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Student shares ups and downs of studying medicine

By Munirah Al-Fayez

KUWAIT: Zahraa Abdulrasoul’s childhood dream had always been to study medicine, since she loved learning about the human body and various disorders and diseases. Every time she had the chance to work on a school project, she would always try to link it to the human body. Abdulrasoul, a fourth-year medical student at Kuwait University, told Kuwait Times even though she felt prepared academically and is passionate about what she is studying, “medicine is not easy at all”. “It is very challenging.

You will get stressed to the point where you will reach a level where you will think that you cannot last anymore,” she said. This pressure is not only felt by a small group of people — it is felt by all students. From the amount of stress you are going through, Abdulrasoul said you feel like you are emotionally drained, but you do not have time to be emotionally drained. “You do not have time to treat yourself or give yourself a break, because you have a lot to study for, which makes it a cycle.

The problem is not with understanding the content; this is what any student would say, because most of us know how to understand these complex topics and how to study and memorize, but the problem is always with the amount of content we need to study,” Abdulrasoul explained. “It is not easy, but this is part of studying medicine, no matter who you are or where you are studying in the world,” she said, adding this is a sign of a good doctor — someone who has a lot of knowledge and can work under a lot of pressure.

“I would not say university is bad; however, there is a lot of room for improvement, and honestly, the university is trying its best. If I could change one thing, it would be that the professors would all use the same resource and specify it. If they want to use multiple resources, they can, but there needs to be one resource they all go back to,” Abdulrasoul said. She would also like to see a change in the exam structure — there should be either exams for modules or exams at the end the year, not both. This will help students be able to study in a more organized manner.

Abdulrasoul said having the emotional support of her family, friends, community and other students is what helps her ease the pressure and keep up with the workload, as well as motivating herself and managing her thoughts and perceptions. “People around you should know that it is going to be hard,” Abdulrasoul noted. She explained her routine helps her keep going, because it makes her study even when she is not motivated. So she stays disciplined, explaining she does not need to be motivated to study — she just needs to be disciplined.

Abdulrasoul added it is also very important for students to give themselves a break and learn how to divide their time wisely, which is something she is “still learning how to do”. Abdulrasoul, who stood 24th overall among Kuwaiti high school graduates in 2019, has some advice for students. “Do not go into it scared — there are many who graduate. However, do not go into it thinking it would be easy like high school, just because you were a top student in high school. Believe in yourself and believe that Allah will support you.

When you feel like you cannot handle it, remember Allah is with you and there are people around you who support you. Ask for help from other students who are older than you. Everyone helps everyone — you cannot go through it without asking for help. We all ask for help and we all support each other in this university,” she concluded.

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