P = MD!

University of Victoria Medical Sciences BuildingP = MD is the motto of the Island Medical Program here in Victoria (PASS = MEDICAL DEGREE), and it is a beautiful one at that. P = MD is the grading method  adopted by all medical schools across Canada.

In medical school, students do not receive grades but rather the letter “P” to indicate that they passed their exam or midterm. It’s such a contrast to the cutthroat nature of getting into medical school. Medical school has a huge emphasis on cooperative and team learning and eliminates any motive to be competitive, but once again it is not the same in the science undergrad program.

This is just one of the interesting facts I learned at the UVic Medical Club’s sixth meeting this past week. The club is run by current UBC medical students who are studying here on the island.

Most of the medical students are in fact UVic graduates. This to me is amazing, as these students are spending their entire graduate and post-graduate terms at UVic while still studying medicine–so they ultimately get all the benefits of Victoria.

The club itself provides great personal information, not just about medicine from medical students. It also provides an understanding of the dedication needed to pursue any graduate degree. Over the past couple of meetings issues like how to build yourself up for your application, appropriate electives and extracurricular activities were discussed.

Med School chalkboardIt’s clubs like these that give you a sense of “do you really want to do this?”. They ask the hard questions–do you have a passion for this, do you love the practice, and are you willing to sacrifice time and energy so you are able to devote yourself to it?

Many forget that these are important thoughts to think about and consider before devoting their entire life to a program. The last meeting looked at “What is it really like to be a Medical Student?”, and once again it was a very insightful gathering organized by the medical students.

The club is run by Ryan Heron, a former UVic undergraduate student who opted to leave his program once he was accepted into UBC’s medical school. Ryan is currently a second-year medical student and an overall great guy. I would like to stress how humble and down to earth all the medical students I met are. They are definitely the type of people you want to be treating the sick.

The meeting dissected and debunked myths about the lifestyle in medical school. Ultimately what I took away was a new and renewed appreciation for the field I want to pursue and that even with a heavy work load, a balanced lifestyle can exist for anyone.

This meeting made me aware of a transition most will probably not think about when they do receive an acceptance letter to medical school or any graduate program, because they are so fixated with the fact that they made it. But it is a transition to complete discipline and 100% efficiency.

Medical school is almost completely self guided, and the amount of material that needs to be absorbed over 4 short years is ridiculous. It reminded me that I need to learn how to schedule effectively while doing my undergrad degree.

Many will also say that it is a question of motivation as well, but I think those who wait for motivation or inspiration are foolish. If you are disciplined enough and are able to be consistent, that can beat intensity (a million internet points for anyone who knows who I am referencing). This is something I need to improve personally, as I am sure many others need to as well when moving into a harder and more demanding program.

The UVic Medical Club is greatly under-appreciated here at the university. It is a noteworthy club filled and led by aspiring minds that I think anyone in pursuit of a graduate program should check out. Here is a link to their website, which is full of great advice and is a resource for volunteer and job opportunities around Victoria, as well as for electives, the MCAT, and mock interviews! Also like them up on Facebook for updates on the next meeting! Before you go check out these cool videos by the UBC Medical Students here, and here!

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