By Jason Lin; Edited by Katerina Theocharous
Crowds, parties and poignant memories.
Among the claustrophobic hordes of nascent, flourishing medical students, a few clusters of people have their heads bobbing slightly higher than the rest. These are the students who stand out in one way or another, defined by their quirks and peculiarities and easily recognized within the masses. The exceedingly eccentric in a pool of eccentricity called medical students, the overly determined individuals in a sea of determination, the already-heavily-specialized in the masses of to-be specialists. These are the people you may have met during your time at Medcamp!
You might remember these people as the sweet, elderly counsellors at your school with a soft and soothing voice that was the solitary ray of light piercing through the dark veil of your adolescent depressive slump. However, this perception will be utterly shattered when your psychiatrist mate decides to sit next to you thinking that their words are necessary for solving all your problems. Maybe you were sick of the commotion and pandemonium, tired and overly fatigued, head drooped and retreating back to your cabin trying to get a borderline-reasonable night of sleep, only to be met with a full psychoanalysis resulting in a rapid diagnosis of early-onset depression. I just wish they would shut up for just one second.
You will know the future plastic surgeons before they even do themselves. These are the individuals who are looking their best even when stuck in the middle of the woods for three days. No showers? No mirrors? Not a problem. In their everyday life, these are the people with such an extreme makeover every single day that you literally wonder where they even got the time from. The real hardcore ones enter the mud run with hair perfectly sculpted or a face full of makeup. To each their own I guess.
Emergency physicians, the ones who think they are the lifesavers, carry the burden of 200 individual lives on their back. With their imprudent and hurried disposition, they are always on the lookout for potential emergencies – after all, isn’t that what their career is all about? Maybe someone has had a bit too much to drink and as soon as they pass out, the whole squad will hurtle towards the body faster than the speed of sound, erecting them into the recovery positions within seconds. Safe? Absolutely. Hardcore? A little.
There is really a huge variety in the spread of the to-be pharmacologists you will meet so it bodes well to be careful. The especially shady ones, lurking in the dark alleyways of the campground (a.k.a. anywhere behind the cabins), may offer you some pills and complementary jargon, muttering “Take some lysergic acid diethylamide, it won’t hurt you” under their breath. At the other end of the spectrum, however, pharmacologists can be the lifesavers, walking dispensers of paracetamol for those nights when you aren’t feeling too good – or of antihistamines, either for allergic reactions or to get rid of that Asian flush which you have been dreading.
After watching two microbiology lectures, these guys are the personification of germophobia taken to the extreme. An irrational fear of all things pathogenic has ignited a microbiological passion in their heart, but sadly, has created some serious adverse side effects on the way. Mud Run? No way, I don’t want to be stepping feet first into faeces and get a urinary tract infection. Want a sip from my cup? Not a problem. Let me get out my antibacterial sanitizing wipes first. You want to shake my hand? Here, have some hand sanitizer and we’ll talk later.
What can I say, these guys are slathering on truckloads of sunscreen across every exposed and non-exposed body surface right to the tips of their peripheries in the middle of AUTUMN. From the relentlessly sunny afternoons to the overcast and rainy mornings and even in the dead middle of the night, tucked in under their sleeping bags and shivering to death, they will still be rubbing a nice patch of SPF-50 sunscreen onto their legs. They carry their entire skincare routine along with them too, but maybe you shouldn’t tease them too hard for it. After all, they will be the ones laughing when everyone returns with their backs and necks burnt red, tender and raw.
Probably the scariest of the bunch, these are the individuals you definitely don’t want to associate with. The smallest of paper-cuts will immediately alert their surgical senses and suddenly, they will procure a suturing kit out of thin air. As they wield a scalpel in their right hand and a surgical probe in their left, you will find yourself caught in silken threads, not being able to escape. Especially while the anesthetists are gone, before you know it, you feel a sharp stabbing as parallel incisions are made near the wound and a thin, white string is slithered through. Using the knowledge from the one suturing workshop they have attended, the wound is sewed shut… but at what cost? Just like a scene from a horror movie, if you don’t want to end up like Frankenstein’s Monster, stay away from this bunch.
Last, but definitely not least, we have the average Joes of the cohort, the rare glimmer of normality within the masses of eccentrics. Your standard general practitioners are here, with the listening ear of a psychiatrist and the proficiency of a surgeon, the practical advice of a microbiologist and the preparedness of a dermatologist. They carry around a first-aid kit and try to help as much as they can, and they may not mob you with it, but you know they always have your back. Rational, quick-thinking and comforting, what more can you ask for in a person?