Friday, April 08, 2005

the chosen few

NOTE: the following post was my comm 3 speech. i recently found out from my classmate JM that it has been published in at first i was baffled why it was there when i haven't submitted it to anyone, except broadcast it out loud during my speech in class. i remembered later on that i submitted it to the said site to gain access to their other papers for some other reason which i totally forgot.

SOME OTHER NOTE: it's totally an informal speech, that's why you'll be seeing some hehehe's and a lot of !!!... :p

Forty students brought together not by chance nor by fate but by their brains. These forty students come from different regions of the Philippines but they are similar in one thing: they are willing to embark upon the long and arduous journey through medicine, choosing the path not for the cowardly and faint-hearted. They choose INTARMED.

INTARMED is an acronym for Integrated Liberal Arts Medicine, a seven-year medical course at the University of the Philippines. What sets the INTARMED class from other freshman classes is that they are comprised of the top 100 students who took the UPCAT. And because the INTARMED class is special, they are often misunderstood. I am here in front of you to relate the sentiments of one INTARMED student, ME.

I always wanted to be an INTARMED student. Back in high school, when it was the time of the year when UPCAT results were posted, I remember that I admired those who qualified for the INTARMED program. I told myself “I have to be INTARMED”. And so, when it was time for me to take the UPCAT, I gave my best shot in the exam and crossed my fingers that all my efforts would be enough to clinch me a spot in the INTARMED program. Fortunately, all my efforts paid off and I was delighted to find out that indeed, I got myself a spot in the program. But of course, it would not be THAT easy. I still have to pass a second screening, which is an interview. During the course of the interview, that was the exact moment when doubts about joining the INTARMED program started bothering me. The interviewers’ questions were quite unsettling, actually. They were asking me if ever I got in a state of depression, got much problems back in high school, and all that serious hullabaloo. I told myself then, “whoa, is this what it is suppose to be like in Med? Am I going to be depressed?” Hmmm… I was just about to find out. Weeks later, I got a notice that I passed the interview. Am I ready to be an INTARMED student? Do I have what it takes?

Before classes started, I began asking around my high school acquaintances what it was like to be an INTARMED student. Based from their stories, I quickly concluded that INTARMED student is synonymous to NERD. Who wouldn’t be a nerd if you fast track and compound 4 years of pre-med subjects in just two years? Even more so is the fact that these subjects are not at all easy. Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Zoology… and all other subjects that make my head hurt just by imagining them. But the INTARMED class, being special, still manages to ALWAYS get high grades in their exams. That was what my acquaintances told me. Eeeewww! Nerds. Again I was doubtful of my capabilities… Am I cut for this? Am I willing to subject myself to seven years of pure academic torture? Another thing that bothered me was that I might be “alone” in our class. Sure, I have schoolmates who got accepted in the program too, but we weren’t that close back then. So you see, I was every bit dubious about entering college, add to that the fact that I will be with the INTARMED class…

The first day of classes I remember was a haze, trying to remember everyone’s names, smiling here, making small talk there. I thought to myself that we, my classmates and I, are going to be stuck for seven or more years, I might as well befriend them. The first few days were generally easy, no academic requirements yet. So far so good. But everything good has to come to an end because it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. First, there was the very long reading assignment in History II. And when I mean long, I mean a hundred pages or more long! Then assignments in Comm were added, reports in Philo were due, problem sets were to be passed, departmental exams on the other day… Before we know it, we were already swamped with work! But the funny thing is, I realized that I enjoyed doing those stuff. Not in the academic sense but because all the academic requirements had indirectly brought us all together, especially Block 16. Of course, after all the toxicity, we, normal human beings need to detoxify right? So what do INTARMED people do? Contrary to popular belief, INTARMED students have social lives. We watch movies. Sometimes twice in a week, or even thrice! Some would even go to Malate to dance all their worries and depressions away. Also, during breaks in between subjects, we don’t usually review for the next subject, unless it’s Chem. What we normally do is play. Children’s games, nonsense games, and pusoy dos (which I just learned how to play) or whatever other card game. My point is, yes, we do study, but not ALWAYS! Another misconception about us is that we always get high grades in every exam. That’s why other students from other courses are afraid to be our classmates. Thank God it didn’t happen to this class. Anyway, we don’t just breeze through every subject and pass it with flying colors. Just like every other student, we have our down times… especially in Math, Chem, and even Comm. In fact, I think I failed in several quizzes in Chem.

Choosing the INTARMED way of life is not easy, it is really seven years of pure academic torture. I might go nuts just thinking about it. What I do is just think about the pros of being an INTARMED student. In every way, I am challenged to give my best in every endeavor I take, because to whom much is given, much is expected. Another plus of being an INTARMED student is that when I get to graduate, I’d still be young. I can still get married!!! Hehehe! Most of all, the best thing in being an INTARMED student is that I gained a support group, my newfound friends who would encourage me all throughout the difficulties of med school.

Being an INTARMED student is a great privilege. However, with great privilege comes greater responsibility. In the process of being responsible and concerned about our studies, the INTARMED students as a class has bonded and created friendships that would last a lifetime.

The INTARMED class is often misjudged and misunderstood. In light of what I just related, I hope that other students will change their perception of us as dorks and “not humans”. We are just like everyone else in college, struggling--and yes we do struggle--in order to achieve that nearby goal.

**yeah, this is some kind of an intarmed-ender too. for the 2 well spent imed years that were exhilirating and at the same time tiring with little bits of spices in between. kaya ilalagay ko itong pic na ito:

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god, i'll miss being 40.


bob said...

nice one dude. luv u for that.

Anonymous said...

The INTARMED class is NOT comprised of the top 100 students who took the UPCAT (paragraph 2, sentence 2). The list of qualifiers for the INTARMED program is comprised of the top 100 UPCAT passers who checked the box in the application form stating their intention of enrolling in the program. Oblation scholars are those belonging to the top 50 UPCAT passers and not all oblation scholars are included in the list of INTARMED qualifiers/candidates.