: Go on dates, make a boyfriend, enjoy your free year!
Me: Mom, I already paid the program, it’s on! This is my last summer and I already missed it once, I don’t want to regret not having this experience!
This deserves another post too, for sure!
Me: But I want only one book, I imagine students having it in their backpack! I want one for all of the languages!
XYZ Publishing House: Yes, I understand, but we could make 5, for each language and you will sell 5 books!
Me: But you don’t understand… I want all in one, I have never read a book made in the way I think about it!
In the end, I didn’t divide it in 5 books, instead, with a crowdfunding campaign I raised the money to publish my book as I wanted it to be!
7th year | Med School
Why was I afraid? Why didn’t I start this sooner? Now I am running out of time and I have to do as much as I can. The story went on with 8 Youth Exchanges, traveling in 15 countries. And that’s a tricky story- more about it in Unsteady!
Grandma: Are you a doctor now?
Me: Well, I took all my exams, but now I have the exam to obtain my license to practice Medicine. This is why I have to study now.
Grandma: Dear, why do you have an exam after school, did you fail it?
Me: No grandma, this is how it’s done in Med school! Don’t worry, I didn’t fail anything, love you!
Grandma: Ok, good luck then!
As I traveled more and got my M.D. title, the idea of starting a blog haunted me, even since I published my book. I didn’t feel I was a real writer. My book it’s a method of learning, it’s not a novel. I want to try writing things that make us feel emotions. But what should I write about?
Me: Mom, dad! I launched my blog!
Dad: What? You’re supposed to study! Cristina, your exam for starting the specialty training is coming in a month but… tell me what’s about and why did you do it?
Me: I know I want to write more and put my ideas online, get a feedback! Well, in case someone reads it…
Mom: But, now?!?
Dad: Didn’t you do enough extra stuff?
Mom: You need to concentrate on your exam!
Me: Yes, I will, I launched it already, I’ll post more after the exam, please take a look!
Dad: Ok. It’s a website with some of the good pictures you have but, what’s the purpose?
Me: I don’t know yet, it’s like a playground, like my piece of paper to draw on it. Never mind, I’m very happy about it!
Mom: Ok, I’m glad you’re happy!
Dad: Please go study for the exam!
Me: Ok, bye!
Gynecology, Oncology, Psychiatry… what’s mine?
Grandma: Cristina, how are you, hun?
Me: Good, grandma, studying!
Grandma: Aren’t you a doctor already?
Me: Yes, but you know, this exam is for starting my training as a specialist.
Grandma: I don’t understand, exams after graduation… Good luck then but, I forgot to ask you, what doctor are you, dear? For the heart?
Me: No, grandma, we’ll find out soon!
Books after books, sleepless nights, projects, too many exams, pubs, dances, friends for a life time, many skills, colorful people, places, ERASMUS, travels, my book, a blog, experiences, server in U.S., languages, fears and wishes… the student life is over!
What did I just do?!?
My experience has been like this post, a chaotic struggle with ups and downs that comes into my mind in flashbacks. Medicine tests your limits and transforms you. I am happy with my journey and the great friends I made. I would do it all again. The funny thing is I have never played as being a doctor when I was little…